Queen Camilla Is About to Make History as She Steps in for Her Husband at Royal Service

The tradition, usually spearheaded by the monarch, dates back to 600 A.D.

Queen Camilla Birthday Portrait CAT2
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

While King Charles undergoes treatment after being diagnosed with cancer, his wife, Queen Camilla, has made several solo appearances. Then earlier this week, Worcester Cathedral announced that the 76-year-old royal will step in for the king and hand out the Royal Maundy gifts during the 2024 Royal Maundy Service on March 28, making her the first consort to lead such a traditional event. 

The Daily Mail reported that the service will be “the most significant royal event” for the king to miss during his break from royal duties. Although Queen Camilla has taken part in the royal tradition in the past, this will be the first time (in history!) that someone in her position will have such a big role.

Queen Camilla State Opening Of Parliament CAT

According to the royal family’s website, the tradition dates back to 600 A.D. On the Thursday before Easter Sunday, the British monarch has been the one to distribute Maundy money (or ceremonial coins) to local pensioners in a service that “commemorates Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper.”

During the service, the Sovereign distributes gifts “according to the number of years they have lived.” Each person who receives the ceremonial coin will also be given two small leather purses by the king: one red and one white. “The coins are legal tender, but recipients normally prefer to retain them as a keepsake,” the website reveals.

King Charles Queen Camilla Royal Maundy Service CAT
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Before Queen Camilla makes her historic debut at the Royal Maundy Service, she will take a short hiatus from royal duties. According to the queen’s work schedule (which was obtained by The Times earlier this month), it was revealed that the royal would not be participating in any public engagements until March 11. The reason? Many royal fans speculate that the queen wants to spend more time with her husband during his recovery. 

We’re already counting down the days to your Royal Maundy Service debut, Queen Camilla.

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Assistant Editor, News And Entertainment

Karelle McKay is the Assistant Editor of News and Entertainment at PureWow. Before she started writing about all things pop culture, she was a literal couch potato who loved...