Mike Tindall: What does it mean to be a ‘working royal’?

As Mike Tindall ‘breaches royal protocol’ by discussing politics on ‘I’m a Celeb’, his friend has defended him by saying he’s not a ‘working royal’

Laura Hampson
Wednesday 16 November 2022 12:01 GMT
GMB guest says Mike Tindall's I'm a Celeb revelations are ‘diminishing the royal family'

Mike Tindall’s stint on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Uut of Here! was always going to be a bit controversial (well, at least until Matt Hancock joined the cast that is).

The former England rugby player is considered to be a member of the British royal family, having married the Queen’s granddaughter and the Princess Royal’s daughter, Zara Tindall (nee Phillips) in 2011.

Yet, on Tuesday night’s (15 November) episode of the reality show, Mike weighed in on an issue that royals are supposed to keep silent on: politics.

In the episode, Mike is shown saying: “I just think all politicians are f***ers. I mean, for them to even have the conversation just because they’re all Boris fans that didn’t like how Boris was ousted that you won’t pick the best person for the job, that sums politicians up.”

The comment has caused backlash from royal experts who have said it was not Mike’s place to comment on politics.

On Wednesday morning’s (16 November) episode of Good Morning Britain, former BBC royal correspondent Michael Cole said: “He made a very pointed political remark. That’s royal commentary isn’t it. The royal family and politics do not mix.”

Mike’s friend, fellow former England rugby player and co-host on The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast James Haskell defended Mike, saying: “I think actually, it’s not King Charles talking about it, it’s not Prince William talking about it, it’s not those people making those statements. It’s someone who is so far removed making a comment.”

Haskell later added when asked if Mike got permission to go on the show: “I think he had to get all sorts of permission to do this, but he’s not a serving, he’s not a working royal. Zara’s not a working royal.”

What is a working royal?

Despite Mike being a member of the royal family by marriage, and Zara by blood, neither are working royals like the Prince and Princess of Wales, or the Earl and Countess of Wessex are.

Kate and William are working royals
Kate and William are working royals (PA Wire)

According to the royal family website, working members of the royal family “continue to support The King in his many State and national duties, as they did for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for many years. They also carry out important work in the areas of public and charitable service in their own right.”

It adds that working royal family members carry out over 2,000 official engagements in the UK and overseas each year, “from visits to community initiatives, to welcoming visiting Heads of State, meeting guests at official Garden Parties and presenting members of the public with their honours at Investiture ceremonies”.

Who are the current working royals?

There are just nine working royals at present, these are:

  • King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort
  • Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Prince and Princess of Wales
  • Anne, the Princess Royal
  • Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

Before Prince Andrew was stripped of his HRH title and military honours after he faced a sexual assault case earlier in 2022 (an allegation which he has continuously denied), he was asked to step down from being a working royal.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also stepped down from being working royals after they decided to leave the royal family and move to America in 2020.

Mike and Zara Tindall attend Ascot 2022
Mike and Zara Tindall attend Ascot 2022 (Getty)

Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princes Eugenie, are patrons of charities and carry out events on the monarch’s behalf, but they are not working royals.

As Zara Tindall is 20th in line to the throne, she and husband Mike are not working royals but will attend royal events such as the Trooping the Colour and Christmas at Sandringham.

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