The Most Surprising Things Mike Tindall Has Said About The Royal Family

As a well-established professional athlete, no one could've predicted Mike Tindall's inclusion in the royal family. With Mike facing the woes of being kicked off of England's rugby team in 2003 and Zara Phillips enjoying a gap year in Australia, the two crossed paths at a bar thanks to one of his teammates. After formally introducing themselves, the two struck up a friendship that later bloomed into a full-fledged relationship. From 2004 onward, Mike and Zara's relationship deepened year by year, culminating in the two getting married in 2011 and introducing their children Mia, Lena, and Lucas Tindall into the world.

Considering Zara's lineage, one can only imagine how anxious Mike was to meet the royal family. Despite his grandmother's initial fears, Mike became one of the most adored members of the royal family. From building fascinating relationships with his in-laws like Princess Anne, Prince William, and Prince Harry, we've seen Mike spill secrets regarding life under royalty several times. In his interview with The Times (via People), Mike stated that being part of royalty "has its benefits and it has its negatives." Although the Yorkshire native remained professional in public outings whenever he was questioned about his royal in-laws, his down-to-earth personality didn't stop him from revealing shocking information that surprised the general public. Here are some of the most surprising things Mike Tindall has said about the royal family.

According to Mike, the royal family welcomed his family with open arms

Although Mike Tindall met his spouse's family earlier than most would want to, his acceptance within the royal family was almost instantaneous. Whether it be his likable personality or his interest in rugby, Mike easily blended into royalty after making his relationship with Zara Phillips official in 2004. This, in turn, meant that it was only a matter of time before Mike's family would meet his in-laws.

The perfect place to do so was at Mike and Zara's wedding in 2011. During his interview with "Good Morning Britain," he revealed that his family met his in-laws the night before the official ceremony (via Hello! Magazine). While his side of the family never showed any sign of disdain toward the royals, Mike shared that his family appeared uncomfortable at the event. According to Mike, his in-laws saw this as an opportunity to break the ice and make them feel included instead of leaving them alone. "I remember my family were in a corner and a little bit out of their comfort zone because it's not where they are used to being," he said. "But the best thing about the Royal Family is that they are so lovely and they'll spot the people who are looking a little bit nervous and go straight over and take away all of that tension straight out of the room, and that's what they are amazing at. Then suddenly you're in the family and they welcome you with welcome arms."

He revealed what it is like to live in Buckingham Palace

After Mike and Zara Tindall's wedding in 2011, the two were gifted Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate in 2013. The luxurious landmark was used for several royal events — like Mike's 27th birthday — throughout the years Princess Anne owned it. With plans to renovate their home coming into full swing in 2018, it's clear the Yorkshire native has tasted what it's like to live lavishly. Alongside his 730-acre home, Mike revealed that he has also spent some time in the notorious Buckingham Palace.

The residence serves as the royal family's center of operations. With as many as 775 rooms in total — ranging from guest rooms to offices — being invited to Buckingham Palace is a privilege in itself. During his time on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!," co-star Owen Warner asked the ex-rugby player if he spent time in the historical mansion. After confirming his multiple visits, Mike revealed that there's only "a little bit of living" in Buckingham Palace (via People). Owen then asked if it was allowed for guests to dress down, to which Tindall responded, "No, you get in jeans and a tee." While many considered life in Buckingham Palace to resemble that of a castle, it is eye-opening to hear Mike's way of living within the manor was more easy-going than we'd imagine.

Mike claimed he once threw punches at Harry to see how his security would react

After meeting Zara Phillips, Mike Tindall inevitably connected with her cousin, Prince Harry. Harry, like the rest of the royal family, had a passion for rugby. According to the ex-rugby player, this allowed him to meet Harry and his brother, Prince William, who were fans of the England team. Mike and Harry began to build a tight-knit relationship, attending several events together. This, however, appeared to be short-lived, as his royal exit alongside his confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 altered their relationship. Given the number of claims made, Mike's comments at a live event seemingly added fuel to the fire between Harry and the royal family.

During the "A Question of Sport Live" event at the London Palladium, the Yorkshire native jokingly claimed that the royal family wanted to throw a few punches at Harry (via the Daily Mail). Alongside Mike was his former teammate, Matt Dawson, who vividly detailed an outing in which Mike wanted to rough up his cousin-in-law. While celebrating England's World Cup win in 2003, Mike and teammate Iain Balshaw were curious to see how Harry's security would react to having punches thrown at him. This apparently didn't go over well, as they were pinned down in a few seconds. Although this appeared to be an instance of playful roughhousing, the story didn't help to negate Harry's claims of abuse within the royal family.

