Mike Tindall recently sat down for an interview with The Telegraph, speaking about a range of things including the two major R’s in his life: rugby and Royalty.
Next month will mark 10 years since Zara Phillips, The Queen’s eldest granddaughter and only daughter of The Princess Royal, walked down the aisle to marry her boyfriend of eight years, Mike Tindall. Life would never quite be the same for the English rugby player again as he became a member of one of the most famous families in the world.
And that is just what they are: a ‘fantastic’ family who are loving and supportive and very close, Mike explained.
“I can only say how kind they’ve been to me, and how welcoming they’ve been to me since joining the family,” he said, praising them highly. “I’ve always felt part of it and I think that’s down to what an amazing woman The Queen is.”
“They’re very close and it’s great to see,” Mike explained, saying he wished his own family could have the same amount of get-togethers as the Royal Family do. The Tindall family were welcomed into the royal fold from day one, which was great for Mike, as he is equally close to his own family.
Covid has stopped him from traveling to West Yorkshire to see them, however, as he lives on the Gatcombe Park Estate in Gloucestershire. The estate is also home to Princess Anne and her husband, Sir Tim, Zara’s older brother Peter.
Not being able to visit his family has been hard on Mike, especially as his father, Philip, has Parkinson’s Disease. His mother, Linda, suffers from asthma. Mike has used his public platform to highlight Parkinson’s Disease, especially to talk about his father.
“My dad’s main symptom is that he just freezes and can’t move. Then it’s quite hard for a 73-year-old lady to try and drag him out of the chair and get him going again.”
He details some stories of his father trying to do some things he no longer can – like paint the bedroom ceiling. “He used to be 5ft 10 but he’s now not even 5ft 6 because his spine has curved. He’s on the stepladder trying to do the ceiling. How is that helpful?” He said, laughing.
“My dad was an athlete, now he struggles to pick up a pen”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) June 16, 2021
“And funnily enough, they had to get someone in to redo it.”
Keen to do something to help, Tindall is also an ambassador for Cure Parkinson’s. He hosts regular fundraising events for them; this week, there’s a celebrity golf tournament and on Sunday he has to cycle 42km for the charity.
After a decade of marriage, does Mike know the secret to a happy marriage? No – but the fact Zara is his best friend has a lot to do with the success of their relationship. “At the end of the day we can sit down and laugh at each other and have a good time.”
“It’s been an amazing 10 years.” Mike says.
Of the busy family life he has with Zara as parents to three children – Mia, seven, Lena, three, and 12-week-old Lucas – he joked: “It’s like running a logistics company, isn’t it?”
Sport has been going through a debate in recent times, especially following the Black Lives Matter movement. To take the knee or not? Mike said that, personally, he would not. “I would love racism not to exist,” he told Bryony, but that he makes his stance against racism in his own way.
Talk turned to social media. He expressed that he is glad that he had finished playing professionally before it became a big thing: “All I could think about when I finished a game was what had gone wrong. The last thing you need to read is everyone else picking you up on all your flaws, too.”
Within the world of rugby, many former players have brought negligence cases against the RFU, saying that more should have been done to help prevent their traumatic brain injuries, and early onset dementia. Mike, who once played a game with broken ribs, insists that the game is now ‘as safe as you’re going to get it’ and he doesn’t want the game to change.
He added that he is going to go to the doctors soon to get himself checked, however, and see if he has any lasting side affects from playing the contact sport.