York is prepping for its royal visit later this week – when the King and Queen Consort return to the city for the Maundy Service at York Minster.
The service will take place at York Minster on Thursday (6 April) – and will be the first Royal Maundy service in King Charles’ reign.
The King and Camilla, Queen Consort were last in the city on 9 November, when the King went to the Minster to unveil a statue of his mother, the late Queen.
As this royal visit fast approaches, the Minster is abuzz with preparations.
“It’s been a hive of activity for about four months preparing for this big day,” said the Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington.
“The building is going to be gone over with a fine tooth comb, both from a security point of view and also making sure that we have exactly the right seating and that everything is looking as good as it possibly can.
“We have a large team here, both of staff and volunteers, and everybody has been involved in this very, very fully.”
The King and Queen Consort, will distribute the Maundy Money to 74 men and 74 women (signifying the age of the monarch).
The Maundy, a gift from The King, is to thank them for their outstanding Christian service and for making a difference to the lives of people in their local communities.
The late Queen distributed the Royal Maundy at York Minster twice during her reign, in 1972 and 2012.
“It’s a national service that we’re hosting on behalf of the nation,” said the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell. “It’s very special for us, we feel honoured.
“I’ve never been to one before, this is my first one – so I’m looking forward to the whole thing.
“Obviously, the giving of the Maundy money is the heart of it but I think it’ll also be good to see the crowds gathered – this place will be packed – but I anticipate there’ll be many more thousands outside, and that’s wonderful.
“What better place could there be to come to than the York Minster, one of the greatest churches in the world.”
During the visit, the King will also officially open the York Minster Refectory at the old Minster School.
The preparations are nearly complete, and will be ready in time for the royal visit.
“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes now,” said executive chef Joshua Brimmell. “We’re just putting the final touches to it. It’ll be more than ready for Thursday.”
Joshua – along with co-executive chef Andrew Pern – oversee York Minster Refectory’s menus, food sourcing and hospitality functions.
King Charles and Queen Camilla will tour the Refectory restaurant and its grounds – and the King will also unveil a plaque celebrating the visit and the opening.
“There’s a little bit of nerves, as there’ll always be for such a high profile occasion” Joshua said. “But there’s real excitement and a buzz around the team.
“We’ve got a few things planned – I’m hoping for a canapé reception and maybe a few drinks. But just for them to come and visit and open the restaurant is a fantastic achievement for all of us.”
The full public opening of the York Minster Refectory restaurant is set for Thursday 20 April.