The former rugby star revealed what it’s really like to spend the holidays with the royal family on the latest episode of the talk show House of Rugby.
“It’s quite a strange day because if you’re from up north, normally I’d spend my whole day in my boxer shorts,” Mike, 40, joked. “So by the time I’d normally have gotten up, I’ve been to church twice. It’s strange for me, with not really a massive church-going background. So yeah, it’s completely different. I’ve never had to take as many outfits anywhere.”
Luckily, the stylish athlete is able to bring some cheer through his many ensembles. There may be a black tie party on the evening of Christmas and dressy outfits for their church outing, but Mike spiced up his look for the royals’ tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. He shared that he wore a festive suit like the one he was wearing for the talk show, noting that he “ordered a few” of the outfits, such as his red suit jacket and tie which featured Christmas trees and sleighs.
And the 92-year-old monarch loves it!
“The Queen loves bright colors,” Mike shared. “That’s why she wears all those amazing colors that she does wear, because she thinks dark colors are for sad times.”
Mike recalled two years ago, when the Queen missed her annual church outing for Christmas because she was feeling under the weather. Mike and his wife Zara, 37, had just recently suffered a miscarriage, so the three of them stayed back and had their own little holiday celebration.
However, Mike had second thoughts about his choice of outfit.
“I had a suit on like this, and I was like, ‘Maybe I should be wearing something a little different.’ But I was trying to raise the mood,” he said, adding that the tactic did work.
In July, the couple welcomed their second daughter, Lena Elizabeth. (Their first child, 4-year-old Mia, also had an exciting year in which she served as a bridesmaid at the October wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.)
After church, the royals typically gather to watch the airing of the Queen’s annual Christmas speech — alongside the monarch herself. Mike joked that the broadcast is met with a standing ovation.
Afterwards, the Downton Abbey Christmas special takes over the TV.
“I don’t watch it, but there’s a lot of people who do,” the rugby player shared.
As for food, there’s a big feast on Christmas Eve but Christmas Day has a cold buffet and is “a little more quiet.”
Mike said of Queen Elizabeth, “She loves all the staff that she has working for her, so she’ll give as many the day off on Christmas Day as she can.”
And when it comes to presents, Zara has everyone covered. Mike said that there were about 27 people at Sandringham this year, and his wife got them all a present.
“My wife is incredible at buying Christmas presents, and she was done by around the 14th of December. She started in mid-November,” Mike shared.
Zara even bought gifts for everyone at the Queen’s Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, which was attended by around 50 family members.