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Mike Tindall refused Princess Anne's one request before his wedding to Zara Tindall

The former rugby star married Zara in 2011

Mike and Zara Tindall and Princess Anne laughing at Royal Ascot 2014
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
8 April 2024
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Mike Tindall has a strong bond with his mother-in-law, the Princess Royal, and even invited Anne on his rugby podcast last year with the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The former England star, now 45, has been married to Princess Anne's daughter, Zara, since 2011.

Mike's nose before

In the run-up to their nuptials, Mike told producers and crew on the set of Sky One's A League of Their Own that he admitted that his future mother-in-law had asked him to have corrective surgery on his nose.

Mike Tindall, the England captain, poses after the media briefing on March 3, 2011 in Oxford, England© Getty
Mike's nose four months before his wedding

The rugby pro had broken his nose at least eight times during his sporting career, but he politely turned down Anne's request to have it straightened as undergoing surgery would have interfered with his training schedule at the time.

Speaking to the Radio Times in November 2011 a few months after his wedding, Mike defended his mother-in-law, saying "it was a light-hearted, jokey comment" adding: "It wasn't a big deal, and look at my nose - can you blame her?"

Mike and Zara emerge from church after their wedding© Getty
Mike turned down corrective surgery on his nose before his wedding to Zara

Mike's nose after surgery

Mike, who was part of the England rugby squad who won the 2003 World Cup, retired from the sport in 2014. 

The father-of-three underwent a procedure to straighten his nose in April 2018 ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.

Mike and Zara Tindall attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor© Getty
Mike showed off his new nose at Harry and Meghan's 2018 wedding

Relationship with mother-in-law Princess Anne

During his appearance on I'm A Celebrity in 2022, Mike recalled a hilarious anecdote with Princess Anne from Zara's 30th birthday party as seen in the clip below...

WATCH: Mike Tindall had to walk away from Princess Anne after hilarious blunder at Zara's birthday party

The sportsman told his fellow campmates Seann Walsh and Babatúndé Aléshé that he was dancing with the Princess Royal when his flared trousers ripped, exposing his boxers that had a rude message printed on them.    

"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 [expletive] drop in front of my mother-in-law," he said.

Mike Tindall, James Haskell, Prince William, Princess Kate and Princess Anne in Windsor castle © Getty
Mike and Anne share a sweet bond

Mike continued: "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,'" which prompted laughter from Seann and Babatúndé.

He added: "As I've turned round, she's [Anne] gone, 'I'd rather not.' I've gone, 'Yeah I'm going' and walked off."

Family life with Zara

Since their marriage at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh on 30 July 2011, Mike and Zara have welcomed three children – Mia, Lena and Lucas, born in 2014, 2018 and 2021 respectively.

The husband-and-wife duo couldn't be more in love, and Mike couldn't be more gushing about what a brilliant mother Zara is when he caught up with HELLO! last year.

Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall© Shutterstock
Mike and Zara at Cheltenham in March

When asked why his beautiful wife is such a wonderful mum, he said: "Her passion her compassion, her dedication. I think they are the foundations of any great mother, it's just born in.

"She punishes herself for going to work because she doesn't want to leave them, I take my hat off to all women out there."

LISTEN: Inside King Charles' private lunch with Princess Kate

Mike and Zara's children

Mike also revealed that his daughters have certainly inherited his sporty side and even attend rugby sessions every week. 

"Both Mia and Lena go to Minchinhampton Rugby Club on a Sunday and they are only nine and four so we've got to give them a bit of time before the pressure comes on, but they love all sports and they play rugby as well."


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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