Late last week, Mike Tindall flew to Australia to film a tacky reality show competition. He’s appearing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! The Sun has already called him “the first Royal to ever take part” in this kind of show. The amount of money keeps changing too – at one point, Tindall was reportedly being paid something like £250,000 or even £500,000. Now they’re saying it’s £150,000. But at least he’s not explicitly cashing in on his royal connections, right? Wrong. When he landed in Brisbane, he gave an interview to the Sun (which was probably a paid interview) and he answered questions about his wife, his wife’s royal cousins and more.
Mike Tindall has landed in Australia ready to become the first Royal to ever take part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! The former England rugby ace, 43, arrived at Brisbane airport on a red eye flight from London, and said he’d miss his royal family while in camp.Mike is married to the late Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, making him the long-running show’s first-ever Royal Family signing.
Wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, Mike told The Sun: “It’s probably one of the longest times we’ve been away completely with no communication. When you go away you still have communication, so that’s obviously going to be the hardest bit. You’ve just got to get your head around doing what you’re doing and try and win some stars and stuff and see where you go from there. I want to win stars because I want to eat! The hanger is always going to be the biggest thing you have got to worry about but I’ve also got three kids, so dealing with lack of sleep comes with the territory.”
And he shared that Australia held a special place in his heart. He said: “Australia is a special place yeah, I met Zara in Sydney. There is no holiday planned at the moment afterwards. ”
Asked how his royal wife felt about the show, Mike went on: “She is fine, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it would I? I was always on the fence but I do think it will be good fun at the end of the day. That is the other thing, I like groups of people and I like things that can be good fun so let’s see. I might regret it.”
His role on the show means that, if successful, Mike could be ‘King of the Jungle’ before King Charles’ coronation. But the dad-of-three laughed: “I’m not really thinking about that to be honest.”
He added that he had “no idea” if Princes William and Harry would be tuning in to watch him face Bushtucker Trials.
Tacky. And notice the lack of outrage about Mike literally giving paid interviews to tabloids about the royal family just before he gets paid to appear in a tacky reality competition. When I say “lack of outrage,” I mean from the media and the family. The only thing coming from the palace is some lukewarm annoyance that King Charles would not have approved, had he been asked:
Yet Tindall has a higher purpose: for taking part in the show, he’ll be paid a reported £150,000. Moreover, he’ll gain thousands of social media followers, plus a host of lucrative endorsement deals. Some have already been inked in. This week, as he prepared for I’m A Celebrity, Tindall starred in striking new advertisements for not one, but two major brands: Domino’s Pizza and Amazon Prime.
Neither Mike nor Zara are working royals. They do not have titles and receive no public money (though Zara benefited from a trust fund set up by the Queen Mother for her great-grandchildren), so on paper are free to make money however they choose. That said, there are obvious reasons why monetising royal connections is fraught with danger.
Indeed, while other non-working members of the Firm such as Sarah, Duchess of York have begrudgingly been allowed to earn a shilling via commercial endorsements, they are generally encouraged to do so overseas, and never to trade directly on their royal connections. This protocol explains the furious response two years ago to Zara’s brother Peter Phillips appearing in a Chinese TV advert for milk, in which he spoke about his upbringing at Windsor and was described in a caption as a ‘British Royal Family Member’.
Tindall is taking things a step further, which is causing some consternation in palace circles.
‘The King was not consulted about I’m A Celebrity, and certainly wouldn’t have approved,’ is how one royal source puts it. ‘As for these adverts, it’s pretty undignified. The Queen was Zara’s grandmother and the King is her uncle, and the timing is ugly, because it looks like being part of the funeral has raised their profile and helped drum up business. This stuff is absolutely not what the Palace wants, but these people seem determined to push and push in search of more money.’
LOL @ “these people.” You mean the king’s niece and her husband? “These people” who can’t be controlled with a meager royal allowance? Literally, the choice is between “fund every random royal cousin and ban them from commercial deals” OR “every royal-adjacent gets to do whatever they want as long as they don’t get public money.” It’s one or the other. The royal source isn’t wrong, of course – it IS legitimately tacky and the optics look horrible. But there’s literally nothing Charles can do about it. I also think it’s kind of funny that it feels like Zara and Mike were waiting until QEII passed away to really trade fully on their royal-adjacency.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Christopher Furlong / Avalon.