Did Princess Anne's son-in-law break royal protocol with his reality TV appearance?

Did Princess Anne’s son-in-law break royal protocol with his reality TV appearance?

The worlds of reality and royalty collided in spectacular style as a member of the royal family appeared on British reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ Mike Tindall, the husband of Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Phillips, is a successful rugby player in his own right who played for England.

He also hosts the podcast “The Good, The Bad & The Rugby”. Mike is no stranger to reality TV, having appeared in The Jump, in which celebrities try to master various winter sports, and Bear Grylls: Mission Survive, in which celebrities take part in a 12-day survival mission.

But on “I’m A Celeb…”, Mike absolutely doesn’t hold back in his words and actions — and earns big while doing so — with his £150,000 (Cdn$237,102) fee. He is making history as the first member of the royal family to enter the Australian jungle, but is his appearance, in the words of former BBC correspondent Michael Cole, “demeaning and diminishing the royal family?”

It’s clear that Mike’s appearance on the show is making waves. Britain’s Scottish Daily Express reported that he discussed taking part in the show with his family beforehand and got their approval, with his wife Zara supporting him every step of the way. Proving to be a popular comrade, he bathed in a stream at the campsite in a very small bathing suit, prompting viewers to wonder if he was actually wearing Zara bikini bottoms. But it’s his slurs at roommates and comments about politicians that have really caused a stir.

First we saw his complaint about competition news presenter Charlene White and her decision not to sleep in a caravan with former health secretary Matt Hancock. He asked, He said, “Why isn’t he sleeping in the caravan? I’m fucking annoying.” Mike later explained to the Bush Telegraph: “If Charlene was going in the caravan, then there will be an extra bed.

One less in the hammock, then hopefully that will create more and a better night’s sleep for everyone.”

Viewers were shocked as some tweeted: “I think Mike is fed up with Charlene not sleeping in the caravan.” And another saying, “Mike fell out over Charlene.”

Then came Mike’s comments about politicians. He caused a stir after chatting to teammates about ousting former prime minister Boris Johnson. Speaking to comedian Seann Walsh from the camp, he said: “I just think all politicians are bitches. I mean they’re only having an interview because they’re all Boris fans who didn’t like how Boris was fired, that you don’t pick the best person for the job, that just sums up the politicians.” Many people said that Mike might be saying what we all think but the royal family should remain politically neutral.


Royal author Richard Fitzwilliams suggested that Tindall’s apparent breach of royal protocol was unwise. He told British news website MailOnline: “Mike Tindall has a laddish persona which usually works in his favour. However, he made extremely embarrassing remarks in the jungle about the time his pants ripped in front of Princess Anne. They will pursue him in other articles written about him and Zara, both of whom are very successful. The viewership of this reality show is huge, it won’t help his image.

He now makes ill-advised comments about politicians, knowing full well that the royal family must be above politics and avoid such comments. Whether or not the audience shortens his stay in the jungle, it seems that his brain has overheated in this unusual environment. It’s not protocol that he needs a lesson in, it’s common sense when he’s playing to the gallery on a very popular reality show and looking extremely stupid.”

Should Mike keep his mouth shut, continue tanning, and try to avoid those Bushtucker trials, which might involve eating kangaroo body parts to get food for the camp? If he did, it would defeat the purpose of him being in the jungle in the first place. Producers signed him up with the hope that he would spill some royal beans and show a more human side to the most talked about and famous family in the world. Remember, he’s also not a working king, so there are fewer restrictions on what he can do.

Zara, the daughter of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips and niece of King Charles III, is 20th in line to the throne, so she probably won’t be king anytime soon. Princess Anne has always raised her three children, including Mike’s wife Zara, to be down-to-earth (well, as down-to-earth as you can be as a member of the royal family), and she and Mike have jobs and earn their own money. That certainly means he can do whatever he wants to make his own money – within reason.

Mike Tindall’s appearance on ‘I’m A Celeb…’ raises his own profile and shows viewers that there’s another side to the royals – albeit a bit of a curmudgeon. There is a view that it also shows viewers that although the royal family has to keep calm and carry on in public, in private they care about issues and are real people.

This could win them over to the public and improve their public persona, which is essential to their survival. Having Mike Tindall on I’m A Celeb… isn’t degrading and diminishing the Royal Family – in fact, he could be doing them a huge favour. The big question is, will he be crowned king of the jungle? We have to wait a few weeks for that…

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