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Comment 05 APRIL 2012

Jubilee fever sweeps Queen's traditional Easter celebrations

05 APRIL 2012

This year, the Queen issued one simple request to organisers of her annual gift-giving service, Maundy Thursday; that it be bigger than ever on her Jubilee year.

And she won't have been disappointed as she arrived at York Minster amid rapturous, patriotic scenes.

 

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More than 2,000 people – the crowds at times three deep – lined the streets outside the church to greet her with flags and well wishes.

Royal watchers had steadily gathered since early morning, and one woman, Jo Ramsey, told the BBC the scenes were "quintessentially English".

As bells rang and applause rippled around the surrounding square, onlookers could even be seen toasting the Queen's arrival with champagne from buildings overlooking the street.

The monarch –  dressed in a grey tweed overcoat and aquamarine hat – beamed back at those who had provided her with a flavour of the celebrations that lie in wait this special year.

 

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During the service, the Queen carried out the 800-year-old custom of handing out purses of Maundy money.

She honoured 86 men and 86 women – representing each year of her age – with the pouches filled with uniquely minted Maundy coins.

The Dean of York, The Very Reverend Keith Jones, said those receiving the money were all aged over 70 and had made valuable contributions to their neighbours, community and church.

Former York City footballer, Alf Patrick, was one of the men selected to receive the honour. The 90-year-old said he had been left "dumbfounded" at the invitation. 

Maundy money is legal tender, but isn't widely circulated due its to silver content and deep symbolic value.

 

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Also joining the Queen in York was Prince Philip and her granddaughter Princess Beatrice – whose father, Prince Andrew, takes his title from the city.

It was a key moment for Beatrice - pretty in a navy blue coat and matching hat - who was given the chance to shine on her grandmother’s milestone year.

The monarch is keen to have the younger generation of royals by her side as she celebrates 60 years on the throne. 

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were given the honour of inaugurating the Jubilee tours with their trip to the Caribbean.

And the Duchess of Cambridge has been an elegant support act for Her Majesty on more than one occasion – most notably during her visit to Leicester .

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