Omid Scobie was in rare form for his Yahoo UK column this week. Scobie’s focus is on Zara and Mike Tindall, the daughter and son-in-law of Princess Anne. Zara has never had a royal title, and both Zara and Mike have had successful sporting careers – Zara as an equestrian and Mike as a professional rugby player. But as we’ve seen time and again, Zara and Mike both profit from their royal-adjacency. Mike recently signed up for the new season of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, and the announcement was all about how he’s part of the royal family. Zara also continues to get “sponsorships” and paid gigs based off of her royal-adjacent status, like her new Musto modeling gig. This is what Scobie discusses in his column – where is the outrage for the Tindalls? As in, pretend the Sussexes were doing this and react accordingly. Some highlights from Scobie’s column:
The Tindalls are getting paid: The [Musto] campaign is part of an ongoing ambassadorship for the former Olympic equestrian Zara, rumoured to be worth £500,000 ($570,000 USD), and sits alongside some of the many big-money deals by the late Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter and her husband, Mike Tindall. Just a week earlier it had been revealed that Mike, who played for the England rugby team between 2001 and 2011, has accepted an offer from ITV’s reality show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.
Mike’s reality show gig: It’s a gig that can command up to £500,000 for big enough names, especially if the participating talent is able to guarantee network bosses the right headlines (which, in turn, result in higher ratings). During my years covering entertainment news, I remember how detailed the contracts were between contestants and production companies for shows like this, often specifically listing what revealing stories they would be able to deliver. I hear from sources that it’s been a similar scenario for Mike, who has allegedly agreed to not be tight-lipped about life inside the royal fold. It makes sense — that’s what many viewers will be tuning in for.
The royal reporters aren’t saying sh-t about the Tindalls: Cashing in on royal status is usually a trigger to dedicated royalists and media outlets, many of whom have spent the past two years complaining about the various business antics of a certain royal couple in California, so I find it peculiar that this recent news about the Tindalls’ various royal cash-ins come and go without even a sound from the most sensitive of columnists. In fact it’s been quite the opposite. A recent tabloid article went as far as celebrating the Tindall’s influencer status, tallying up over £1 million ($1.2 million) in brand deals, which include a CBD oil company and a controversial COVID-19 test results app. “They’re two of the most in-demand members of the Royal Family,” the article applauded. “…masters at signing lucrative deals.”
While Zara & Mike are legitimate sports stars, it’s still about royalty: It’s impossible to deny that the big bucks only come because of their positions as Royal Family members. A closer look at each partnership signed will show that press releases for most have made at least one royal reference and, if there isn’t, it always comes up in accompanying interviews. (It was no different when Princess Anne’s other child, Peter Philips, promoted Bright Dairies milk in China for a 2020 campaign set against palace-like visuals. He may be an accomplished businessman, but only a fool would believe the company chose him as a spokesperson because of his boardroom successes).
Scobie with some tea: Two years ago it was revealed that a Hong Kong business man had been paying Zara £100,000 ($115,000) for horse-racing advice, and the same individual had also given £300,000 ($340,000) to Sarah, Duchess of York for “marketing and promotion” activities and later attended Princess Eugenie’s wedding. You start to question whether these exchanges are just about brands or individuals trying to position themselves closer to the Royal Family. A golden ticket, if you will.
Curiously selective: The rules around sponsorships for non-working Royal Family members are equal parts confusing and selective. For the Sussexes, who are no longer in working roles or using their HRH titles, every penny received or contract signed has been heavily scrutinised by the British media. Even when the couple used their own money to become investors in a fintech asset manager, it didn’t take long for the criticism to pour in about who else might have been on the board or what companies the firm had ties with.
Protocol police: A hypocritical world in which royal protocol is rarely a real thing and usually a fictional vehicle used by tabloids to pin negative narratives on whoever it is they need hate-clicks from at the time. (Even at the Queen’s state funeral, the Sussexes were publicly lambasted for holding hands but the Tindalls, who did exactly the same, were hailed as respectful). I’m just curious how the protocol police are going to find a way to still find it respectable when the late Queen’s grandson-in-law spends three-weeks on a tawdry reality series. If the wrong colour nail polish was once able to see the resurgence of the Salem Witch Trials, surely eating raw kangaroo anus to entertain TV viewers for a cheque should result in an all out media meltdown. Right?
Yes, yes and yes. I find it interesting that Scobie spoke to someone at I’m a Celebrity and Mike is apparently geared up to talk about the Windsors on-camera. So… he’s being paid to talk about the Windsors and there’s literally no backlash or commentary from the British media whatsoever? It’s not just the hypocrisy, it’s the invisible contract hard at work – the reason why the British media isn’t mad about the Tindalls is because the Windsors aren’t mad at the Tindalls. The Windsors know that, ultimately, Mike and Zara are “on the inside” and that they can fundamentally be controlled and even tasked with doing some dirty work. Harry and Meghan are not seen by the media or the Windsors as fundamentally working in the interest of the Windsors.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.