Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 85th birthday on Thursday at Westminster Abbey honoring stalwart pensioners during the ancient Royal Maundy Service.

Gifting a total of 85 men and 85 women with two coin purses each, the Queen thus continued the century-old practice of distributing 'Maundy money' to the needy on the Thursday of Holy Week.

The Royal Maundy is an important religious service in the Church of England and the distribution of the gifts is an important event in the Queen's annual calendar.

The two purses given to the pensioners includes a red one containing $8 (5 pound) coins commemorating the Duke of Edinburgh's 90th birthday and 50 pence coins marking the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. The white purse contains specially minted Maundy Money in one-, two-, three- and four-pence denominations amounting up to 80 pence.

Attending the ceremony with the Queen was her husband Prince Philip, Britain's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning monarch.

Start the slideshow to catch exclusive glimpse of the royal event: