Britain's Queen Elizabeth II along with the Duke of Edinburgh and granddaughter Princess Beatrice arrived at York Minster on 5 April, 2012 for the traditional Maundy services.

The annual ceremony is held every year during Easter when the queen gives special "Maundy money" to local pensioners in a UK cathedral or abbey. At the service, the British monarch or a royal official ceremonially distributes small silver coins known as "Maundy money" as symbolic alms to elderly recipients. The coins are legal tender but do not circulate because of their silver content and numismatic value.

Apart from this, a small sum of ordinary money is given in lieu of gifts of clothing and food that the sovereign once bestowed on Maundy recipients.

Since the fifteenth century, the number of Maundy coins handed out, and the number of people receiving the coins has been related to the ruler's age. In the year 2012, there were 86 male and 86 female recipients at York Minster for the Royal Maundy service attended by Queen Elizabeth II.

To mark her Diamond Jubilee, the queen handed out purses to people from all of the UK's 44 Christian dioceses while usually, they are given to citizens of just one diocese. Each recipient received two purses, one red and one white. The red purse contained a £5 coin commemorating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and a 50p coin while the white purse contained uniquely minted Maundy Money.

Initially the Maundy Service used to take place in London; however the Queen early in her reign decided that the service should take place at a different venue every year.

According to CBSNews, the Holy Thursday tradition symbolises Christ's injunction at the Last Supper to love one another. In medieval times, the monarch washed the feet of beggars and gave clothes and food to the poor. In modern times, the ruler hands out purses of coins to specially selected elderly recipients.

After the service, the Royal party signed the minster visitors' book and an official photograph was taken of the queen and the Royal Maundy party outside the Great West Door. There was a reception at the deanery followed by a civic lunch at Mansion House.

Start the slideshow to catch a glimpse of the traditional Maundy services at York Minster: