He may not have won I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Outta Here! but Mike Tindall was a winner in the entertainment stakes

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Mike Tindall is the first royal to be a contestant on the popular UK reality show I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Outta Here. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images/Facebook_I'm A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here)
Mike Tindall is the first royal to be a contestant on the popular UK reality show I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Outta Here. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images/Facebook_I'm A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here)

He’s always been a lot to handle, has Mike Tindall – a one-of-the-boys kind of guy, a rough diamond, a dude who shoots from the hip and doesn’t mind baring a bit of hip either, for that matter.

The queen is said to have been fond of her grandson-in-law and it’s easy to imagine why. 

Her Majesty liked people who called a spade a spade and Mike has never been afraid of that. 

So it’s safe to assume the late queen had a good giggle from her grave after Mike, the 44-year-old husband of her granddaughter Zara, put on quite the display Down Under. 

Teeny Speedos, controversial camp-fire chats, saucy stories involving his mother-in-law – Mike provided them all.

And while he didn’t win the coveted crown - that honour went to Lioness and Euro 2022 winner Jill Scott - he did make it to the top four and will be remembered for his royally entertaining antics.

Bringing the magic 

(PHOTO: Facebook_I'm A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here
Mike got a reaction from viewers and fellow contestant Matt Hancock when he donned a Speedo in an episode of I’m a Celebrity. . . Get Me Out of Here! Matt Hancock, the former Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs(PHOTO: Facebook_I'm A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here)

He joined a group of 11 other celeb contestants who leave their plush pads behind for three weeks in the Australian “jungle” – which in this case was the Springbrook National Park, a 15 000-acre rainforest near Murwillumbah in New South Wales. 

READ MORE | SEE THE PICS: Zara and Mike Tindall's cute kids show why they're the most relatable royals

Contenders had to stave off hunger pangs and swat away insects as they fended for themselves in the wild outdoors. Each week the group was whittled down by public vote until only three were left and the trio were rewarded with a chef-prepared meal in the jungle. 

The following day the winner was announced on live TV and crowned with a large headdress made from jungle greenery. 

While he didn’t win Mike proved to be worth every penny of the £150 000 (around R3 million) he was paid to be on the show. 

He showed off his rapping skills and shrieked at a spider, but it was his penchant for stripping to his fruit-adorned, barely-there swimming broeks that really made headlines. 

Mike left little to the imagination when he squeezed into the tropical swimwear for a dip in the camp creek. “It’s freezing in there, but nothing stops Mike from turning up in his little budgie smugglers,” said England footballer Jill Scott. 

‘Mike has got a few different pairs [of Speedos] from what I can see and he’s getting more confident, showing them off daily’
- Jill Scott

“I want to know what Zara was thinking of that,” said host Ant McPartlin at the time. “That’s where my bikini bottoms went!” 

Mike had a choice story to tell his fellow contestants about how he bared his naughty underwear in front of his mother-in-law, Princess Anne, at his wife’s 30th birthday party. 

READ MORE | Queen’s grandson-in-law Mike Tindall reveals heartbreak at watching his dad’s battle with Parkinson’s

“It was a disco ’70s-themed one,” he told them. “I had like flares on, full outfit, but it was tight. Nothing ever fits rugby players’ bum and legs. 

‘I was dancing with my mother-in-law and I did a slut drop in front of her’
- Mike Tindall

“Ripped my trousers, right in front of her. It happened to be that my boxers that I had on at the time said, ‘Nibble my nuts’.” 

Princess Anne, however, isn’t one to be easily ruffled.

“As I turned away, she went, ‘I’d rather not’,” he recalled, much to the amusement of his campfire com­panions. 

The revelation happened while the group were discussing formal attire – and while Mike said he “loves a suit” his habit of “overexaggerated dancing” often results in him ripping his pants. 

“But I always bring a spare. I know the drill.” 

He also gave a glimpse of royal life when asked about Buckingham Palace and dress codes by fellow contestant Owen Warner.  

The Hollyoaks actor asked him what the palace was like, to which Mike replied, “A lot of it’s all the state rooms and there’s only a little bit of living. Yeah I’ve stayed there.”

Owen then asked if one could “go down in your joggers and T-shirt [in the mornings], or do you have to get dressed up again?” to which Mike said, “No, jeans and a tee.”

“I thought you had to be suited and booted!” quipped Owen, before adding, “Do you mind chatting about it?” to which Mike said, "No, I don’t mind.”

Get them outta there! 

(PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Mike with his wife, Zara Tindall, the late Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, and her mother, Princess Anne. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Mike may not be a dyed-in-the-wool royal, but he is a member of the famous family – and when you belong to The Firm, discussing politics and politicians is a big no-no. 

He, however, has always marched to the beat of his own drum and cameras captured every moment be damned – when he had something to say, he said it. 

Mike was catching some sun in his itty-bitties when talk turned to the ousting of British prime minister Boris Johnson. 

“I think all politicians are f*****s,” Mike declared. “I mean, for them to even have the conversation, just because they’re all Boris fans that didn’t like how Boris was ousted, that you won’t pick the best person for the job – that just sums poli­ticians up.” 

Meanwhile, back in Britain 

Not everyone saw the funny side of it all. Mike may well have breached protocol, royal author Richard Fitz­williams says, and his comments have made him look “extremely foolish” and “won’t help his image”. 

“Mike has a laddish persona, which usually works to his advantage,” he goes on. “However, in the jungle he made extremely embarrassing comments about the time his trousers got ripped in front of Princess Anne.

“Now he’s made all these ill-advised comments about politicians, when he knows perfectly well royals must be above politics and avoid such comments. 

‘It seems his brain had become overheated in this unusual environment’
- Richard Fitzwilliams

“The audience for this reality show is vast and this won’t have helped his image.” 

Brand expert Mike Ede, on the other hand, believes Mike’s jungle gig will stand him in good stead. 

“Whether he gets a prime role as a sports pundit or panellist or host of a show, who knows? But for Brand Tindall this is a great step and will increase his celebrity equity tenfold.” 

No nose out of joint 

(PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast host and his Olympic equestrian wife tied the knot in 2011 and have three children. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Mike was highly unlikely to be bothered by any criticism that came his way – just as Zara was unlikely to have gotten her knickers in a knot about her husband’s antics. 

The couple, parents to Mia (8), Lena (4) and Lucas (20 months), have a rock-solid relationship and she’s used to her husband’s outspokenness. 

Besides, when he left for the show his wife told him to “just be yourself”, Mike told his fellow contestants. 

READ MORE | Inside the life of the royals next door – the down-to-earth Tindalls

“She gets it and she supports it,” he said. “With both our careers, she goes away competing for weeks at a time [at equestrian events] and I always went on rugby tours for three, four weeks, so our relationship has always been built to deal with that. 

“We’re good at compartmentalising and finding ways to deal with it.” 

Zara was there to meet him on eviction night for an emotional reunion, and he later posted a sweet snap of the two of them enjoying some time together at a hotel.

He admitted his wife’s biggest worry was “how loud I breathe when I eat”. 

“She’d be very happy if someone comments about it – it’s a point she always brings up.” 

But there’s a reason for it. “When your nose has been mangled as much as mine, it’s just a by-product.” Sources: dailymail.co.uk, cosmopolitan.com, walesonline.com, Instagram, people.com, express.co.uk

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