I first became involved with the Prince’s Trust in 2002, when I wanted to mark the 25th anniversary of Travelex.
By coincidence, I had founded the business in 1976, the very same year the King had used his small severance pay from the navy to start the Trust to help young people into education, employment or training.
Of the different programmes the charity ran, I was particularly struck by its work in helping young people from underprivileged backgrounds to start businesses. That kicked off the relationship and I was then asked to join the Development Committee, chaired by the late and much-missed Lord David Young. I subsequently succeeded David on the main Board of the Trust in 2007 and became Chairman in 2015, the same year that Prince’s Trust International was launched. I was then asked to focus all my attention on getting PTI off the ground. We are proud to have successfully steered the Trust through the choppy waters of the Covid pandemic and it now operates in 22 countries. After I finished my second term as Chairman of PTI, I was made a Vice-President of the charity, so it’s lovely to keep the connection.
Away from the Trust, I have seen the King’s commitment, passion and care from a number of other charities and initiatives with which I’ve been involved, including St Paul’s Cathedral’s “Remember Me” Covid Memorial and the Royal Opera House, of which he is Patron and where I became Chair last summer.
He has lent his support to many Jewish charities and causes over the years, including Holocaust-related organisations and World Jewish Relief. Four years ago, he organised a fantastic reception for our community at Buckingham Palace at a time when there was significant and rising anti-Semitism. The community was feeling more vulnerable and insecure than it had felt for a long time. The King intuitively understood this and his words that evening were powerful and reassuring.
The King has also been very concerned about the increase in hate crimes affecting different communities. I became involved in those discussions which culminated in an amazing morning last December when the King came to visit CST’s offices in Hendon. Straight from there, he went on to tour the JW3 community centre which included the memorable moment of him dancing with Holocaust survivors.
He has a wider concern for and sensitivity to all minority and faith communities. At a reception for faith leaders he hosted just a week after becoming King, he spoke about Britain as a “community of communities” and his role as protecting all faiths. Further afield, through his pioneering work with the Prince’s Trust and so many other charities and causes, he is dedicated to using his position to change lives and truly making the world a better place.
Having seen him at close quarters, I have no doubt that the British Jewish community could have no greater friend. I am hugely honoured to be invited to the Coronation and to be a part of this historic and momentous occasion.
Sir Lloyd Dorfman CVO CBE is Vice-President of Prince’s Trust International