Inside Princess Anne's Relationship With Mike Tindall

When Mike Tindall met Zara Phillips at a local pub, their lives changed forever. The daughter of Princess Anne was enjoying time in Australia and the Yorkshire native was letting off some steam after being dropped from England's Rugby World Cup campaign. This led to the two crossing paths at the Manly Wharf bar in 2003. They exchanged numbers and stayed in contact with each other following their departure back to the United Kingdom. In 2004, Mike and Zara made their relationship official, and by 2011, the former rugby player found himself marrying into royalty. 

Judging from his friendly banters with Zara's cousins, Prince William and Prince Harry, it seems that the royal family has taken quite a liking to the former rugby player. More significant, however, is his relationship with his mother-in-law, Princess Anne. Though she appears stern, their affection toward one another is a relationship many never thought they'd get to see. From their shared passion for rugby to their combined efforts in philanthropic events, Princess Anne and Mike Tindall are two peas in a pod. To learn more about their ever-growing kinship, take a deep dive into Princess Anne's relationship with her son-in-law.

Princess Anne and Mike Tindall instantly clicked when they first met

During the earlier stage of Mike and Zara Tindall's relationship, Zara invited Mike to the North Cotswold Ball at Sudeley Castle. After the event, Mike got invited to meet her parents, Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne. From there, the two instantly clicked, making his inclusion in the royal family seamless. The Yorkshireman told Express magazine that the royal family was extremely kind and pleasant toward him. He explained, "Zara's mum is a legend and her father is lovely too. My mates in Wakefield are forever asking how I fit in among the Royal Family but they are really down to earth."

With the ex-rugby player having no issues fitting in, one may assume how receptive the royal family would be to Mike's side of the family. Mike's father, Philip, shared the same sentiment as his son, suggesting that the royal family extended their friendliness toward him as well. In an interview with Tatler magazine, Philip revealed that both families spent a lot of time together following their children's wedding. He told the publication, "We'd go on a Friday night to watch the match and stop over [at Zara's]. Sometimes we'd all go out for lunch with Zara's mum on Sunday before we went home. We spent quite a bit of time with her dad too. [Prince] Harry would often be round watching the rugby, so, slowly and quietly, we got to meet them all — and that's how it went on for quite a few years."

Mike celebrated his 25th birthday at Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park Estate

Queen Elizabeth II gifted her daughter, Princess Anne, a 730-acre manor house between Minchinhampton and Avening in Gloucestershire, England. Though the Gatcombe Park Estate served as Peter and Zara Phillips' childhood home, the vast estate eventually became a working farm and the destination for several British events. In addition to Mike Tindall's positive reception from the royal family, Princess Anne welcomed the ex-rugby player to her immersive home for an event dedicated to him.

With Princess Anne allowing him to have a party on her property — and live there with her daughter — it's clear that she accepted Mike as one of her own. In 2005, Mike Tindall celebrated his 27th birthday at Gatcombe Park Estate (via Telegraph) — which later became Zara and Mike's place of residence. Since it was only a year since he started dating Zara, the family function was another example of how the royal family enjoyed his company. A partygoer stated that a hilarious back-and-forth between Prince William and Mike cemented his place in the royal family. Due to his good-natured personality, it seemed as though the party was a massive success. "The Royal family love him because he has never been anything other than his down-to-earth self around them. He's a straightforward Yorkshireman who makes everyone laugh. The Princess Royal adores him," the insider told the publication. 

Princess Anne and Mike have shared passions for rugby

The royal family has a rich history in athletics. Spawning from the queen's interest in horseback riding, Princess Anne eventually picked up the hobby and turned it into a competitive venture. In 1976, Princess Anne competed in a three-day event at the Montreal Games — making her the first of the British royal family to ever compete in the Olympics. Zara Tindall followed suit in 2012 when she competed in yet another three-day event at the London Olympics. There, she won a silver medal, which Princess Anne presented as the Honorary President of the British Olympic Association.

Given the royal family's history in athletics, Mike Tindall had no problem fitting in. With a professional rugby career spanning over a decade — winning 75 England caps and helping England win the World Cup in 2003 — Mike accidentally put himself under the royal family's radar, especially since they're avid rugby supporters. Although Tindall retired in 2014, he still expresses his passion for the sport alongside his mother-in-law. The two were spotted at Twickenham stadium watching England play a match against Scotland for the Six Nations Championship. Since Princess Anne was a former spokesperson for the Scottish Rugby Union and Mike was in support of Steve Borthwick (coach for team England), the two seemingly cheered for different teams. Following England's loss, Mike took to Instagram to congratulate Scotland. His followers, however, reminded him of how happy Princess Anne must have been watching her team win.

