Inside the Life of Zara and Mike Tindall — the Royals Next Door
Zara and Mike Tindall
When Prince William lifted his goddaughter Mia Tindall onto his shoulders while his royal cousin Zara strolled beside him (when her husband Mike was holding little Prince George), it was easy to see the closeness between the young families when they went up one day English enjoyed scenery.
The special relationship between Zara (Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter) and William goes back decades. During his childhood, "the prince liked the controlled chaos" of Zara's country house Gatcombe Park as opposed to the more formal palaces, "former royal bodyguard Ken Wharfe told PEOPLE in this week's issue." Zara's home was a well-populated place. "
Today, 39-year-old Zara and her nine-year-old husband Mike, 42, are pulling their two girls, Mia, 6, and Lena, 2, out of the spotlight in a farmhouse near the large childhood home where they grew up.
Zara (who is not a princess thanks to her mother Princess Anne's decision that she should be title-free) and Mike can join Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family - during COVID-free times - on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. But they're more likely to be in muddy breeches (hers) and send golf pants (him) at home, running errands for parents like taking the oldest daughter Mia to school or going to the local Waitrose supermarket.
Zara and Mike Tindall with their daughters
They have made their own way and flourished separately in the real world of professional sports. Zara was an equestrian Olympiad in 2012 (like her mother Anne) and Mike became world champion in England in 2003 in his rugby sport.
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"You only get that answer [from a horse] if you're one with it," a source who watched Zara ride for decades told PEOPLE.
Zara and Mike Tindall
And Mike "was at the top of one of the most exciting games in the world," said Will Cook, CEO of Cure Parkinson, a charity that supported Tindall after his father's battle with the disease. "That brings trust. People respect that."
The couple are "just plain friendly and approachable," adds Matt Hampson, whose Foundation for Young People Injured in Sports is supported by Mike. "They don't want a lot of things that come with their position."
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