Badar was watched by millions of television viewers around the world as he helped mount the ceremonial announcement
After the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate William, if there was any other star the day she delivered her baby it was Badar Azim, a young Palace official entrusted with the job of putting up the ceremonial announcement of the royal birth on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
Dressed in the royal footman’s scarlet and black suit, Badar was watched by millions of television viewers around the world as, cheered by a large crowd, he strode across the imposing Palace courtyard with the Queen’s Press Secretary Ailsa Anderson to mount the much-awaited notice.
For 25-year-old Badar and his family back in Kolkata it was a fairytale moment — a culmination of an incredible journey from the slums of Kolkata to the “top of the world,” as his delighted mother put it. And, to think, that it was sheer coincidence that he happened to be on duty the day the royal baby was born.
“But this simple coincidence seems fitting in a 21st century fairy tale that has delighted his impoverished family in India,” commented the Daily Mail, recounting the “incredible journey” of a poor Kolkata boy who ended up starring in the biggest royal show of recent times.
Badar’s father Mohammed Rahim, a welder, and his mother Mumtaz Begum, who still live in the same slum where Badar spent his childhood, said they were trying to cope with their sudden “celebrity” status. His brother Mazhar (20) told the paper how, despite barely able to feed the family, his father encouraged his children to study.
“We were an economically challenged family. Our parents let us boys sleep on the bed and they slept on the floor. But my father wanted us to go to a good school so that we could learn. He even borrowed money so that we could go forward,” he said.
Badar was taken in by St Mary’s Orphanage and Day School, run by an Irish charity. It sponsored him to go to the International Institute of Hotel Management College in Kolkata and then raised £10,000 for him to go to Scotland for higher studies. Last year, he got a job as a junior footman at the Palace.
“The conditions I live in now are so different from how I lived in India,” said Badar, described by his friends as “humble” and “polite” but with a cheeky sense of humour.