Mike Tindall and wife Zara Phillips: How did they meet and when did they get married?

We're fans of this royal romance.

a close up of Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips in the crowd at Wimbledon 2022
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

As the sportsman gets set to take on a bushtucker trial or two down under, we share how Mike Tindall met his wife Zara and how their romance has grown from there.

He's been confirmed as heading into the jungle as part of this year's I'm a Celebrity lineup, making Mike Tindall a current hot talking topic. He most recently broke silence on getting royal permission to star on the show and viewers are certainly excited at the prospect of the royal spouse dishing details on the most famous British family during his jungle stint - be that family life with Zara Tindall and their children or other royal members.

Mike's already shared that he'll "miss his family" whilst away in Australia - which funnily enough holds a special place in his heart. He's already given campmates a teaser of how he and Zara bonded over "getting smashed" on their first date. We've shared all there is to know about his marriage to Zara Phillips, from how they met to when they wed and where they live now.

How did Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips meet?

Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips met in Australia at a bar in Sydney's Manly Wharf. The two were with friends watching the 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-final and were introduced to each other.

Zara was travelling around Oz, whilst Mike had travelled to Sydney as part of the England Rugby team to compete in the World Cup. The rugby player happened to be in the bar at the time, having been dropped from the squad alongside a few other players.

Mike Tindall with wife Zara Phillips posing for the cameras in 2005

(Image credit: Getty)

"She was on her gap year and in Australia with friends. Clive (Woodward, the coach) had just told me I was dropped for the semi-final, so I went out for a beer with two others who weren't playing, Martin Corry and Austin Healey," Tindall said in an 2011 interview with the Daily Mail.

"Zara was in the same bar; we got introduced but didn't speak that much. Later on, Austin gave me her number and said, 'She wants you to text her, to say where you're all going out after the final so she can come along.'"

Low and behold, Tindall texted Zara when back in the UK and as Zara put it to Australian TV show 60 Minutes: "It kind of went from there". Tindall was invited to the North Cotswold Ball by Zara shortly upon his return in December 2003 - put on annually by the North Cotswold Hunt

Some months later the couple became official in April 2004. "I think it was April 27 - that would be the official date we said we were going to go out with each other," Mike told the Daily Mail.

Zara later told the Telegraph in 2013 how the relationship began as a friendship and developed from there. 

"He met me just after I'd found out my horse had injured himself, so I was quite low and vulnerable... He understands the pressures, and vice versa, which obviously helps, but it actually started from becoming very good friends," she told the publication. 

This is something Mike echoed in his interview: "We became mates really. Eventually it was one of those things where you realise you're spending all your time with someone, and it went to the next level."

When did Mike Tindall propose to Zara Phillips?

Mike Tindall and Zara's engagement was announced in December 2010. Mike got down on one knee, shortly after they had moved in together. The proposal was a low-key affair at their Cheltenham home with just the two of them present.

"I was upstairs, plucking up the nerve to do it, while Zara was downstairs watching television. It was all about shock value - I wanted to catch her when it was quiet and she wasn't expecting anything," he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

"I walked in there and got down on one knee, with the ring. She was on the sofa, so that made it easier. I said, 'Will you marry me?'"

Zara's reaction was certainly an off the cuff one. He adds: "She started laughing. She was completely in shock. Then, when she stopped laughing, she said, 'Yes.' That was a relief."

Zara Phillip's engagement ring

(Image credit: Getty)

An official statement was then shared by Buckingham Palace, making the engagement public. "The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter Zara Phillips to Mr. Mike Tindall, son of Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Linda Tindall," it read.

Mike had confessed that he had "had been thinking about it for ages" and was prompted to act after both Prince William and Mike's brother got engaged.  "I thought I'd better get on with it," he said.

When did Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips get married?

Mike Tindall and Zara Philips wed on July 30, 2011 at Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk. The nuptials took place just three months after Prince William and Kate Middleton got married.

