How Prince William and Mike Tindall became friends

Most people greet their cousin’s spouse with a polite handshake at the occasional family reunion.

But that wasn’t the case for Prince William, 39, who pulled Mike Tindall into a hug when they met at Houghton House Racecourse in Norfolk yesterday.

The Duke of Cambridge has a close friendship with the 43-year-old former England rugby star, who is married to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara, 41.

The couple have often been photographed sharing a joke at royal events – and when they met in public, they couldn’t resist hugging.

CLOSE: Prince William, 39, pulled Mike Tindall for a giant hug as they met at Houghtonhouse Racecourse in Norfolk yesterday

CLOSE: Prince William, 39, pulled Mike Tindall for a giant hug as they met at Houghtonhouse Racecourse in Norfolk yesterday

Sensitive: The Duke of Cambridge has a close friendship with the former England rugby star, 43, who is married to Princess Anne's daughter Zara, 41.Pictured at the Royal Turf Club in June 2019

Sensitive: The Duke of Cambridge has a close friendship with the former England rugby star, 43, who is married to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara, 41.Pictured at the Royal Turf Club in June 2019

Bring it in!Mike Tindall and Prince William hug during a charity polo match in 2017

Bring it in!Mike Tindall and Prince William hug during a charity polo match in 2017

On the surface, they don’t seem to have much in common.

William, heir to the throne and son of the Prince of Wales, was educated in Marlborough before completing his St Andrews degree.

He also prefers rugby, his brother Harry’s sport, to rugby.

Meanwhile, the banker’s son Tyndall attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and became a professional rugby player in Bath at 18.

Tyndall also had a harder life than his wife’s cousin. He has two drink-driving offences and was once kicked out of the England squad after a night of rave parties in New Zealand.

Even this comical whisper would be enough to cause serious trouble for a future king.

However, the couple are also hands-on dads and enjoy catching up at polo or games, and they often greet each other, as seen on camera yesterday.

Old friend: William raised his dog Lupo to say hello to Mike during an outing in 2012

Old friend: William raised his dog Lupo to say hello to Mike during an outing in 2012

Light-hearted: Zara and Mike are often seen joking with William and Kate, pictured above at the Queen's 90th birthday celebration in 2016

Light-hearted: Zara and Mike are often seen joking with William and Kate, pictured above at the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration in 2016

They’ve also been together with their wives for almost 20 years – Tyndall was 25 when he and Zara were introduced at the 2003 World Cup; William and Kate met in college – and have three children under eight each. , they get along very well.

At the heart of William and Mike’s friendship is William’s relationship with his cousin Zara.

He and Harry grew up in Gloucestershire, just a few miles from where Zara and her brother Peter Phillips grew up.

The four royal cousins ​​are often spotted chatting and joking at royal events, with William previously revealing it was “hard to keep a straight face” when sitting across from them in church.

Cousins ​​are especially closely connected for royals, who may struggle to get outsiders into their inner circle.

Such is the closeness between cousins, who are all part of a WhatsApp group where they exchange messages of upcoming events and family news.

just kidding!  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joke with Zara and Mike at the Royal Turf Club in 2017.William is said to appreciate Zara's more carefree lifestyle

just kidding! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joke with Zara and Mike at the Royal Turf Club in 2017.William is said to appreciate Zara’s more carefree lifestyle

Special bond: Prince William is close to Mike and Zara's children, Mia, 8, Lena, 3, and Louis, 1.Above, the Duke of Cambridge hugs Mia after playing polo in June 2017

Special bond: Prince William is close to Mike and Zara’s children, Mia, 8, Lena, 3, and Louis, 1.Above, the Duke of Cambridge hugs Mia after playing polo in June 2017

‘Me, my brother, and a few people around Zara, like her brother Pete [Phillips] And the cousins ​​are in the WhatsApp group,” Mike once revealed. “I wouldn’t say we’re cutting edge, but for some reason it’s easier on WhatsApp. ”

He added on another occasion: “It’s just what you do with trying and arranging a party, we’ll do the same.

‘If you’re going, [we discuss things like] “Are you taking kids?” Many people have family WhatsApp groups.

William and Mike have been photographed at several public events, and the former England rugby player has supported the royals at polo matches in the past.

They are also willing to spend time with each other’s children. Mike was pictured carrying Prince George, eight, on his shoulders, while William gave eight-year-old Mia a ride.

By their side: Prince William and Kate Middleton joke with Mike Tindall and Prince Harry at Easter Service in 2019.Cousins ​​to be reunited at Queen's Platinum Jubilee

By their side: Prince William and Kate Middleton joke with Mike Tindall and Prince Harry at Easter Service in 2019.Cousins ​​to be reunited at Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Tactile: Zara and Mike are often seen greeting William warmly, for example at the Royal Turf Club in 2019

Tactile: Zara and Mike are often seen greeting William warmly, for example at the Royal Turf Club in 2019

Zara and Mike also have three-year-old Lena and one-year-old Lucas, while William and Kate are parents to seven-year-old Charlotte and four-year-old Louis.

Mia and George seem to get along especially well and have been seen playing together at royal events. Miss Tyndall also tried to get the attention of George and Charlotte when the Cambridge children arrived at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Thanksgiving.

While Zara and Mike have been tight-lipped about Megxit, their performance with William yesterday showed they have been a pillar of support for him and Kate following the royal reshuffle.

Zara and Mike also supported the Duchess of Cambridge at a carol ceremony at Westminster Abbey in December.

A royal commentator noted that Zara had been William’s “pillar”.

Showing support: Zara and Mike Tindall at the Duchess of Cambridge Carols concert at Westminster Abbey in September.they sit next to sophie wessex

Showing support: Zara and Mike Tindall at the Duchess of Cambridge Carols concert at Westminster Abbey in September.they sit next to sophie wessex

Friends for life: Prince William and Zara Phillips head to a Christmas church service in Sandringham, 1988

Friends for life: Prince William and Zara Phillips head to a Christmas church service in Sandringham, 1988

Victoria Abbitt in Channel 5’s documentary Zara and Anne: Daughter Like a Mother.

‘That friendship is so real, there have been dozens of pictures of William and Zara together over the years, laughing and laughing.

“There was a time when Prince William had an umbrella over Zara and he was protecting her from the rain. I think he was very protective of her and she was just as protective of him.

She continued: “Especially with William, trust is everything, so when you have a cousin who understands what it means to be royalty, but they don’t have the same pressures associated with it, they can be a tower of strength and support.

“It was Zara’s loyalty and devotion to her family that made her an invaluable asset to cousins ​​who had to endure the negative effects of royal life.”

Zara and Mike have previously been close to Prince Harry, opening up the possibility of them serving as mediators when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive this week for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.