Inside Mike Tindall's Relationship With Prince William's Kids

It's easy to think of the British royal family as an institution above all else. After all, its members are famous for prioritizing image and duty over family ties. King Charles III and Prince Harry have had a years-long feud, for example, ultimately breaking off all contact due to Harry's lack of commitment to the crown. Elsewhere, rumor has it that Queen Camilla has spread negative stories about Prince William in a desperate attempt to improve her own dodgy reputation. While these stories are certainly compelling, it is important to remember that the Windsors are a family. 

And, much like any other family, certain members are closer than others. Interestingly, one of the strongest relationships in the royal fold reportedly exists between William and Mike Tindall. As the husband of Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Tindall, the rugby star plays a fairly minor role in terms of duties. However, when it comes to his dedication to William's children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, Mike appears to be the hands-down choice for uncle of the year.

Mike Tindall is affectionate with Prince William's kids

Mike Tindall is a very physical person. As a professional rugby player, he's known for his ability to bulldoze other players on the field. However, when it comes to doting on Prince William's three children, Mike is a gentle giant. This dynamic was made especially clear during the 2023 Christmas holidays. Following a service at St. Mary Magdalene, Mike gave Prince George a sweet side hug and planted a kiss on the little boy's forehead. This demonstration of love and care reveals how much the rugby star adores his eldest nephew. 

As body language expert Darren Stanton explained to Hello! magazine, "It's in Mike's nature to be hands-on and while it's clear from George's reaction here that he's trying to play it cool, you can see he and his 'uncle' have a very fun dynamic between them." Clearly, the Prince and Princess of Wales trust Mike to be a warm presence in their children's lives.

He's not afraid to give them tough love

Mike Tindall is a very doting presence but that doesn't mean that he's afraid to instill Princess Catherine and Prince William's children with some discipline when necessary. Prince Louis absolutely stole the show at the start of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations with his cheeky behavior and, at the pageant, Mike was famously photographed making the "I'm watching you" sign at the mini royal. On an episode of "The Good, The Bad & The Rugby" podcast, the pro athlete looked back at the viral moment with plenty of humor — in keeping with the public's perception of it.

Although Mike couldn't recall exactly what Louis did to merit that gesture, the rugby star had some idea of what caused the young prince to act out. "There were a lot of sweets out back though, so there was a real sugar high," Mike laughed. Overall, though, he confirmed that Louis was a well-behaved little royal, gushing, "He's such a good character he is, Louis [...] He was just wanting to have fun."

The rugby player accompanies the family on outings

Perhaps because Mike Tindall gets along so well with Prince William and Kate Middleton's children, he often accompanies them on family outings. Naturally, this includes the famous Christmas holiday at Sandringham, which were among Her Majesty's most beloved traditions. However, Mike's relationship with the Wales clan also goes well beyond the usual familial engagements. He and his wife, Zara Tindall, have been known to join William and Catherine on other outings.

One of the most adorable instances of this occurred in April 2019 when the two families attended a horse show together. Ever the physically affectionate uncle, Mike carried Prince George on his shoulders in paparazzi shots from the day. William, of course, was happy to return the favor by carrying Mike's daughter, Mia Tindall, on his own shoulders. 

This episode not only showed just how much the Waleses and Tindalls enjoy each other's company but also reaffirmed the level of trust that exists between them. Here, Mike demonstrated his confidence in William's ability to care for his daughter, much in the same way that the Prince of Wales revealed his belief that Mike could care for his eldest son.

Tindall understands Louis, George, and Charlotte's age range

Mike Tindall and Prince William have a brotherly bond, but he and Kate Middleton arguably trust the rugby player with their three children because of Mike's demonstrably strong relationship with his own brood. After all, Mike and Zara Tindall have three kids who are very close in age to Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. The couple's eldest daughter, Mia Grace Tindall, was born just six months after George while they welcomed their second daughter, Lena Elizabeth Tindall, just a few weeks after Louis. 

Because of these similarities, Mike has a good understanding of where William's children stand, developmentally speaking. His personal experiences at home give the rugby star a unique insight into when the three young princes need affection and when they require a bit of discipline. On the whole, this allows Mike to empathize with George, Charlotte, and Louis. 

As he explained on "The Good, The Bad & The Rugby," the rugby pro feels for the young royals — especially when they have to sit through lengthy, dull official events. Mike acknowledged, "It's tough for them. They're all young. It's a long time." The podcaster shared how his daughters helped him understand how challenging these events can be, admitting, "My two [Mia and Lena] are always mischievous, so it's trying to keep a lid on."

He wants his children to play with their royal second cousins

Mike Tindall understands that kids need playmates. However, children as highly ranked as the Prince and Princess of Wales' kids must follow all kinds of insane rules. Because of their unique position, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis don't have the freedom to show up at any old public playground and start making friends. Perhaps this is why Mike has long harbored high hopes for his children's ability to get along with William's kids. As the rugby pro told Hello! magazine, in 2015, "They're all quite close in age and hopefully they'll grow up as good friends." 

His hopes are already coming to fruition. At the 2023 royal Christmas service in Sandringham, Charlotte and Mia were spotted giggling together outside the church. The podcaster also confirmed the strength of the children's growing relationship in a 2021 interview with Hello!, proudly telling the outlet, of the Waleses, "Our family growth has been quite intertwined with theirs. Our kids are very, very close, which is great for the kids that they're always going to have some cousins, and those cousins are going to be the same age and can grow up with them."

Mike might be the uncle Louis, George, and Charlotte are missing

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down from their positions and moved to the United States, they left a gaping hole in the royal family. As a result, other members have had to step in and make up for their absence. Following the Sussexes' departure from the royal fold, Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh increased their public roles and took on new duties. Lady Louise Windsor has also attracted more media attention. Meanwhile, Mike Tindall has seemingly stepped in as the uncle that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis haven't had with Harry across the ocean. 

Since his move stateside, the Duke of Sussex has had minimal contact with his nieces and nephews. This situation has left George, Charlotte, and Louis without an uncle to confide in. It has also left Prince William without a brother to laugh with. Writing in The Telegraph, royal commentator Rosa Silverman claimed that Mike "has, to some extent, come to fill the void." In her view, the rugby star has taken on the role of the "jolly uncle at a family do." He has even given William a hilarious nickname. Indeed, from what we can see, Mike is just the person the Waleses need to bring some fun into the royal fold.