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Royal footman who told the world about birth of Prince George back in Indian slum

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Gordon Rayner

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Royal footman forced back into slum

Badar Azim held the world's attention just one week ago as he helped to announce the birth of Prince George, now he's living in an Indian slum.

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A Buckingham Palace footman who played a key role in the announcement of Prince George's birth a week ago has returned to his family home in an Indian slum after his work visa expired.

Badar Azim, 25, appeared in newspapers and on television across the world when he attached the official bulletin confirming the royal baby's birth to an easel on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

He has had to give up his job, and a grace-and-favour flat in the Royal Mews within the grounds of Buckingham Palace, after a two-year work period tagged on to his student visa ended. He is understood to have returned to his family, who live in two rooms shared between nine members of the extended family in Kolkata.

Back in India: former royal footman Badar Azim, centre, with his family.

Back in India: former royal footman Badar Azim, centre, with his family. Photo: Reuters

Mr Azim is reported to have tried to extend his visa but after nearly 18 months at Buckingham Palace he was forced to concede defeat. Days after posting the announcement of Prince George's birth, he returned his uniform of black tailcoat and red waistcoat, and handed back the keys to his Royal Mews flat before flying to India.

Mr Azim came to Britain as a student after being given a place at Edinburgh's Napier University to study for the final year of a hospitality management degree.

His old school in Kolkata, St Mary's Orphanage and Day School, which is run by the Irish Congregation of Christian Brothers, raised £10,000 to send him to Scotland under Napier's India Partnership, which brings disadvantaged students from the subcontinent to study in Britain.

Happy news: Badar Azim places confirmation of the royal birth on an easel outside Buckingham Palace.

Happy news: Badar Azim places confirmation of the royal birth on an easel outside Buckingham Palace. Photo: AP

After graduating in June 2011, he applied for a job as a footman at Buckingham Palace, and started there in February 2012.

At the time, he said in a newspaper interview: "The conditions I live in now are so different from how I lived in India.

"If I hadn't gone to St Mary's, I would be working somewhere on the streets of Kolkata. It would have been very difficult to get a job in India because, unless you have a good degree, you will not get a good job and a good salary."

Slum: a man walks through a lane next to the house of  Badar Azim.

Slum: a man walks through a lane next to the house of Badar Azim. Photo: Reuters

Before he left for Scotland, Mr Azim lived with his father Mohammed Rahim, a 52-year-old welder, his mother Mumtaz Begum, 41, his brothers Mazhar, 20, and Sameer, 14, and four other family members.

It was by chance that he helped to announce the royal birth; the Palace had a rota of footmen who were scheduled to be on duty at the Privy Purse door, and Mr Azim was on duty at the time the birth was announced.

His family found out about Mr Azim's starring role only when they read about it in a newspaper, but later spoke to him, when he told them that it had been a "proud moment" for him.

New baby: Kate and William hold Prince George.

New baby: Kate and William hold Prince George. Photo: Reuters

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said they could not discuss individual staff members.

The Daily Telegraph, London

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