The bullets and bombs that caused his mother's death as she left her Rawalpindi election rally created an instant new reality for him.
In her will, she anointed him eventual heir to the Bhutto political dynasty. As part of the post assassination re-ordering, he became co-chair with his father of her dynastic Pakistan People's Party.
In the sweaty heat of Sindh province, he acquired the name Bhutto and became Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The heir to the Bhutto name who hurried through the torrential rain of west London to the basement of a modest boutique hotel within sight of Kensington Gardens was technically en route from the family home in Larkana to his rooms at Christ Church College, Oxford.
But such is the media pressure for insight and access to understand more about Bilawal that his mother's London-based political advisers urged that he start understanding the realities of public life - like it or not.
Note: Beyond the ignorance, idiocy, and overall shallowness of most American media coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in which the slain was described as "democratic" and in some cases an individual just short of the Second Coming, few news outlets (save for a handful such as NPR) thoroughly examined her past. How democratic was she when prime minister of Pakistan? Not very. What is her record in regards to the Taliban? Ties between Pakistan and the Taliban were strong during her tenure.