Zara was escorted down the aisle by her father Captain Mark Phillips. Whilst her mother Princess Anne loaned Zara the Greek 'Meander' tiara - given to Queen Elizabeth I by Philip's mother Alice, who then passed it onto her daughter Anne. The tiara complemented Zara's stunning Stewart Parvin ivory silk wedding dress and veil.

Mike Tindall and Zara as bride and groom at their 2011 wedding

(Image credit: Getty)

Meanwhile Tindall was supported by his best man Iain Balshaw - a former Gloucester and England team-mate of the groom. Mike's fellow rugby friends Jonny Wilkinson, Ben Foden and Martin Johnson were also guests on the day.

During the service Zara Miss rejected traditional wedding vows, promising to "honour" and not "obey" her groom. She also chose to keep her maiden name of Phillips after the marriage.

Was The Queen at Zara Tindall's wedding?

Yes, the late Queen Elizabeth I and her husband Prince Philip both attended their granddaughter's wedding to Mike Tindell. They stayed at their nearby Balmoral residence before making the journey to Canongate Kirk.

It was the Queen herself who gave her consent for Zara to wed Mike as required until the now-defunct Royal Marriages Act 1772. Her late Majesty gave her official approval in May 2011 to the Privy Council.

In a touching nod on the day itself, the Queen also wore an outfit by Stewart Palvin - Zara's wedding dress designer. She delighted in an apricot wool coat and matching silk patterned dress, accessorised with a matching straw hat made by royal milliner Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

Fellow members of the Royal firm were also guests at Mike Tindall and Zara Phillip's wedding. The guest list included King Charles III, Queen consort Camilla, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, plus Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

The Queen at Mike Tindall and Zara's wedding

(Image credit: Getty)

Why did Mike and Zara marry in Scotland?

Mike and Zara chose to marry in Edinburgh due to Zara's long-held and deep connections with Scotland. She attended the Gordounstoun School in Morayshire and also spent many holidays at Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish estate.

In fact the Gordounstoun choir actually perform during the marital service, singing Amazing Grace and two other psalms.

Mike touched upon the decision to have their wedding in Scotland during a Daily Mail interview. "When Zara was a kid at Gordonstoun School her mother would be staying down at Holyrood Palace (where they'll have their reception), so that's why she thought of it."

He added: "We went to have a look at the church, Canongate Kirk, bumped into someone on the street and the next thing we knew it was on Twitter. You can't keep anything quiet these days."

Are Mike and Zara still together?

Yes Mike and Zara are still very much together and celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary in June of this year. Upon entering the I'm a Celebrity jungle, Mike shared that "First and foremost, I will miss my family."

In an interview with The Sun, he revealed: "It’s probably one of the longest times we’ve been away completely with no communication. When you go away you still have communication, so that’s obviously going to be the hardest bit." Nevertheless, he added that "Australia is a special place” for him - owing to it being where Mike met Zara several decades ago.

Body language expert Darren Stanton claims the couple are still very much in their own little "love bubble", following analysis from recent public appearances. 

"For example, from their recent outing at Wimbledon there’s a great shot of Zara watching the tennis as Mike brings his face right into hers, either whispering something or joking around," he tells Gloucestershire Live

"It’s clear they are a couple who like having fun together too, and those elements of humour have always been seen throughout the relationship. At times, the two appear to be in their own bubble and have no issues with public displays of affection."

Where do the Tindalls live?

Zara and Mike Tindall live in a property on the Gatcombe Park estate, Gloucestershire, owned by Princess Anne. They live there with their three children - daughters Mia, 8, and Lena, 4 - plus 1-year-old son Lucas. They count Zara's mum Princess Anne and her second husband Timothy Laurence as close neighbours.

The two left their Cheltenham house behind in 2013 and moved into Gatcombe shortly after the arrival of their first child. 

According to the Express, the 700-acre estate was originally bought for around £750,000. It seems the location is perfect for the family-of-five, with Zara able to ride and keep many of her horses in stables there. Meanwhile their home has a home gym that Mike credited as helping him to participate in the 2.6 Challenge in April 2021.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.