Mike suggested that Meghan Markle will thrive as a royal family member

Thanks to a mutual friend, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry started a two-year romance that led to their wedding in 2018. As their relationship grew, Meghan has been at the forefront of numerous headlines regarding her inclusion in the royal family. Despite her later claims of racism and abuse from her in-laws, this became an issue with publications shortly after the two announced that they were dating in 2016. This ultimately forced Kensington Palace to issue a statement detailing Harry's concerns for his soon-to-be wife. "Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her," they wrote. "It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm."

Although the struggles Meghan endured early on were a warning for things to come, Mike Tindall once shared words of encouragement for his future in-law in an interview with Sunday People in 2017 (via Elle). As someone who has married into the royal family, Mike understood how jarring it may be to enter their way of life. Despite the hardships, Mike was confident that Meghan would adapt to being a royal. "She has been under enough scrutiny and pressure in her day-to-day life so I'm sure she will get through it. She will be fine," he said. "As long as they are both happy that's all you can ask for."

Mike stated that Zara almost 'choked him to death' during the birth of their son

Mike and Zara Tindall had their first child, Mia Grace Tindall, three years after their wedding. The two then introduced their second daughter, Lena Elizabeth Tindall, into the world four years after the birth of their first. Lastly, the pair would have their first son, Lucas Tindall, on March 21, 2021. While the process for each childbirth was special in its own right, Mike revealed that the birth of their third child was met with undesirable circumstances that caused the mother of three to almost "choke him to death."

During his appearance on the British reality show, "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!," Mike opened up about the painful process of giving birth. While his co-stars discussed topics regarding their private regions, the conversation quickly transitioned into pregnancy. Through this, Mike revealed that Zara gave birth to her son in the bathroom of their home. Noticing his relaxed demeanor, Scarlette Douglas asked the ex-rugby player if Zara was in pain. "Yeah, she was. It was fast, though. From that moment ... she almost choked me to death," he responded. "You hear about Mother's getting strength. It's the same in childbirth."

Mike revealed that Prince William was okay with his choice to appear on reality television

Mike Tindall's openness has become a constant topic of discussion amongst general fans due to how it may represent the royal family. While they like to remain as professional as possible, the ex-rugby player also doesn't mind sharing explicit stories and embarrassing moments. So when Mike had the opportunity to appear on ITV's "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" in 2022, royal experts assumed that the royal family would quickly oppose the idea since it might tarnish their reputation. According to the Daily Mail, Jack Royston allegedly claimed that his appearance on the show "blows up that mystique and mystery and enigma that surrounds them."

Although Mike is capable of making his own decisions, the Yorkshire native approached one of his in-laws to ensure that this decision wouldn't rub the royal family the wrong way. In an episode of his podcast "The Good, the Bad, and the Rugby," Mike revealed that, in addition to keeping conversations regarding the royal family short, Prince William was okay with his reality show venture (via People). Despite royal experts' claims that the royal family may be frustrated with his appearance, Mike suggested that this wasn't the case at all. "You don't want to upset anyone," he stated. "I spoke to the Prince of Wales about it and he said 'Great, go have fun.'"

He supported Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit

In 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped away from their royal obligations to lead a life of their own. Their decision to step away was followed by a slew of tell-all interviews, documentaries, and illustrations describing the malpractice they'd witnessed during their time as working royals. The royal family was not only disappointed in their choice to step down, but they were also upset about how they were being portrayed to the general public. This undoubtedly altered the relationship between Harry and his lineage.

The only one that seemed to share words of positivity for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was Mike Tindall. During his appearance on the "House of Rugby" podcast, the ex-rugby player refrained from speaking about their royal exit because he wasn't sure it would come to fruition, stating, "I don't know anything about it." (via People). By August of the same year, Mike appeared on "Good Morning Britain," where he expressed empathy for the parents of two — opposing the more anger-fueled reaction other family members were having. "Look, they're busy doing what they're doing and I just want them to be happy with what they're doing and be happy with each other," he stated (via the Daily Mail). "And [Harry's] stressed that it's all about his family so you've got to support him through that."

