HE may look like a hardened rugby player at first glance, but Mike Tindall has proven he’s a real softie at heart.
The nation saw his emotional side during his performance on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here,” where he narrowly missed out on a spot in the finals.
Mike, 44, also revealed he was a loving husband as he had an emotional reunion with his wife Zara Phillips, 41, after moving out of the jungle.
And on Sunday he was seen enjoying a day out with Zara and their three children: Mia, eight, Lena, four, and Lucas, one.
They were upbeat as they celebrated his success on the ITV show with a visit to Sea World on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Here, body language expert Judi James analyzes the snaps to decode the couple’s down-to-earth parenting style, which is a marked departure from standard royal protocol.
Judi says: “It was all about ‘guppy kisses’ and ‘koala cuddles’ when Alpha Pappa Mike came out of the jungle to reunite with Mia, Lena and Luca.
“We saw Mike using his amazing stuffed animals in the jungle
and his physical presence to keep the peace and help keep the group feeling safe and motivated.
“His techniques seem to be the ones he uses on a daily basis with Zara and the kids.”
Judi believes that as parents, their body language sends “strong signals of affection” to their children, which helps develop their “brave, adventurous and confident side.”
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She explains, “The ‘koala cuddle’ involves hugging each other while Mike carries his two smaller children while talking face-to-face.
“His ‘guppy kiss’ with Lena combines fun with affection and with Luca he gets a sweet hug around the neck.”
Parenting expert Gifty Enright believes the snaps reinforce the fact that he’s a great dad.
She said: “It also tells us a lot about him as a family man and father and how close and important his wife and children are to him.
“We saw him in the jungle as a reliable emotional rock and steady hand for his camp mates.
“These are the same qualities that make him a great father to his children, and he said himself he keeps his family close to the surface.
“It means they’re never far from him, and he also said the hardest thing for him is being apart from them for this time.”
‘dad in love’
Mike and Zara, the grandchild of the late Queen Elizabeth, became parents for the first time in 2014 with the arrival of their eldest Mia.
At the time, Mike couldn’t hide his excitement and said he was thrilled to be taking on his latest role as a father.
Although the excitement is still evident in the way he treats his children today, Judi still gives them the freedom to be themselves.
She says, “Mike looks like a doting father who gives his kids room to grow and adventure.
“There are also signals of equality in their family group, with Zara looking completely like-minded when it comes to giving the kids the freedom to have fun and even Mia taking on some of the big sister responsibilities, now she has a little brother who she can keep an eye on.”
When it comes to their body language when dealing with their children, Judi notes that the couple have a strikingly indistinguishable approach.
“There seems to be virtually no difference in their body language cues from their children, suggesting a form of solid agreement and like-minded thinking,” notes Judi
“They also rarely let each other out and share a like
Lots of hugs, kisses and eyeballs for each other like they do for their kids.”
While the royal family has a reputation for shirking public displays of affection, Mike and Zara seem incredibly comfortable showing their love for each other and their children.
Judi says: “Your PDAs are almost unique in the royal family and not just for the obvious reason that they have no royal titles to live up to.
“Mike and Zara’s beautifully tactile demeanor seems a natural part of their DNA, although Zara grew up in a family where a strictly non-tactile, PDA-free approach to public life has always been a tradition.
“Royal couples rarely if ever kiss in public, and public cuddling would be unthinkable for Charles’s generation, save of course for Diana, who broke with form when it came to hugging her boys as much as possible.”
Gifty agrees that Zara’s position in the line of succession gives her the space to be more expressive than others in the family, like her cousin Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton.
She explains: “As royal parents, with Zara in 20th place, they may not be in the public spotlight as much as the other high-ranking royals, but they still face a significant burden.
“When you see her in public with her children, it’s less the ‘stiff upper lip’ and more the expression of affection, which is refreshing for a royal couple.”
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