The first episode of 2022’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! aired on ITV on Sunday evening and Mike Tindall is already a favourite to emerge as the king of the jungle. The former rugby player was confirmed as one of the celebrities heading to Australia for the reality show in late October, and he is proving to be unflappable as the challenges get underway. Much like his wife Zara Tindall, the only daughter of Princess Anne, Mike does not have a royal title and doesn’t carry out official engagements on behalf of the Crown. His stint on the reality show may have come as a surprise to some, given the Royal Family’s tradition of keeping their private lives private, but royal commentators believe the sportsman will be “respectful” of his royal in-laws.
On last week’s episode of the Daily Mirror’s Pod Save The King, host Zoe Forsey and the publication’s royal editor, Russell Myers, discussed Mike entering the jungle.
Mr Myers said: “Mike Tindall has obviously been chosen because he’s a bit of a TV personality these days. And obviously with his royal connections, many will be wondering, will he spill any sort of family secrets?
“I think he is more adept at dealing with talking about the royals or the media in that way, but it will be very interesting. I’d always thought that whenever he does speak about his role within the confines of the Royal Family, he’s very respectful and you can tell that he appreciates the role that he has.”
He added: The family are fairly comfortable with Mike going on [the show]; he’s not going to betray them in any way, he’s not going to state secrets or delve into the family history that could embarrass them all…Mike is a safe pair of hands.
READ MORE: Zara Tindall tipped to fly to Australia to support husband Mike Tindall on I’m A Celeb
Mike hosts the podcast alongside fellow former rugby player James Haskell and sports broadcaster Alex Payne. The Good, The Bad & The Rugby returned with its third season last month and the cohosts launched their first episode with a special tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
He recalled first meeting the Queen in 1992 when he was a student at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School; the late monarch visited for the 400th anniversary of the school. He, of course, re-met her when he began dating Zara, her granddaughter, years later.
Mike said: “For anyone who ever meet the Queen, she was always the Queen. I have loads of regrets about not asking her so many more things, having nervousness when you get that lucky seat of being sat next to her.”
Alex asked: “What would you ask her now if you could?”
“Just going back through history and everything she’s possibly seen — 15 prime ministers, I don’t know how many presidents it is. But to go through everything, when she’s meeting dictators, she has to stay neutral, she has to perform her duty,” the royal replied.
He shared: “I was starting to get to that point” of comfort with the Queen, but admitted he never got there.
Mr Myers described this moment during last week’s episode of Pod Save The King, saying: “That moment where he was almost wistful, saying that he really wished he had asked her more questions and for advice, but he used to get nervous in her presence. I suppose that’s what we all feel, if you were ever in her presence, or you think about how you would react if you ever did come into contact with the Queen or any other senior royals — I imagine most people would be very nervous.
“And even though he’s — for quite a few years — gone to those sorts of occasions with the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, it gives a bit of an air of normality about him, that he is still quite nervous about that situation.”
With the former rugby star already a favourite to win, Mike is no doubt enjoying the experience, one he is now able to enjoy after turning it down on several occasions.
Speaking recently to ITV about joining the show, he confessed: “It is sinking in now that I am taking part. I am ready to rumble! I have been asked on numerous occasions to take part. The timing was right this year and Hask [James] did the show and he had been talking about it.
“I am eight years out of the game now so I am a bit more realistic about food, but I know James said the lack of food can sometimes be hard. But at least with the eating trials, you get food in you! It might not taste very nice but at least it is serving a purpose and giving you a protein intake.
“Bring on those challenges,” he added.
Watch I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! every night at 9pm on ITV or ITV Hub