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07.31.13

Royal Footman Forced To Return To Calcutta Slum Days After Starring Role In Baby's Birth

The extraordinary disparity between the lives of the royals and those who serve them is so vast that it is strangely invisible, yet that strange juxtaposition of privilege and desperation has been thrown into sharp relief after this week.

For a royal footman who was centre stage at the historic moment when the birth of the royal baby was announced to the world via a birth announcement affixed to an easel in front of Buckingham Palace has been forced to return to his home, a Calcutta slum, after his student work visa ran out.

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Badar Azim, a footman, helps place the birth announcement on the easel which stands in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace (John Stillwell / WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Despite desperate pleas to her allowed to renew his work visa, Badar Azim, 25, who was entrusted with the official proclamation about the arrival of Kate and William’s son and ordered to place it on a golden easel outside Buckingham Palace, was ordered to fly back to Calcutta or face deportation after the British government refused to extend a two-year work visa he was granted on completion of a degree in hospitality at a Scottish university.

Badar, who was previously living in a Royal Mews staff apartment and met the queen and other senior royals during his time at the palace is believed to have returned to the cramped two-roomed house his parents, two brothers and five other relatives occupy in Calcutta.

According to Daily Mail diarist Richard Kay,  "his abrupt departure has caused something of a stir." A source tells Kay:  ‘Everyone here is sad that Badar is gone,’ says a fellow servant. ‘He was popular and had clearly overcome such a struggle to get to Britain in the first place. He was just finding his feet.’

Badar arrived int he UK after his  school, the St Mary's Orphanage and Day School, 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.

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 Calcutta. 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."

It is hoped that Badar will now be able to get a job in a top flight hotel in India.