From the rugby field to the palace! Former pro athlete Mike Tindall became a member of the royal family after his wedding to Zara Tindall (née Phillips).
Zara is the only daughter of Princess Anne and her ex-husband, Captain Mark Phillips. The twosome — who divorced in 1992 — also share son Peter Phillips. Zara and her brother are the two eldest grandchildren of the late Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Philip, who died in 2022 and 2021, respectively.
When Mike met Zara at a pub in Australia in 2003, he was instantly smitten with her regardless of her royal status.
“I’m never a forward planner. I don’t think that far ahead,” the former rugby player told the Daily Mail in June 2011 of not realizing who his in-laws would be when he began dating his now-wife. “I think [my mom] was still a little bit shocked, but [both of my parents] were both fine with it.”
He added at the time: “My grandma was a bit more nervous because for her generation the royal family is massive. She was worried whether it was the right thing for me.”
Mike eventually proposed to Zara in December 2010, and they wed one year later at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. The couple have since welcomed three children: Mia, Lena and Lucas.
Amid their royal romance, Mike has gotten a front-row seat to several historic events alongside Zara and their kids. The pair have frequently stepped out with the royals for annual Christmas and Easter services, as well as the respective funerals for the late queen and Philip. Mike and the Olympian also attended several celebratory events for Zara’s uncle King Charles III’s coronation in May 2023.
The Tindalls were seated next to Peter in the fourth row during the Westminster Abbey service.
“You’re in the hottest spot, but it was all happening just around the corner of wall that you can’t see,” Mike quipped during an episode of his “The Good, the Bad & the Rugby” podcast later that month. “It was unbelievable to be sat where we were. Quite frustrating that you couldn’t see around the corner, but you had the TV there.”
He and Zara were directly behind her cousins Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
“It’s one of those moments,” Mike added on his podcast. “I think the best bit of the day was the six and half hours of military footmen that were in the Buckingham Palace backyard and they did three cheers for the King — it was like whoa, goose pimples.”
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Scroll below to read Mike’s most candid quotes about joining the royal family: