Mike Tindall's rumoured 'I'm A Celeb' appearance questioned by author: 'Imagine the hate if this was Meghan'

Mike Tindall at Royal Ascot, June 2022, and Meghan Markle during a tour of South Africa in 2019. (Getty Images)
Mike Tindall at Royal Ascot in June and Meghan Markle during a tour of South Africa in 2019. (Getty Images)

Mike Tindall is reported to be taking part in the new series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.

According to The Sun, Tindall will be appearing on the upcoming season of the hit ITV reality show.

Although unconfirmed – a spokesperson for the show has said the line-up will be revealed closer to transmission – if true, it would make Tindall the first royal to sign up for the long-running programme.

However, regardless of the truth behind the reports, the speculation has drawn a comparison with how Meghan Markle might be treated in a similar situation.

Author and social commentator Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said: "Imagine the hate-filled furore if this was Meghan – accusations of money-hungry, debasing [the] royal family and most vile depictions stirred with misogyny, sexism and unfiltered racism."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall attend day 2 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 28, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Mike and Zara Tindall watch some tennis at Wimbledon on 28 June. (Getty Images)

Due to air next month, I'm A Celebrity... participants take part in a variety of challenges in the Australian jungle, and are compensated for their appearance.

Mos-Shogbamimu asked: "If Mike Tindall earns from being 'a celebrity' are Brits going to demand tax-payers money back?"

Many Twitter users responded by stating that Tindall has never been a working royal.

And, writing in The Sun, Piers Morgan said: "There will be some who sneer today that Tindall shouldn’t be degrading himself by taking part in a TV reality show and comparing him to royal renegades Meghan and Harry, who quit Britain and royal duty to ruthlessly exploit their titles for massive commercial gain in America.

"But here's the difference: the Tindalls have never been working royals, had any royal titles, or received any public money. They are self-sufficient financially, trading off their mutual huge success in the sporting arena."

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 16:  Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall attend Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2022 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Tindalls attend Royal Ascot with Princess Anne on 16 June. (Getty Images)

What's going on?

Tindall has never received public funding or a royal title, nor does his wife Zara, who as Princess Anne's daughter and is 20th in line to the throne.

And while Tindall would be the first member of the extended Royal Family to appear on the show, he would by no means be the first to capitalise on their royal connections.

Peter Phillips, Zara's brother, took part in a Chinese milk advert in 2020, which caused controversy at the time. Its tagline was: 'British royal family member, Peter Phillips'.

While Phillips has never been a working royal and does not receive taxpayer funding, the advert was seen as profiting from his royal connections.

The incident raised questions about those non-working members of the family still financially profiting from being part of the extended House of Windsor, and the ethics surrounding that.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex and Peter Phillips arriving for Committal Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022 in Windsor, England. The committal service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, took place following the state funeral at Westminster Abbey. A private burial in The King George VI Memorial Chapel followed. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Owen Humphreys - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Peter Phillips took part in the procession behind the Queen's coffin alongside his cousins William and Harry in Windsor last month. (Getty Images)

When Meghan and Harry announced in early 2020 that they wanted to become "financially independent, while continuing to support Her Majesty the Queen," this was a major sticking point.

The Sussexes cited "precedent for this structure" that they were suggesting, which there is – sort of. Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, for instance, both have their own careers and sometimes act in an official capacity or appear at royal engagements.

However, the major difference again is that Harry and Meghan were up to early 2020 receiving money from the tax-payer funded Sovereign Grant, in their capacity as 'working royals'.

For royals like Zara, Peter, Beatrice and Eugenie, who are further down the line of succession, it is often harder to quantify the extent to which their personal financial success is based on their being part of the Royal Family.

TOPSHOT - (L-R) Peter Phillips, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall leave after attending the National Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen's reign at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London on June 3, 2022 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee celebrations. - Queen Elizabeth II kicked off the first of four days of celebrations marking her record-breaking 70 years on the throne, to cheering crowds of tens of thousands of people. But the 96-year-old sovereign's appearance at the Platinum Jubilee -- a milestone never previously reached by a British monarch -- took its toll, forcing her to pull out of a planned church service. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Peter Phillips, Meghan and Harry, and Zara and Mike Tindall chat after the National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee on 3 June. (Getty Images)

Lady Amelia Windsor – the 27-year-old who is 42nd in line to the throne – has worked widely as a fashion model and as a contributing fashion editor to Tatler magazine.

In the case of Peter Phillips' milk advert, the fact the opportunity was presented to him because of his royal lineage was made explicitly. With regards to Tindall's rumoured appearance on I'm A Celebrity..., it is a little less clear as he already had a public reputation as a rugby player before his marriage to Zara.

Whether or not Tindall is really going to appear on the show, it is indisputable that all members of the Royal Family – whether born or married in – will benefit from their connection to the throne: doors are opened and resources are available that many people will never enjoy.

This might be the case for all wealthy and connected families, but as a national symbol, the Windsors are arguably also responsible for publicly carrying the weight of the inequity a system based on inherited wealth creates and being held to higher standards of behaviour than most.