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Princess Beatrice helps queen with Maundy Thursday tradition

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Beatrice leave York Minster after a Maundy Thursday service on April 5, 2012, in York, England. Getty

(CBS News) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II got some help from her granddaughter with the traditional Maundy Thursday work of handing out coins to pensioners.

Princess Beatrice of York, daughter of the queen's middle son, Prince Andrew, and Sarah Ferguson, accompanied her grandparents to York Minster for a holiday service at the cathedral, after which the queen handed out the specially minted coins.

Pictures: Royal Maundy Thursday
Special Section: The Queen's Jubilee

The Holy Thursday tradition symbolizes the 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.

To mark her Diamond Jubilee, the Queen handed out purses to 172 people - 86 women and 86 men (for each of the Queen's 86 years) - from all of the UK's 44 Christian dioceses. Usually, they are given to citizens of just one diocese.

According to the BBC, people could be seen toasting the queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice, with champagne in windows overlooking the street. Crowds cheered when she emerged from the church after the hour-long service.

According to the BBC report, the queen had to touch a ceremonial sword and mace before passing through the 12th Century gateway to the walled city.

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