Mike Tindall may be a member of the Royal Family – but he appears to hold a very unique position within it.
The former England rugby player, who has reportedly signed up to hit TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, is married to the late Queen’s granddaughter Zara, making him a son-in-law of Princess Anne. With Zara not having a royal title, neither her nor Mike carry out any royal duties – but both are regulars at major royals events such as Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour. And on his podcast The Good, The Bad and The Rugby, he often gives small insights into what really goes on behind palace walls – although sources say he will be “discreet” on the reality TV show. So what has Mike’s unique royal life been like in the 11 years since he married into the family? Here we take a look…
Royal wedding and family concern
Mike officially became a member of the royal family when he married wife Zara in a beautiful ceremony in Edinburgh in July 2011.
The couple are believed to have met many years before in Sydney during England Rugby’s winning World Cup campaign in 2003, with Zara’s cousin Prince Harry credited as introducing them.
However, there was one relative who wasn’t happy about their marriage – and was actually “dead against it” – Mike’s late grandmother.
Mike’s dad Philip revealed this in 2020 in an interview with the Sunday Times, saying: “Linda’s mum [Mike’s grandmother] was dead against it. In her day, royalty married royalty and she thought the wedding would be shunned.
“But right from the start the whole family was just lovely.”
Sadly, Mike’s grandmother never got to meet Zara but Philip says he knows she would have approved of her grandson’s wife.
He added: “I know she’d have loved her as much as we do because she and Mike are perfect for each other.”
Mike and Zara have three children together – Mia, aged eight, four-year-old Lena and Lucas, who turned one earlier this year.
The three kids are often pictured with their dad at horse trials across the country, where they cheer on their mum Zara, a former world champion equestrian.
And on his podcast shortly after the arrival of Lucas, Mike revealed how his wife gave birth at on the bathroom floor at their home in Gloucestershire as he rushed to find a gym mat.
He surprised his co-stars with the news, saying: “Sunday got even better because a little baby boy arrived at my house.
“Arrived very quickly, didn’t make it to hospital. On the bathroom floor.”
Mike was tasked with running into the gym to grab a mat to put on the bathroom floor and getting towels, saying it was “brace, brace brace”.
Prince Harry ‘punch’ and insult
Most people try to keep any fiery comments about their other half’s family to themselves at the occasional family reunion.
But not for Mike Tindall, who reportedly branded Prince Harry a ‘b***end’ during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Harry and wife Meghan Markle had previously been critical of their royal relatives and it had been unclear if they would come to the UK for the Jubilee earlier this summer.
In the end, they did but didn’t attend the Platinum Party at the Palace concert or any other celebrations publicly – apart from a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s cathedral the day before.
And 43-year-old Mike was overheard dubbing the Duke of Sussex’s behaviour as that of a ‘b***end’, the Daily Express reported.
It came after Mike previously joked that members of the Royal Family would like to “throw a few punches” at Harry.
He made the comments during A Question of Sport Live at the London Palladium back in September 2021.
He was joined by former England rugby player Matt Dawson, who recounted a night out with Prince Harry and ex-teammate Iain Balshaw in Sydney in 2003.
Royal expert Richard Eden said Balshaw and Tindall thought it would be “amusing to throw a few punches” at the prince to test how long it would take Harry’s personal protective officers to intervene.
Mr Eden quipped: “A few seconds, it turned out.”
Mr Tindall said: “At Balmoral, the family are now having the same conversation.”
He added: “Except the Queen has taken his security away.”
Being a former professional rugby player means Mike took his fair share of knocks and suffered several serious injuries – including a punctured lung and a tear in his liver.
He is believed to have broken his nose at least eight times, which left it slightly crooked.
It was reported that Princess Anne set down a demand for Mike to have it fixed – but at the time he refused to go ahead with it.
Mike admitted: “It was a light-hearted, jokey comment. It wasn’t a big deal.
“Look at my nose – can you blame her?”
However, he was unable to carry out the request at the time as undergoing surgery would have interfered with his training regime – as he was still a rugby player at the time.
But in 2018, before the wedding Harry and Meghan, Mike did eventually have corrective surgery on his nose – once his pro sports career was over.
During the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer, r oyal fans couldn’t get enough of Mike’s Instagram updates, which left them in stitches.
In one post, he shared a snapshot of his wife alongside her cousinPrincess Eugenie, dressed in brightly coloured outfits with the caption: ‘When you combine your favourite Starbursts!! Two world-class ladies!! #starburst #platinumjubilee.’
He also shared a series of photos of him posing in his wife’s fascinators – which she wore to the Service of Thanksgiving and Trooping the Colour.
Prince Louis warning
But it wasn’t all fun and games as Mike was also pictured at the Jubilee giving a stern yet light-hearted warning to an excitable Prince Louis.
Mike and Zara are known to be close to the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children George, Charlotte and Louis.
At one point during the Jubilee pageant, M ike was snapped giving four-year-old Louis an ‘I’m watching you’ look.
And he later revealed on his podcast: “Louis was just wanting to have fun.
“And my two are always mischievous, so it was just trying to keep a lid on it. There were a lot of sweets out back though, so they had complete sugar-highs.”
Queen regret and King gaffe
Following the sad death of the Queen last month, Mike joined Zara and his royal relatives at events including services at Westminster Hall and the grand state funeral.
And later on his podcast, he opened up about his regret after her passing – especially as he got to spend so much time with the late monarch.
Host Alex Payne asked Mike if he realised how lucky he had been to spend time in the Queen’s company.
And he replied. “I do but I have loads of regrets about not asking her so many more things and having nervousness when you get that lucky seat to sit next to her.”
When asked what he would have asked her if he could, Mike replied: “Just going back through history and everything that she’s possibly seen like 15 prime ministers and however many presidents it is but to go through everything.”
When asked if he had ever asked the Queen any of this, Mike added: “I was starting to get to that point but I hadn’t barrelled in – I know you would have barrelled in.
“But guaranteed, when you sit there, it’s not that easy.”
Meanwhile on the same podcast, he also admitted to a gaffe on meeting his wife’s uncle King Charles for the first time since he became monarch.
Mike revealed: “You know when you’re following a routine? I almost curtseyed to the King the other day.
“Without thinking about it. I was just following my wife, saw her curtsey, and I, fortunately, didn’t.”
Mike, who ended up turning the curtsey into a “lower bow”, went on to clarify that he thinks he “styled it out alright”, although he admits he may have looked as though he’d “stubbed my toe or something on the floor.”