Mike and Zara are now the proud parents of Mia Grace and Lena Elizabeth and they are best known as members of the Royal Family. But they both excelled in the world of sport before retiring – as Mike captained the England rugby union team and Zara won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006. The pinnacle of Mike’s career, though, was undoubtedly victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup – when England beat Australia in the final with a last-gasp Jonny Wilkinson drop-goal in Sydney.
Understandably the England team partied hard to celebrate such a magnificent achievement – but Mike was after another accolade on the journey home.
According to a throwback report in the Daily Mirror, he came “astonishingly close” to breaking former Australian cricketer David Boon’s record of drinking 54 cans of lager on a flight between Australia and England.
Mike, who played as a centre, reportedly consumed “close to 50” cans as the victorious England side returned to the UK.
He fell short of Boon’s record and it remains unknown whether he matched the Australian’s calm demeanour after landing – it is said the former batsman “walked straight as a die across the Heathrow tarmac” after his record session.
When Mike and Zara first began dating, there was concern their backgrounds were too different and that the relationship would flounder, but he insisted this was never a problem.
He told the Radio Times in 2011: “I’ve been on the edge of her world all the time I’ve been playing rugby.
“I know William and Harry because they are great England supporters, and I’ve played against Peter [Zara’s brother].
“Zara’s mum [Princess Anne] is Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, so I’ve known her for years.”
Mike also addressed rumours about Princess Anne asking him to “get his nose fixed” so it would look better for the wedding photos.
He said: “Yeah [it’s true] but it was a light-hearted, jokey comment.
“It wasn’t a big deal – and, look at my nose, can you blame her?”
He finished the interview by reasserting his commitment to sport, concluding: “We’ll have plenty of time for honeymoons when we’re both retired.”