Celebrities

I’m A Celeb’s Mike Tindall’s sweet relationship with Princess Anne behind palace walls

Mike Tindall is proving to be a hit with I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! viewers with his down-to-earth attitude, skimpy swimming trunks and amusing anecdotes of life in the Royal Family.

The ex-rugby star told fellow jungle campmates a story this week – about splitting his trousers on the dancefloor at a birthday party – that revealed the comfortable relationship he enjoys with his mother-in-law, Anne, Princess Royal.

Mike was probably best known for being a member of the England team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, until he married into the royal family eight years later.

The 44 year old tied the knot with Zara Philips, the late Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter and the Princess Royal’s daughter, at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in July 2011.

Mike is said to have developed a special bond with his royal in-laws over the years – and enjoys a fun relationship with Princess Anne.

Their shared passion for sport is believed to be one key factor in their closeness. But while Mike enjoyed huge success with England’s rugby union squad, the Princess Royal is an ardent follower of the Scotland team.

The 72 year old has been patron of the Scottish rugby union since 1986. She hardly ever misses a home match and has travelled abroad to support the Scotland team.

Rugby can be a brutal sport, however, and Mike broke his nose at least eight times during his career. And Princess Anne is said to have teased him about it ahead of his wedding to 41 year old Zara – suggesting he have a nose job to sort it out.

Mike later revealed: "It was a light-hearted, jokey comment. It wasn't a big deal. Look at my nose – can you blame her?"

The special bond between the Tindalls and Princess Anne is also seen in how close they lived to each other.

Mike and Zara live on the Princess Royal’s sprawling Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire with their children Mia, eight, Lena, four, and one year old Lucas.

The couple gave up their former £1.69m home in Cheltenham back in 2013 so they could move closer to Princess Anne.

The Gatcombe Park estate is run as a working farm with a range of livestock, including breeding horses and cattle.

It is also home to the Festival of British Eventing, which takes place in the grounds every August, reflecting both Princess Anne and Zara's passion for equestrianism.

The Princess Royal lives in Gatcombe’s main Grade-II listed home with her husband Sir Timothy Laurence, 67. In her home office, Anne has numerous family photographs on display – including a prominently positioned photo of Mike and Zara on their wedding day.

MIke has already given some insights into royal life during his time on I’m A Celeb – discussing how he met Zara in Sydney when the 2003 Rugby World Cup was being played, and how he later enjoyed a boozy first date with her.

And, on Monday's episode, Mike revealed how he had to walk away from Princess Anne at Zara's 30th birthday bash – after his trousers split.

He told his fellow campmates Seann Walsh and Babatúndé Aléshé that he was dancing with the Princess Royal when his trousers tore, exposing an unfortunately risque pair of boxer shorts.

He said: “Zara had like a 30th birthday, it was a disco 70s themed one, I was dancing on the dance floor, I had like flares on, full outfit but it was quite tight, nothing ever fits – rugby player’s bum and legs – so I was dancing with my mother-in-law and I did a sl*t drop in front of my mother-in-law.

“Ripped my trousers, straight in front of her. It happened to be that my boxers that I had on at that time said ‘nibble my nuts’.

“As I’ve turned round, she’s gone, ‘I’d rather not.’ I’ve gone, ‘I’m going’ and walked off.”

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