Mike Tindall addresses incorrect assumptions about marrying a royal: ‘You need a job’

Mike Tindall has candidly revealed why marrying a member of the royal family doesn’t erase all of the problems of everyday life.

In 2011, the former professional rugby player tied the knot with the late Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, Zara Tindall. He shared what married life looks like on the brand new ITV1 & ITVX documentary Grand Slammers. The documentary follows nine members of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning squad, including Mike, as they train a group of inmates at a men’s prison to compete against a team of Australian expat rugby players.

Tindall was honest about how his life changed after marrying Zara, who he shares children Mia, nine, Lena, five, and Lucas two, with. Zara’s mother, Princess Anne, made the decision not to give her and her brother, Peter Phillips, royal titles. But they were still raised in the royal spotlight and attended royal family events such as Trooping the Colour and Christmas at Sandringham, traditions that Zara and Peter have continued with their own respective spouses.

“Everyone thinks that just by marrying Zara that means it’s all fine and dandy… But that doesn’t stop the fact that you need a job. And it’s not that easy, you know — you get quite institutionalised into rugby, it’s a way of life and you leave the game and that’s not there,” Tindall said, according to Hello magazine.

“I don’t think you can ever sort of describe when you’re so used to being around that many people, and understanding, because of it being ingrained in you, where you fit in to then not being that person,” he continued. “Zara would say if she was honest it was probably a year it took me to figure out what I was, who I was going to be. You’ve got to then go carve where the next path is — you can never replace going to work with 35 of your best friends every day.”

The former rugby player ended up retiring from the game in 2014 after a 17-year career. He has since turned his talents to charity and media appearances that are often rugby-related. In addition, he launched the podcast The Good, The Bad & The Rugby with James Haskell and Alex Payne in 2020, and the trio recently took the show to Windsor Castle.

On 9 September, around the start of the Rugby World Cup, the group interviewed Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Princess Anne. With a large amount of his family present, Tindall used the opportunity to reveal a hidden aspect of the Duchess of Cambridge’s personality.

“I’m not going to say you’re uber competitive,”he said before pausing to give a nod indicating that she really was.

The Princess of Wales replied coyly: “I’m not competitive at all,” to which Tindall jokingly responded: “I’ve seen her play beer pong!”

Tindall is not the only member of the royal family to step back from the spotlight to pursue a different career. Princess Eugenie is a director at the art gallery Hauser & Wirth, and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, previously worked as a brand manager for George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila before transitioning to a new position partly based in Portugal. Princess Beatrice works as the Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti and her husband is a luxury property developer.