Royal baby: Footman who delivered the news forced back to India

The Queen's Press Secretary Ailsa Anderson (L) with Badar Azim, a footman, place on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace a notification to announce the birth of Prince George.Photo / AFP
The Queen's Press Secretary Ailsa Anderson (L) with Badar Azim, a footman, place on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace a notification to announce the birth of Prince George.Photo / AFP

The Royal Family's footman who enjoyed world-wide fame on the day of the birth Prince George has returned to the Calcutta slum he grew up in.

Falling foul of new immigration laws, Badar Azim, a 25-year-old hospitality management graduate, has returned to his family in eastern India, where relatives beaming with pride have welcomed him home.

The young graduate accompanied the Queen's press secretary Ailsa Anderson in placing the announcement of Prince George's birth on an easel outside Buckingham Palace last week.

Watch the town crier announce the royal baby's birth:

But just days later, his visa expired; he was unable to renegotiate his right to work in the country; and he quit his coveted post at the Royal Household.

He has now arrived home - a world that perhaps couldn't be more different from the life he had lived last week.

Ironically it appears that Mr Azim, whose chronically poor family scrimped and saved every penny they had in order to educate him, has fallen foul of strict new immigration laws because of his notoriously meagre palace salary of around £14,000 a year.

Mr Azim, who first came to Britain to study for a degree in hospitality, was one of a number of migrants living legally in Britain on a student visa who were allowed to stay on for two years at the end of their course and work.

But under the new points-based system, those applying to extend their visa after it expires must prove they are not taking a job which could be done by a native worker.

This means they need specialist skills which are in shortage among Britons, or for them to prove that they meet a minimum salary threshold, currently set at around £20,000 a year - neither of which applied to his palace footman's post.

A friend of Mr Azim, who flew home last weekend shortly before his visa was due to run out, said: "It's a crying shame, really. You couldn't meet anyone more dutiful, hard-working and determined than Badar.

"The new regulations were brought in for a very good reason, we all understand that. Particularly him. It's just rather ironic that someone like Badar, who follows every regulation to the letter, is prevented from working here, compared to the many thousands who slip through the system."

Mr Azim found fame last week when he was photographed with the Queen's press secretary displaying the official announcement of the birth of the Duke and Duchess's new son on an easel in the palace forecourt.

Resplendent in his black and red livery, it was complete chance that he was chosen for the job. In fact it would have fallen to the footman on duty at that moment, at the palace's privy purse entrance.

"The rota changes every three hours and it was a complete fluke. But he was a very popular member of staff and everyone was chuffed to bits for him," one official told the Daily Mail.

His welder father Mohammed Rahim and mother, Mumtaz Begum, who are among nine members of the extended family sharing a shabby two-room home in one of Calcutta's most impoverished slums, were unaware of the honour and only learnt of his starring role after his picture was reproduced in a local newspaper.

Mr Rahim, who has three sons, of which Badar is the eldest, used to regularly go without food in order pay for his son to be educated.

He was eventually taken in by the charitable St Mary's Orphanage and Day School before being sponsored to go to the International Institute of Hotel Management College in the city.

The orphanage also raised £10,000 for him to complete his degree at the Edinburgh's Napier University, from where he graduated in June 2011.

He secured his footman's post in February the following year, a job which involved everything from greeting guests, serving at banquets or receptions and tending to the Queen personally.

He was also given a room in staff quarters at the Royal Mews, adjacent to the palace.

Although he was forced to sign strict staff confidentiality agreements, proud Mr Azim posted a photograph of himself outside Buckingham Palace on one social network site, as well as shots of royal residences such as Balmoral where he would have been required to work when the Queen was on holiday.

According to sources, he loved his job so much he explored the possibility of extending his visa with the palace personnel department, but discovered that due to his low salary and coveted position he was extremely unlikely to be successful.

As a result he did chose not reapply to the Home Office and flew back to India four days ago.

A source said: "It is a real shame as he was a very good member of staff about whom people only have very positive things to say. But it just goes to show that the rules are the rules, no matter who you work for.

"He was here on a two-year visa and always knew it was going to expire. As a result he flew home at the weekend in good spirits and very rightly proud of what he had achieved."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment last night, saying it was policy never to discuss staff members.

Watch the moment the Prince William and Kate Middleton introduced their son Prince George to the world:

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- Daily Mail

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