HE'S already royalty, but Mike Tindall could become king of the jungle after signing up to star in I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

The former England rugby ace is set to become the first royal on prime time TV when he appears on the ITV reality show, hosted by Ant and Dec.

Mike, 43, married the late Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, 41, in 2011 and alongside their three kids Mia, eight, Lena, four, and Lucas, one, are known for being the most relatable members of the royal family.

The sportsman comes from humble beginnings, with one of his early jobs serving fish and chips from a van. Here we take a look at his incredible journey to sporting legend and a popular member of the Firm.

Born in Otley, Leeds, in October 1978, Mike had a modest upbringing compared to his royal relatives.

His mum Linda was a social worker and a descendant of bootmakers, stone masons and weavers, while his dad Philip was a banker, and he attended the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield.


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It was there his love of rugby was nurtured, playing for his school team from the age of seven until he was 18, when he turned professional.

Mike's famously injury prone, reportedly breaking his nose at least eight times.

In one particularly harrowing incident he broke two of his ribs, punctured his ling and lacerated his liver, ending up in intensive care.

It's a trait that appears to stem from childhood; in 2006 he revealed his earliest memory is "falling off the neck of a dinosaur at a Happy Eater near Selby and knocking myself out".

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Chip off the old block

Not many royals worked a part-time job in their teens (bar Lady Louise Windsor).

But Mike served fish and chips from a van while studying at the age of 18.

He didn't exactly love it, describing the experience in an interview as the worst job he ever had.

Mike said: "No real disasters, just a lot of rowdy northerners complaining about the size of the fish. I was paid according to how many fish we sold."

World cup winner

Unlike his cousins-in-law Princes William and Harry, Mike doesn't possess a royal title, but he has other impressive accolades to his name.

He was a member of the English rugby team when they won the World Cup in 2003, and won 75 international caps and scored 14 tries during his staggering 17 year career.

He retired in 2014 and was awarded an MBE in 2007 for his services to sport.

At royal events he wears his MBE medal alongside two others – one given to him to mark the Platinum Jubilee and another that commemorated the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

No 'heirs' or graces

Mike and Zara met in a bar in Sydney, Australia in 2003 – the night England beat Australia and won the rugby World Cup.

He's always been open about their love story – calling Zara the "love of his life" – previously said of his royal partner: "I'd love Zara if she worked behind a check-out at Tesco. She just happens to be Princess Anne's daughter."

Arguably one of the most popular royals, Mike has been described as the 'cool uncle' and is reportedly Prince George's "favourite".

During the recent Jubilee celebrations he was spotted giving Louis the 'I've got my eye on you' sign, much to Princess Kate's amusement.

He later revealed the kids were on a "sugar high", telling his rugby podcast The Good, The Bad and the Rugby: "There were a lot of sweets out back."

I'd love Zara if she worked behind a check-out at Tesco. She just happens to be Princess Anne's daughter

It might be down to his no airs and graces approach, treating everyone the same, regardless of hierarchy, and is said to be particularly close to William and Harry.

Speaking about when he learned Harry and Meghan were to marry, he said: "I did text Prince Harry and said, 'I've written my speech, I'm ready'."

"And he said, 'Sorry mate that job's full but I do need someone to show people where to park their cars'."

He also once revealed they have a family a group chat: "Me, my brother and then a few of Zara's side like her brother Pete and the cousins are on WhatsApp groups.

"I wouldn't say we're cutting edge, but it's just easier for some reason on WhatsApp."

Family man Mike is also a staunch campaigner for Parkinson's disease awareness – a disease his dad Philip has been living with for 20 years.

Royal yet relatable

Despite his incredible journey to royal life, Mike's relaxed attitude remains steadfast.

Like most men during lockdown, Mike grew a bushy beard, and got into cycling – raising money for charity in the process.

He also celebrated cancelled events like the horse racing – one of his and Zara's favourite pastimes – from home, even larking about in her hats.

Proving they're just like anyone else, Mike and his wife – who he calls 'Zed' – have never shied away from a PDA and still happily show their love for each other.

They're also regularly spotted on family days out, playing rough and tumble with their young kids.

The couple are raising their young family in Gloucestershire's royal estate Gatcombe Park, with his mother-in-law Princess Anne on close hand for babysitting duties when they enjoy date nights in the local pub.

Mike is also active on Instagram, often sharing golf-related posts and poking fun at his sportsman pals.

He endeared himself to parents everywhere in June 2020 when the kids finally went back to school after they closed due to Covid.

He shared a gif from the 1994 film Forrest Gump showing the lead character running away at high speed, captioned: "Me after school drop off this morning!"

He also recently shared a clip of him quizzing pal James Haskell, who welcomed his first child with wife Chloe Madeley in the summer, on his 'dad jokes'.


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Royal expert Ingrid Seward previously revealed the Queen liked to be around the Tindalls as she preferred "ordinary people like Mike more than she does those that pander to her".

Whether he proves this popular with ITV viewers remains to be seen…

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