The charity Prince Andrew partnered with to help sex trafficked women in India has told the Telegraph it will "review" its connection to him in the wake of the Epstein scandal.
Senior figures at the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF), with which the Duke started his Key To Freedom initiative in 2012, told the Telegraph they had not been aware of allegations against the Prince.
The West Bengal-based charity’s founder Aloka Mitra said she was “shocked” by the sexual abuse allegations against the Duke. “I can’t believe it. He’s been so supportive … The support had been there of the whole family.”
WIF’s financial officer Sarajit Mitra accepted any link with the Prince could now tarnish WIF’s reputation in India and said the board would be meeting to discuss cutting ties. “We will review it,” he said.
However he added it would be “a sad day if we had to part ways because then there will be a lot of women who would lose their cover because we would no longer be able to provide them that support.”
While Prince Andrew last week stepped down from his public roles, he has not cut ties with Key to Freedom.
Throughout the scandal of his association with Epstein, Key to Freedom has been highlighted by the Duke and his aides as a success story that “empowers” vulnerable women. However, the initiative fell into financial decline soon after it started and is now largely inactive.
This week a Telegraph investigation disclosed WIF has been embroiled in allegations of mistreatment. While the Duke’s team was setting up the project, WIF was being investigated by the Indian authorities after ten girls aged between 12 and 15 had run away from one of its homes alleging that they were beaten by staff and generally mistreated.
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Mrs Mitra said the “allegations of ‘mistreatment’ of children are untrue” and at “no point were the girls maltreated and left without medical attention or food”.
Meanwhile Boris Johnson on Friday appeared to make a veiled criticism of Prince Andrew.
Asked by reporters if he still thought the monarch is beyond reproach, the Prime Minister said: "The Monarch is the Queen – and that is my view she is beyond reproach – there is a distinction between the monarchy and the Royal Family and everybody will readily appreciate that."