Prince Andrew’s forced withdrawal from public life this week hit an interfaith organisation working with Jews, Christians and Muslims which was founded by a Jewish philanthropist.
Until last week the Duke of York had been a patron of the Maimonides Foundation, whose mission is to “promote understanding and respect between people from the three Abrahamic faiths through the power of art, creativity, intercultural dialogue and education”.
The foundation was set up by Professor David Khalili, who is Jewish. Born in Iran, he has been based in London since the 1980s, where he made his money from investing in property.
A prolific collector of Islamic art, he founded the Maimonides Foundation in 1995, and still chairs it, with the express desire of fostering understanding and co-operation between Jews, Christians, and Muslims through cultural and academic programmes.
At the launch of a learning resource for schoolchildren at London Central Mosque in 2012, he told an audience including Andrew that he was motivated and inspired by The Queen and her diverse Commonwealth of nations.
Andrew suspended all of public duties for the “foreseeable future” on last week following a wave of negative reaction in response to an interview with BBC Newsnight, which has been described by commentators as a “car crash”.
In the interview he discussed his friendship with convicted American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein but showed no sympathy for the young girls – now women – who were allegedly trafficked and exploited by Epstein and his associates.