Mike didn't let the pandemic stop him from celebrating Princess Anne's 70th birthday

Despite the long list of members of the British royal family, they're heavily dedicated to maintaining their connection with one another whenever they get the chance. From spending Christmas together to celebrating birthdays, those within the British royal family always put time aside for some family bonding. The pandemic, however, made their tribe-like festivities harder to maintain. Given the critical state of England at the time, several individuals had to adhere to social distancing protocols to protect themselves and their loved ones.

In light of the pandemic, Mike Tindall went on "Good Morning Britain" to promote his new podcast, "The Good, The Bad & The Rugby." While discussing its massive success, Mike touched on how the pandemic affected his and his family's livelihood. With Princess Anne's birthday coming up at the time of the broadcast, Mike stated that their family plans had to change due to COVID-19. To him, his — and the royal family's — main concern was to protect one another. Despite the frightening reality of uncertainty at the time, Mike assured the interviewers that they'd work around their predicament and celebrate Princess Anne's 70th birthday together. "Princess Anne and her birthday ... You know, there were plans which are going to have to change," he stated. "But I'm sure we'll find a way of getting together as a family in the appropriate manner."

Mike Tindall once ripped his pants in front of Princess Anne

Despite his demeaning stature, Mike Tindall has a warm personality and intriguing sense of humor that makes him a joy to be around. It lead to his quick inclusion into the hearts of the royal family. And, this pure nature caused him to be sought after by producers of the British reality TV show, "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" The show, based on survival instincts, was also home to several hilarious moments, one of which happened to be a story of Mike ripping his pants in front of his mother-in-law.

In one of his more memorable highlights on the show, Mike Tindall revealed that he has a bad relationship with suits. The ex-rugby player himself told fellow competitors Seann West and Babatúndé Aléshé that he found himself ripping suits on multiple occasions due to his husky build and overzealous dance moves. One incident saw him rip a pair of trousers in front of Princess Anne while they were dancing together. "So I was dancing with my mother-in-law, and I did an 'sl** drop' in front of my mother-in-law," he said (via YouTube). "Ripped my trousers, straight in front of her and it happened to be that the boxers that I had on at that time said 'nibble my nuts.'" According to Mike, Princess Anne took the embarrassing moment as an opportunity to make a joke at his expense — stating, "I'd rather not."

Princess Anne supported Mike Tindall's venture into reality TV

Before appearing on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here," ITV reached out numerous times to have Mike Tindall on their show. Given his royal status, it seemed like the former rugby player was unsure whether or not he should be a participant. That was until his podcast co-host, James Haskell, convinced him to sign up. Although this wasn't his first reality show endeavor — as he appeared on "The Jump" and "Bear Grylls: Mission Survive" — Mike inadvertently sparked controversy regarding his reality show commitment. In addition to not seeking Prince Charles' permission, royal expert Ingrid Seward suggested that this venture could embarrass his mother-in-law (via Express).

Other royal experts suggested that while she may not watch every episode, Princess Anne will keep up with what her son-in-law does on the show. Despite the rumors, his venture into reality television didn't seem to startle the princess. Former royal correspondent, Jenna Bond, told Independent that Princess Anne "has more of a sense of humor than we recognize." Following his departure from the show, Mike appeared on "Good Morning Britain" to reveal that while he didn't think Princess Anne watched the show, Zara kept her up to date with everything he was doing. "I don't think she was watching, but I think Zara might have told her," Mike said (via Yahoo!). "I'm pretty sure [the trouser-splitting incident] is probably etched into her memory bank for all the wrong reasons, so I'll probably bashfully hide away from that one when I get home."

