Queen Elizabeth shares touching letter after traditional pre-Easter service is canceled

Maundy Money looks a little different this year

Queen Elizabeth II distributes the Maundy money during the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor, west of London on April 18, 2019.
(Image credit: ARTHUR EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Maundy money won't look the same this year. Since the coronavirus continues to limit people from gathering together, Queen Elizabeth has decided to commence with the pre-Easter tradition, Maundy Money (but safely).

Every Thursday before Easter, Queen Elizabeth is usually seen at different churches around the U.K. handing out specially-minted coins known as Maundy money. The recipients of these coins are typically handed out to people over 70-years-old in recognition of their services to their communities.

For the second year in a row, though, the in-person ceremony was called off due to restrictions for in-person gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Queen Elizabeth was saddened by the news and opted for an alternative way to continue the tradition. In place of the gathering, all 190 recipients were instead sent a letter from the Queen with their Maundy money.

In the letter, she describes the importance of the event and her regrets over not being able to celebrate in person.

"Each year, at the Royal Maundy Service, we have an opportunity to recognize, and give thanks for, work done by countless people for the wellbeing of their neighbors; work that has often been taken for granted or hidden," wrote the Queen. "I am sure you will be sad, as I am, that present circumstances make it impossible for that Service to take place," she added. "I hope, however, that this Maundy Gift will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated."

This year's coins are also different as it was designed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's upcoming 95th birthday and celebrate the 50th Decimal Day.