SA men to ride for Queen's birthday

2011-06-09 11:13
Erika Gibson
Johannesburg – Queen Elizabeth II will be surrounded by South Africans when she celebrates her birthday with the British nation on Saturday.

Four of her eight personal cavalry bodyguards are not Britons. They are riders Francois Raats, 25, from Witrivier, Charles du Toit from Richards Bay and brothers Shane and Bradley Marais from Johannesburg.

The eight cavalry guards were chosen from two regiments of soldiers during an extensive and rigorous selection process.

They will participate along with 200 horses and about 1 400 officers and men in the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which is held annually on the second Saturday of June as part of the Queen's birthday celebrations.

According to the Queen turned 85 on April 21.

Not a rider

However, it became tradition to celebrate her birthday in June because the weather is usually better than in April.

The Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will inspect the eight riders while they line up in the Buckingham palace courtyard on Saturday, Francois's father Chops Raats said on Wednesday.

The route of the parade runs from the palace to the Whitehall and back.

According to Raats, the four South Africans only met each other in the British army.

His son was not a rider when he joined the British army 18 months ago.

'Not military orientated'

The cavalry division fascinated him and after his basic training he transferred there for further training.

Now, he is considered among the top riders in Britain and his father can hardly believe that this boy from Witrivier now finds himself in royal company.

"Our Family is not military orientated, except for my father who fought in World War II. Francois went to Britain on a student visa a couple of years ago and the army seemed like a good career. My wife (Julia) and I are very proud of him."



  • Ross - 2011-06-09 11:34

    Well done chaps!! We are all proud of you.

      thames - 2011-06-09 19:31

      What a pity we have again lost quality people to another country. These guys must be of exceptional quality to achieve what they have. What a shame that we have become a country to “come from”. Congratulations lads, I will be looking out for you on Saturday.

  • anna - 2011-06-09 11:59

    nice work shanas! show'em how it's done!

      colleen.mulrooney - 2011-06-10 12:46

      Hey Anna, do you know any of these guys personally? I'd like to contact them for HQPony magazine

  • LindaS - 2011-06-09 12:07

    It is Edinburgh not Edinburg and except not accept. Who wrote this a grade 7 child.

  • Barry M - 2011-06-09 12:10

    Come on Erika. Prince Philip is the Duke of Edinburgh, not the "Duke of Edinburg". If you want to be a reporter then you have to do better than that. Nevertheless well done to our lads.

  • GIS - 2011-06-09 12:26

    sounds like their cricket side

  • Snoopy88 - 2011-06-09 12:38

    Nicely done boys! But please don't go and get killed in that stupid war...

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-06-09 12:46

    ....and here I thought Elton John was having a birthday.. Well done chaps..

      jowza - 2011-06-09 12:59

      with elton they wont be riding horses

  • FAH-Q - 2011-06-09 13:21

    One thing I have learnt from my travels overseas and that is South Africans are the elite. We are the aryan race not Hitlers aryan race but the best race. Ask anyone who hires Saffa's oversea and they will tell you that they would hire a Saffa over any other nationality. Well done lads.

      thames - 2011-06-09 15:34

      You are way behind the times and perhaps what you say was true at some stage but not so any more. South African qualifications are now viewed with suspicion and the people from Eastern Europe get most of the jobs.

      sardonicus - 2011-06-09 15:38

      I wish we could say the same for the majority of Saffers still living in the republic, but JA, I'm with you on this one!

  • Hedda-Louise - 2011-06-09 13:38

    I in a hurry read the headline as "SA men to ride the Queen for her birthday"....hahaha

      Collitjies - 2011-06-09 16:08

      Hedda-Louise, please read the article as it clearly states "SA men to ride for the Queens birthday". Maybe reading is not one of your good points.

  • Faerie - 2011-06-09 13:39

    Well done Guys !! One can pick out those "Japies" anywhere, they look real cool.

  • pugwash - 2011-06-09 15:32

    Jolly hockeysticks old chaps ;)

  • Ampers - 2011-06-09 15:48

    Haha... Afrikaners, I hope the Queen doesn't know of Kitcheners konsentrasiekampe in the Boer War, otherwise she would be a little alarmed LOL

  • Shane - 2011-06-10 22:24

    Thanx guyz for all the comments.Shane

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