Mike Tindall and Princess Anne admitted to finding The Crown interesting

From its release in 2016, "The Crown" ruffled feathers due to what some considered an inaccurate portrayal of the British royal family. This seemingly caused members of the royal family to have mixed opinions about the show. Princess Anne, surprisingly enough, admitted to watching the series. In an ITV documentary titled, "Anne: The Princess Royal At 70," Anne stated that she found the earlier episodes "quite interesting" (via Independent)

Similarly, Mike Tindall revealed that he found "The Crown" to be interesting as well. On his podcast, "The Good, The Bad & The Rugby," the ex-rugby player revealed that he intends to get caught up with the series. Coincidentally, the season he left off at covered Princess Anne's relationship with Andrew Parker-Bowles. "I need to catch up," he told podcast host Alex Payne. "I actually saw the advert for it, and I was like, 'Oh, I need to catch up' because I only got about halfway through season three so, I started watching season three last night and then I'll catch up."

Following his praise, the Yorkshire native acknowledged how the show exaggerated specific details of their lives. "I'm quite intrigued to see where they go with it because obviously, it's an era that people are fascinated with," he said. "But remember everyone, it is a drama so it's going to be made into a bit of a drama."

Princess Anne requested that Mike get his nose fixed before his wedding

Mike and Zara Tindall's 8-year-long romance culminated in 2011 when the two got married in Edinburgh, Scotland. With most of the royal family in attendance — alongside Mike's side of the family — the ceremony proved to be a spectacular event. Although the royal family accepted the Yorkshire native well before their engagement, it appeared that Princess Anne had some concerns regarding his and her daughter's wedding day.

A career in a sport like rugby usually has a short shelf life. Due to its physical nature, avoiding life-altering injuries is somewhat impossible. In his 14-year-long career, Mike sustained several injuries to his nose, and as a result, his nose lost its natural shape. On the set of the British game show, "A League of Their Own," Mike revealed that Princess Anne asked him to have corrective surgery before his wedding. Though he never took it as a crude remark, Mike quickly declined due to his prior experience with nose surgery. While he didn't care for his nose aesthetically — stating that he actually loved it — Mike began to have breathing issues, causing him to consider corrective surgery in 2015. By 2018, the former rugby player fixed it well before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding (via People). Even though it took seven years to come to fruition, we're sure Princess Anne is glad her son-in-law followed through with her request.

Princess Anne joined Mike in a charity event that raised awareness for Motor Neuron Disease

In addition to being a former athlete, Mike Tindall is also well-known for his charitable efforts. In 2003, his father, Philip Tindall, got diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. During his appearance on "BBC Breakfast," Mike revealed that due to his lack of knowledge about the chronic illness, he wished he would've pushed his father to be more proactive in treating the disorder. Despite his lingering regret, Mike began to work closely with Cure Parkinson's. He hosted annual charity events like "Celebrity Golf Classic" to not only bring awareness to the illness but raise money to support the company's research. "Their sole goal is to not exist. To stop, reverse and cure Parkinson's ultimately, it's something that because of having to watch my dad go through it, that's something I'm more interested in, the cure side of it than just living with it," he told Hello! Magazine.

Most notable, however, was his and his mother-in-law's contribution to the annual sporting event dedicated to Scottish rugby player Doddie Weir — who suffered from motor neuron disease before he passed. Princess Anne and Mike greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek as they took part in the celebratory occasion. While the event saw professional rugby players cycle for 555 miles in two days, Princess Anne attended to support and encourage those attempting to achieve the incredible feat.

Mike ensures his children have a connection with Princess Anne

In 2014, Mike and Zara Tindall introduced their first child, Mia Grace Tindall, at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. What Mike considered the "best day of his life" was later met with pregnancy complications following the birth of their first child. Luckily, the pair got to expand their family, introducing Lena Elizabeth Tindall in 2018 and Lucas Philip Tindall in 2021.

Alongside Peter Phillips' daughters, Savannah and Isla Phillips, Princess Anne became a grandmother to five kids. Like his relationship with his mother-in-law, Mike seemingly wants to make sure his children maintain a strong relationship with their grandmother. In 2016, Princess Anne was spotted with Mike, and her granddaughter, Mia, supporting Zara as she competed in a charity polo match at the Beaufort Polo Club. According to an interview with Express, Zara and her brother also like to drop the kids off at Princess Anne's house on Sundays so that they could spend time with her. Peter revealed that their day together consists of fun activities they all enjoy. "She loves seeing them ride, she loves having them around for Sunday lunches, doing all the sorts of stuff we used to do as kids. She now takes them to do this sort of things," he said. Zara added, "We quite like leaving them on Sundays. We'll say, 'We'll pick them up later, bye'."