Canon Matthew Bradbury explains how he used a code word to 'hide' his files ahead of Royal Visit to stop the secret leaking out too early

PUBLISHED: 12:39 17 December 2018

Canon Matthew Bradbury entertains Prince Charles at St Peter and St Paul Church, Wisbech. Picture: ELY DIOCESE

Canon Matthew Bradbury entertains Prince Charles at St Peter and St Paul Church, Wisbech. Picture: ELY DIOCESE

Archant

A parish priest has told how he kept secret for months the visit to his church of Prince Charles by using a code name to label all his files to stop the 'secret' coming out.

Prince Charles visiting the musicians of Wisbech Grammar School at St Peter and St Paul, Wisbech. Picture: IAN CARTERPrince Charles visiting the musicians of Wisbech Grammar School at St Peter and St Paul, Wisbech. Picture: IAN CARTER

“Planning for such an event began a long time ago with many confidential e-mails and ‘not for publication’ briefings,” says Canon Matthew Bradbury, priest in charge at St Peter and St Paul, Wisbech.

“Aware of the need to keep the Royal Visit a secret, and with a boyish sense of excitement, I code-named my rapidly growing file of correspondence ‘Largesse’”.

He told readers of the Ely diocese newsletter: “I wasn’t sure why I picked that word out of the air. I later checked its definition to discover it means liberality, bountifulness or munificence …sometimes personified… or a generous and plentiful gift.

“Well, there you have it.”

Helicopter land with HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Wisbech Grammar School., Picture: WGSHelicopter land with HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Wisbech Grammar School., Picture: WGS

Canon Bradbury said: “One might think that having to escort His Royal Highness around a church full of slightly anxious and excited people would be a rather intimidating experience.

“In fact it was nothing of the sort, for the Prince of Wales immediately put everyone at their ease, myself included, with a warm smile, a great deal of eye contact and a firm handshake.”

The canon added: “He was genuinely interested in everyone and in all of the projects and programmes which they represented.

“Prince Charles made time for everyone in a tight schedule and seemed completely uninterested in his long suffering private secretary’s concerns that the visit was running over its allotted time.

The Duchess of Cornwall met at Wisbech Grammar School. Picture: WISBECH GRAMMAR SCHOOLThe Duchess of Cornwall met at Wisbech Grammar School. Picture: WISBECH GRAMMAR SCHOOL

“It occurred to me that his understated pre-eminence was a living reminder of Our Lord’s instructions, recorded in Matthew 20:27, that ‘whoever wishes to be first among you must be your servant’.

Staff at Wisbech Grammar School have also revealed how they kept the secret of how Prince Charles would arrive in the town.

“We were very pleased and excited to welcome their Royal Highnesses and happy to lend our playing fields as a landing spot for the helicopter,” said a school spokesman.

The school’s Arcadia Baroque Group, directed by Mrs Harding, also took part in the royal visit by entertaining guests at the church.

The group is made up of seven musically talented pupils from prep 6 through to upper sixth.

“They focus on playing music from the eighteenth century and are accompanied and led from the harpsichord by Mrs Harding,” said the spokesman.

“They worked extremely hard in rehearsals to prepare music which provided a lovely background for the time that the Prince spent in the church.

“When HRH Prince Charles met the Group he said he had enjoyed the music immensely and that it had reminded him of when he played the cello at school and university.

“ HRH Prince Charles congratulated the group on creating such a beautiful atmosphere at the event and was impressed to hear that one of the pieces performed was composed by Gabrielle Ayling (6th form pupil at WGS), who plays flute in the ensemble, as part of her GCSE coursework.”

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