MIKE Tindall loves nothing more than sharing lad-style banter with Prince William and drinking home-brewed cider into the early hours, according to a royal biographer.
The former England rugby player, 44 – who is married to King Charles‘ niece Zara Phillips, 41 – has won over a legion of new fans since appearing in ITV’s I’m A I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Mike and Zara Tindall attended the Wimbledon Tennis earlier this year[/caption]
Mike talking to Kate Middleton and Prince William at the Easter Mattins Service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Easter Sunday[/caption]
From his comforting bear hugs and witty humour to flaunting a pair of budgie smugglers, viewers have fallen in love with Mike‘s down-to-earth personality.
But what’s the rugby ace – who shares three children with wife Zara – Mia, eight, Lena, four, and Lucas, one –really like behind palace doors?
Royal biographer Phil Dampier told Fabulous: “Prince William and Mike Tindall take the mickey out of each other – Mike called William ‘baldy’ once and I seem to remember Mike might be known as ‘Shrek’ – for obvious reasons…
“It’s all good fun, there’s a lot of rugby, bloke-style banter between the two of them.”
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And thanks to some of the royal secrets he’s let slip to campmates, Mike’s time in the jungle is likely to provide some light entertainment over Christmas dinner at Sandringham this year, too.
So far, the dad-of-three has dished the dirt on his “boozy” first date with wife Zara and told how he split his trousers in front of The late Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, whilst performing a “s**t drop”.
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He amusingly recalled how it revealed his novelty underwear which was emblazoned with the words “nibble my nuts.”
“I’m sure they’ll all be talking about it at Christmas,” says Phil.
“There’ll be a lot of banter and ribbing – particularly when Mike made a reference to the budgie smugglers he was wearing and the comment Princess Anne made.
“There will be a lot of banter being thrown back and forth over the turkey.”
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From necking a cocktail of blended cockroaches like it’s an ice cold beer to enduring hardcore rugby initiations when he was a member of the England squad, it’s no secret Mike has knocked back a pint or two in his time.
And according to Phil, he’s been known to spend Christmas Eve boozing on cider that’s been brewed on the Sandringham estate with his very royal pals – and staying up into the early hours.
“When the royals gather on Christmas Eve they knock it back before having dinner,” the royal biographer explains.
“After dinner William, Harry, Mike and Peter Phillips were known to carry on boozing sometimes into the early hours.
“Occasional hangovers were not unknown on the morning of Christmas Day walking to church or the traditional Boxing Day shoot.”
“I’m sure that Mike and Zara are very upset by what’s happened with Harry and Meghan and I’m sure they miss him and miss the Harry of old,” Phil explains.
“Mike and Zara have grown closer to William and Kate because of Harry leaving.
“When they do see other they’re more dependent on each other because of the absence of Harry.
“They’re probably much closer and more friendly now than they would’ve been.”
Phil also believes that Prince William has long been fond of Mike and Zara – who is a successful equestrian – because of their ‘down-to-earth’ nature.
He explains: “Zara and Peter Philips weren’t given titles by Princess Anne so they could both fall to their own careers and forge their own paths in life.
“When William was younger, I don’t think he particularly wanted to be a royal.
“I think he was quite frightened of his destiny of becoming king one day and some of his happiest moments was being with Kate’s family and just having Sunday lunch with the Middletons, because they were a ‘normal’ middle-class family.
“Similarly, he’ll enjoy having a friendship with someone like Mike, who hasn’t got any particular airs and graces – both he and Zara are very down-to-earth.”
As for the impact Mike’s stint in the jungle will have on the royal family, Phil comments: “I don’t think it does the image of the royals any harm because they’re down-to-earth and seen as being successful in their own right.
“I don’t think anyone associates Mike with being a royal particularly – that’s the advantage that he and Zara have.
“When we see them at a family wedding or funeral yes we realise they’re members of the family, but when we see them out and about at an equestrian event or a rugby event, you just think of them as sportsmen/celebrities.”
Speaking of appearing on a reality show, Phil concludes: “I don’t think he would’ve done it while the queen was still alive.
“He might not have wanted to upset the Queen in any way, although she might not have minded him doing it because she was very fond of him.
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“But it’s a very fine line – obviously they’re members of the royal family, but they’re not working royals.
“There’s a very fine line to tread – to be seen cashing in on his royal status when he’s not working royal, but I think they’ve just about got the balance right.”
Kate Middleton, Prince William Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle meet members of the public at Windsor Castle following the death of Queen Elizabeth II[/caption]