Inside Mike Tindall's special relationship with Princess Anne & what Royal family secretly thought when he married Zara | The Sun

MIKE Tindall has been an instant hit with the fans during his time in the jungle – but his popularity doesn't stop there.

Ever since he married the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips back in 2011, Mike is said to have shared a special bond with his regal in-laws.

Since he became the first royal to join I'm a Celeb, the former-rugby star has regaled fans with behind-the-scenes tales of his royal lifestyle.

Mike has been a popular fixture in the royal set-up for over a decade, but their relationship was not often spoke about in public.

However, he has previously revealed how he received a warm welcome from his new in-laws after tying the knot with Zara.

He told The Telegraph: "I can only say how kind they've been to me, and how welcoming they've been to me since joining the family. And how they've made my family welcome.

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"I've always felt part of it and I think that's down to what an amazing woman the Queen is. They're a fantastic family."

The I'm a Celeb fan-favourite's close connection to the royals particularly extends to his mother-in-law Princess Anne, who shares his passion for rugby.

Although Anne is an ardent supporter of the Scottish national team while Mike starred as a World Cup winner with England, they are said to have bonded over their love of sport.

He also left viewers in stitches when he revealed that his trousers tore apart on the dance floor in front of Princess Anne – revealing his pants.

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He told his campmates: "I ripped my trousers, straight in front of her. It happened to be that my boxers that I had on at that time said ‘nibble my nuts’.

"As I’ve turned round, she’s gone: ‘I’d rather not.’"

While Mike's appearance on the show broke with expected norms for members of the royal family, a royal expert has revealed that Anne will be closely following his antics in the jungle.

Royal correspondent Jennie Bond told OK! Magazine: "Princess Anne has more of a sense of humour than we recognise.

"She can be very stern, but she’s actually one of the most natural people within the family unit.

“She will laugh, she will joke and I think she'd probably find his antics in the jungle quite funny. I don’t think she will be offended in the least about the underpants story."

Mike also dished the dirt on him and Zara's "boozy" first date for the other campmates.

He told them: "We figured out that we both quite like getting smashed. It was a good start.” 

But his cousin-in-law, Prince William, raised eyebrows this week by refusing to back Mike to be crowned King of the Jungle.

The Prince of Wales was quizzed about the rugby star during a visit to Lincolnshire.

Corporal Rachael Howes asked William who he wanted to win I'm A Celebrity when she met him on a visit to RAF Coningsby.

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She said: "I asked him who he wanted to win, Lioness Jill Scott or his relative Mike Tindall."

Rachael explained that the Prince of Wales, 40, smiled and replied simply: "That's a tricky one."

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