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.
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. 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’.
Of course planning for such an event began a long time ago with many confidential e-mails and ‘not for publication’ briefings. 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’. 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!
Canon Matthew Bradbury
Priest in Charge at St Peter and St Paul Wisbech
(Pictures reproduced by kind permission of Adam Fairbrother)