Mike shared that he had regrets after Queen Elizabeth II passed away

With Mike Tindall marrying into the royal family, onlookers may assume that Mike has taken advantage of this privilege numerous times. To some extent, this is true, as he's found himself staying in historical manors like Buckingham Palace and building relationships with higher-ups such as Princess Anne. Though his relationship with the royal family has always been tight-knit, the Yorkshire native has since expressed deep regret for not spending more time with the late Queen Elizabeth II.

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth passed away at 96. To commemorate her 70-year-long reign, Mike dedicated an episode of "The Good, the Bad, and the Rugby" to his late grandmother-in-law. In the episode, the ex-rugby player shared stories describing the respect she garnered as a monarch. From almost curtsying in front of King Charles III to revealing movement plans for the queen's coffin, Mike spoke highly of his late grandmother-in-law and her family. Given his closeness to the royals, co-host Alex Payne asked Mike if he was grateful for the time he had spent with her. "I do. But I also have loads of regrets about not asking her so many more things," Mike admitted. "Having nervousness when you get that lucky seat of being sat next to her."

Mike outed Prince Louis for his behavior at the Platinum Jubilee Pageant

Just 3 months before her passing, members of the royal family attended the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, which celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's 70th year as a monarch. The celebration, which ran for four days, was an eventful one. According to NBC News, the event consisted of a military parade, a thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral, a musical performance from Ed Sheeran, and much more. While many of us were enthralled by the number of entertaining festivities, a viral moment that saw Prince Louis making funny faces and jumping from lap to lap found its way onto numerous publications. According to Mike Tindall, his behavior was influenced by the sweets given to him during the event.

Mike Tindall, alongside Princess Catherine, brought their children along to enjoy the spectacle together. Since they were adults, sitting for events that span over long periods is a practice that they're used to. On his podcast, "The Good, the Bad, and The Rugby," Mike suggested that the long hours may have likely caused Prince Louis to get bored (via People). This came to a head when the kids were given candy. "Louis, he was just wanting to have fun. And my two [daughters, Mia and Lena] are always mischievous, so it's trying to keep a lid on," he said to co-host Alex Payne. "There were a lot of sweets out back though, so there was a real sugar high."

Mike Tindall praised Princess Catherine for her rugby skills

As a former professional athlete, it may come as a surprise that the family Mike Tindall married into is just as, if not more athletic than he is. From horseback riding to tennis, their passion for sports spans beyond just consuming them as fans. So when Princess Catherine officially became a royal patron for the England rugby team, fans were curious to see how well she fared in the sport. Given her athletic history, her first day as a royal patron was met with public praise as she showcased a promising skillset for the sport when she visited the England team at Twickenham Stadium.

This inevitably caused Mike to swallow his pride and compliment Catherine for her prowess in rugby. While discussing the first round of the Six Nations Championship in his podcast "The Good, the Bad, and the Rugby," co-host Alex Payne stated, "She [Catherine] looks a more natural rugby player than both of you [Mike and James Haskell] put together." From initially revealing his intentions of wanting to make fun of her through their WhatsApp group chat, Mike agreed with his statement and admitted his cousin-in-law's performance in the line-out play was no easy feat. "Just imagine, anyone who's ever tried it, getting thrown up in the line-out if you've never done it before is not easy because normally, you'll kick the prop in either the nuts or the face as he's lifting you," he stated. "And she just looked effortless."

Mike jokingly expressed his frustrations about his seat at King Charles III's coronation

King Charles III's coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023. With a guest list spanning over 2,000 attendees, the celebration of Charles' new reign was a spectacle everyone enjoyed. From those in attendance, however, it appeared that Mike Tindall had an issue with the ceremony. Although he enjoyed the rest of his weekend with his wife and the rest of the royal family, Mike expressed his frustrations with the seating arrangement at Westminster Abbey two weeks after the event.

On an episode of "The Good, the Bad, and the Rugby," Mike revealed that he couldn't see much of the coronation from where he was seated (via Page Six). While in the fourth row behind Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Beatrice, Mike told his co-hosts Alex Payne and James Haskell that a particular wall just around the corner prevented him from watching the coronation. Harry also allegedly had a distorted view due to Princess Anne's headpiece. "It was unbelievable to be sat where we were," he stated. "Quite frustrating that you couldn't see around the corner, but you had the TV there, and obviously everything that went on sort of [in the] back and front."