Jesus set the example of service and care, says King Charles in Maundy Thursday message

(Photo: Buckingham Palace)

King Charles III has spoken about the importance of showing care and kindness to others in a message that was specially recorded for Maundy Thursday. 

The King was unable to accompany the Queen to a Maundy Thursday service at Worcester Cathedral as he continues to receive treatment for cancer. 

Instead, the recorded message was played during the service at which the Queen presented Maundy Money to 75 men and 75 women in recognition of service to their local churches and communities.

In addition to the specially minted Maundy coins, the purses contained a special 50p piece made to mark the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's 200th anniversary.

The King praised the recipients as "wonderful examples of such kindness; of going way beyond the call of duty and of giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities". 

In his message, recorded from his desk in Buckingham Palace, he said that the Maundy Service "has a very special place in my heart" and spoke about the origins of the service "in the life of Our Lord who knelt before his disciples and, to their great surprise, washed their travel-weary feet and, as we have just heard, in doing so he deliberately gave to them and to us all an example of how we should serve and care for each other".

He continued, "In this country we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare. But over and above these organisations and their selfless staff, we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need."

Maundy Thursday commemorates the moment at the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and gave them the command - or 'mandatum' in Latin - to love one another as he had loved them. 

The tradition of monarchs giving out Maundy money goes back to the 17th century when King Charles II distributed money in a ceremony in 1662.