The birth of Prince George was announced by the Queen’s press secretary and a smartly dressed royal footman of Indian origin, who helped place his official birth announcement on an easel outside Buckhingham Palace.
Indeed at that time I wondered if the footman’s Indian origin had been carefully chosen to show how multicultural Britain was?
Turns out it was by chance that Badar Azim, helped announce the royal birth. The Palace had a rota of footmen who were scheduled to be on duty at the Privy Purse door, and Azim happened to be the one who was on duty at the time the birth was announced.
Thus, pictures featuring a smartly dressed Azim, in the trademark black suit with tails and a red waistcoat, were published in media outlets around the world.
So that was fate.
It was fate again that a few weeks later, as Prince George begins his life within the multi-million dollar home his parents have in Buckinghamshire and in Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A, Azim has returned home to India and back to the two rooms shared with his extended family in a Calcutta slum.
Somewhere here, between the lines is the unsaid story of the tiny prince who will play out his life in luxury yet in front of world media, and the pauper who helped announce his coming into this world, and who after a quick brush with three seconds of fame will probably live out his live trying to swim up from his humble origins in one of the poorest cities of the world.
Azim is reported to have tried to extend his visa after his almost 18 months at Buckingham Palace, during which he met the Queen. Now he has given up his job, his grace-and-favour flat in the Royal Mews within the grounds of Buckingham Palace, his uniform, and handed back the keys to his Royal Mews flat after the two-year work period tagged on to his student visa came to an end.
Is there a moral to this story? Am unable to put a finger to it, except that it feels a trick of destiny that these two people who had a lot in common for a few momentous seconds, yet will nothing to share in the future.
A tragi-comedy-commentary of what life is often about. I wonder if the prince when he is twenty-five will one day meet Azim and the tabloids will then run the story of how this fifty year old ex-footman had helped announce his arrival to the world. Where will they be then, and where will I be?