Here's What The British Royal Family Did For Easter
Happy Easter from their family to yours!
Today The Queen attended the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel Windsor. The Queen commemorates Maundy every year, which is the Christian holy day which falls on the Thursday before Easter, by offering 'alms' to citizens. These citizens have been recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and to the local Community. This year the Red Purse contains a £5 coin, commemorating four Generations of Royalty and a 50p coin commemorating the Representation of the People Act 1918, which reformed the electoral system in Great Britain and Ireland, giving some women the right to vote for the first time.
The world's most famous monarchs spent the Easter holiday in classic British royal style, complete with stylish formal outfits, a family gathering, Easter Court, church service, and other traditional ceremonies led by the Queen. While the British public celebrates this holiday in many different ways with their own families, they always anticipate what the Queen, her children, and grandchildren have in store for them on this joyous occasion.
Here's everything you need to know about how the Queen and her family spent this royal affair:
A week-long celebration
Just like many others who observe the religious meaning behind this holiday, the Queen began the Easter tradition this year on Maundy Thursday. As the leader of the Church of England, the Queen is known to be a stickler to religious ceremonies and never misses major events like this.
Speaking of Maundy Thursday, there's a fun tradition that the Queen has upheld for decades: the giving of Maundy money, special silver tokens, to chosen seniors who have contributed to their community and church. The number of coins given away corresponds to the Queen's age; now that she's 91 years old1, 91 men and another 91 women received the commemorative item.
Aside from giving out Maundy money, the Queen established an Easter tradition that's uniquely hers: a promise to visit every cathedral in the United Kingdom for Maundy mass—and, she's kept it! She's the only monarch to have done this during her reign. This year, she spent Easter close to home at 14th century landmark, Windsor Castle.
Traditionally, the Queen spends a month in Windsor Castle between March and April for Easter. It's a vacation of sorts, but it's mostly an opportunity for the Queen and her now-retired husband, Prince Philip, to entertain royal guests like diplomats, other royal families, and foreign dignitaries this time of the year. It's also a chance for guests to gift the Queen with Easter-inspired tokens; Easter eggs of every size and make that have been decorated with scenes special to the Queen are a favorite! These guests of honor are often invited to stay with the royals in the castle, but this year, the Queen reportedly only spent a few days at this royal residence.
Easter Sunday service
Like other Britons, Easter for the royals is a family affair. Here are the family members who accompanied the Queen for Easter Sunday service held at Windsor Castle:
- Princess Eugenie and her fiancé, Jack Brooksbank. This is also their first official royal appearance together, since they got engaged! They're set to get married in the fall of this year.
- Princess Beatrice, sister to Eugenie, was also in attendance and looking just as great.
- Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and wife to Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son, arrived with her daughter Lady Louise and son James, Viscount Severn.
- The Queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, and her family that includes daughter Zara Tindall, son Peter Philips, and their spouses were also spotted on this day.
- Prince William and Kate Middleton were the last to arrive at Easter Sunday service, but delighted those who caught a glimpse of them. Kate is expecting her third child this April, and this is the last time the public is going to see her out and about before she rests to prepare for baby number three.
- Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were not there. The Prince of Wales traditionally celebrates Easter in Scotland, while it is thought that Harry and Meghan opted out from the public affair to prepare for their wedding that's a mere six weeks from today.
- Unfortunately, the Queen's husband Prince Philip also missed the family gathering. It is believed he is resting at home and nursing a minor hip concern.
As is customary during royal appearances, well-wishers composed of carefully selected community members are invited to greet the Queen and her family. This year, children with fresh bouquets of spring flowers came and met the head monarch, and curtsied as best as they could when she approached them.
Easter egg hunt
Yes! The royal family organizes an adorable Easter egg hunt for children held annually at the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. The event is free, and kids are free to design their own baskets and hunt for as many eggs as they can. The public continues to hope that Kate's Children, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, will one day join in on the fun!