I’m a body language expert – what Mike Tindall’s trip with Zara after I'm a Celeb reveals about their unusual parenting | The Sun

HE may look like a hardman rugby player at first glance… but Mike Tindall has proved he's really a softie at heart.

The nation saw his emotional side during his stint on I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, where he just missed out on a spot in the final.

Mike, 44, also showed that he was a loving husband when he had an emotional reunion with wife Zara Phillips, 41, after his exit from the jungle.

And on Sunday, he was seen enjoying a day out with Zara and their three kids: 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, Judi James, a body language expert, analyses the snaps to decode the couple's down-to-earth parenting style, which is a marked departure from usual royal protocol.


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Alpha Pappa

Judi says: "It was all about the ‘guppy kisses’ and ‘koala cuddles’ as Alpha Pappa Mike came out of the jungle to be re-united with Mia, Lena and Luca.

"We saw in the jungle how Mike used his awesome cuddles
and his physical presence to keep the peace and to help make the group feel safe and motivated.

"His techniques seem to be ones he uses on a daily basis with Zara and the children."

Judi believes their body language as parents sends "strong signals of affection" to their kids which helps grow their "daring, adventurous and confident side."

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She explains: "The ‘Koala cuddles’ involve a mutual wrapping of arms around each other as Mike carries his two smaller children, chatting face to face as he does.

"His ‘Guppy kiss’ with Lena blends fun with affection and with Luca he gets a sweet full neck, clinging hug."

Parenting expert Gifty Enright believes the snaps reinforce the fact that he's a great dad.

She said: "This also tells us a lot about him as a family man and a dad and how close and important his wife and children are to him.

"We saw him in the jungle being the dependable emotional rock and steady hand for his camp mates.

"These are the same qualities that make him a great dad to his kids and he said himself, he keeps his family close to the surface.

"That means they are never far from his mind and he also said the hardest thing for him was being away from them for that period of time."

'Doting dad'

Mike and Zara, who is the late Queen Elizabeth's grandchild, became parents for the first time in 2014 with the arrival of Mia, their eldest.

At the time, Mike couldn't hide his excitement and said he was thrilled to be taking on his latest role as a father.

According to Judi, although the excitementis still evident in the way he relates to his children today, he still gives them the freedom to be themselves.

She says: "Mike looks like the kind of doting dad who will also allow his children space to grow and have adventures.

"There are also signals of equality in their family group, with Zara looking totally like-minded in terms of giving the kids the freedom to have fun and with even Mia taking over some of the big sister duties now she has a small brother to keep an eye on."

When it comes to their body language when interacting with their kids, Judi notes that the pair have a strikingly indistinguishable approach.

"There seems to be virtually no difference in their body language signals towards their children, suggesting a form of solid agreement and like-minded thinking," Judi observes

"They rarely leave one another out either, sharing an equal
amount of hugs, kisses and eye-attention on each other as they do on their children."

Unique approach

While the Royal Family have been known to refrain from public displays of affection, Mike and Zara seem incredibly comfortable in showing off their love for each other and their kids.

Judi says: "Their 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 wonderfully tactile behaviour looks like a natural part of their DNA despite the fact that Zara grew up in a family where a stringently non-tactile, PDA-free approach in public has always been the tradition.

"Royal couples rarely if ever kiss in public and public cuddles would be unthinkable from Charles’s generation, apart, of course, from Diana, who broke the mould when it came to flinging her arms around her boys as often as possible."

Gifty agrees that Zara's position in the line of succession gives her the room to be more expressive than others in the family like her cousin, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton.

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She explains: "As royal parents, with Zara being 20th in line, perhaps they are not in the public glare as much as the other senior royals but they are still subject to significant exposure. 

"When seen in public with their children, it is less of the ‘stiff upper lip’ and more displays of affection which is refreshing for a royal couple."

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