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Troops mock female commander struggling in the saddle for a ceremony amid disagreement in the ranks

Need a helping hand, ma’am? Troops in King Charles’ mounted ceremonial battery mock female commander who struggles in saddle for ceremony amid disagreement in ranks

  • Major Francesca Sykes of King’s Troop was filmed struggling to mount her steed
  • She needed soldiers to help her saddle up for a ceremony in Green Park
  • Members of the ceremonial unit are typically required to be expert horsemen

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Troopers in King Charles’s mounted ceremonial battery have released a humiliating video of their commanding officer failing to mount her charger.

The footage shows Major Francesca Sykes of the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, needing two soldiers to help her saddle up for a ceremony in Green Park near Buckingham Palace.

One holds the reins while another tries to push her onto the horse. However, the pair’s attempts fail, much to the chagrin of the assembled troops. An apparent falling out with members of the unit has led them to try and expose what they consider to be her shortcomings as a rider.

The footage was shot when King’s Troop assisted with the state visit of Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa in November 2022.

Major Francesca Sykes (right) leading The King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery at a Trooping the Color ceremony

Images show that the commander needs two soldiers to help her in the saddle

Images show that the commander needs two soldiers to help her in the saddle

It took place prior to a ceremony in Green Park near Buckingham Palace

It took place prior to a ceremony in Green Park near Buckingham Palace

Footage shows the commander needing two soldiers to help her into the saddle for a ceremony in Green Park near Buckingham Palace

An apparent row with members of the unit has led them to attempt to expose what they consider Major Sykes's (left) shortcomings as a rider

An apparent row with members of the unit has led them to attempt to expose what they consider Major Sykes's (left) shortcomings as a rider

An apparent row with members of the unit has led them to attempt to expose what they consider Major Sykes’s (left) shortcomings as a rider

Members of the unit are said to be expert horsemen and spend hundreds of hours preparing for royal birthday parades, funerals and state visits. Although Major Sykes has no height, her status dictates that she ride a taller horse, about six feet tall.

However, these problems did not stop colleagues from mocking her.

“If you can’t jump a horse unassisted, you don’t pass out during practice,” a King’s Troop source said.

‘During the visit to South Africa, a non-commissioned officer was given the task of marching in his formal dress to Major Sykes and helping her mount the horse. Otherwise she would never have got up. It’s embarrassing.’

But a Defense Ministry spokesman said: ‘It is quite normal for assistance to be provided if riders need help mounting their horse. Officers are getting bigger horses so that their hand signals can be seen by the rest of the troop during the parade.”

Major Sykes took over command of King’s Troop from Major Vicky Flood in 2021. She has participated in many high profile events such as Trooping the Color.

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