Inside Prince William and Mike Tindall’s friendship amid closeness after Harry fallout

There's many close friendships among the members of the Royal Family, and that includes Prince William and Mike Tindall.

The Duke of Cambridge, 39, has grown close to former professional rugby player Mike, 43, over recent years, having aways been close to his cousin, Mike's wife, Zara Tindall, 41.

Mike and William may seem like an unlikely pairing as they had entirely different upbringings and have different interests, but they appear to have hit it off and can always be found together at royal events.

Back in May, they both attended the Houghton House Horse Trials in Norfolk, and after spotting one another they immediately gave each other a hug as they beamed.

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It's not the first time they've been snapped embracing at royal events, with the duo seeming to share a close bond.

While they may have different interests with William preferring football over rugby, they do have certain things in common with them both being hands-on fathers to three children under the age of eight and being part of the royal family.

The pair have also both been with their wives for a similar length of time, with William meeting Kate, 40, while studying at university and Mike meeting Zara when she was 25, having been introduced at the 2003 World Cup.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are parents to Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, seven, and four year old Prince Louis, and Mike and Zara are parents to Mia, eight, Lena, three, and one year old Lucas.

It's believed that William and Mike's bond has grown thanks to William's relationship with his older cousin Zara, who is the daughter of Princess Anne.

He and Zara grew up not far from each other, with William and Harry being raised in Gloucestershire while Zara and her brother Peter Phillips grew up just a few miles away.

Zara, Peter, William and Harry could regularly be found chatting and hanging out at royal events during their younger years, and William even once told how it was difficult "to keep a straight face" while sitting opposite his cousins in church.

In the Channel 5 documentary, Zara & Anne: Like Mother Like Daughter, a royal commentator opened up about William and Zara's friendship, saying: "William is quite serious by nature, he's actually quite shy – Zara is sort of the comedy cousin that you can turn to where she takes the pressure off everything.

"That friendship is so authentic, there are dozens of photos of William and Zara together over the years, laughing and joking.

"There's a time when Prince William was holding an umbrella over Zara, he's protecting her from the rain. I think he feels very protective towards her and she feels equally protective of him."

She continued: "For William in particular, trust is everything so when you've got a cousin that understands what it is to be a member of the Royal Family, but they don't have the same pressures associated with it, they can be a tower of strength and support.

"It's Zara's loyalty and total dedication to her family that has made her such an asset to the cousins that have had to endure the negative side of royal life."

Dad-of-three Mike previously revealed that they are all in a WhatsApp group chat, where they regularly exchange messages.

"Me, my brother and then a few of Zara's side like her brother Pete [Phillips] and the cousins are on WhatsApp groups. I wouldn't say we're cutting edge, but it's just easier for some reason on WhatsApp," Mike once revealed, according to the Daily Mail.

He also added on a separate occasion: "It's just what you do to try and set up get-togethers and we are going to something that is the same. If you are going to go, [we discuss things like] 'Are you going to take the kids?' Quite a lot of people have family WhatsApp groups."

Mike and Zara also close with the Duchess of Cambridge, and were seen supporting her back in December at her Christmas carol concert at Westminster Abbey.

The former rugby player and his eldest daughter Mia also sat behind Kate and Prince Louis at the Jubilee Pageant recently, and Mike could be seen sweetly interacting with four year old Louis.

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