Prince Andrew and Ex-Wife Fergie Come Together for a Fashionable Cause: 'It Is About Family Unity'

The former couple gives their royal seal of approval to a fashion charity in India

Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Andrew hosted a very special tea on Monday to benefit a cause that has brought his family together in the spirit of charity.

In 2012, Andrew visited India as part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. While there, he met Aloka Mitra, founder of the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF) in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Andrew learned that the foundation helps victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse by helping them learn a trade. One of the skills they are taught is how to make silk garments.

The prince was so moved by the group’s efforts that he immediately called his ex-wife, Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson.

After telling Fergie about the “extraordinary woman” he met, the Duchess of York planned a trip with their daughter, Princess Eugenie, to visit the foundation in March 2013. Princess Beatrice also became interested in the project.

The Duke of York knew he wanted to get the goods the women were creating to market, so the family formed Key to Freedom, which supports the WIF.

“It is about seizing the moment and family unity – of him calling me,” the Duchess of York said in a in a video message. “Suddenly now Aloka is able to take all these girls off the streets.”

The beautiful garments are available to buy from the Buckingham Palace’s Royal Collection website and Topshop.

Each garment, which is individually made by the women, has a name added to the label, so the consumer can see who created each piece. The money generated from the sale of the items provides the women with a living wage – in addition to benefiting the WIF. Hundreds of kimonos, bags and scarves have been sold worldwide, giving the teens, children and young women an economic route out of hardship and potentially abusive situations.

“Women’s Interlink Foundation is very inspiring,” Andrew said after Monday’s reception. “It is a huge privilege to work with them.”

For her part, Mitra says that Key to Freedom is an “amazing platform” from which to launch themselves to a wider public.

“Thank you from the 100 girls that have benefited from Key to Freedom,” she said in a statement.

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