Prince Harry’s career in the British Army may now be behind him, but this weekend he showed the nation how his loyalty to friend and former serviceman JJ Chalmers remains strong.
Appearing via video on the popular BBC One dance show Strictly Come Dancing, the Duke of Sussex had recorded a personal message for Chalmers.
Not only did this message make history as the first of its kind in Strictly’s history, but it marked Prince Harry’s first UK public appearance since he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals.
What message did Prince Harry have for his friend?
Former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers took to the dance floor on Saturday and gave an energetic jive performance. Partnered with Amy Dowden, Chalmers kicked and flicked his way to a score of 17, in a dance set to Bette Midler’s Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
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Whilst he may have found himself sadly at the bottom of the leaderboard, the personal message Prince Harry had recorded for him is sure to have lifted his spirits.
In his message, the prince told his friend: “When I first met JJ he was a shell of himself but then to see you shine through Invictus and to be yourself again, that was the start of an amazing journey.”
He went on to remark upon Chalmers’ dance attire, stating: "You're definitely having an impact on society now especially when you're wearing those tight blue shorts and the socks pulled up. It doesn't get better than that!"
All the time the prince’s pride and delight at his friend’s abilities shone through. Harry went on to add: "I'm genuinely proud. You're not a dancer, proving that you can actually do whatever you put your mind to which is amazing."
How did Prince Harry and JJ Chalmers become friends?
The two former servicemen first met after Chalmers sustained devastating injuries in an explosion while on active service in Afghanistan. Prince Harry and JJ bonded over their shared experience serving their country in the Armed Forces.
The Duke of Sussex then supported Chalmers after his recovery. Chalmers then competed in the first ever Invictus Games in 2014. The games were created by Prince Harry and is an international adaptive multi-sport event.
In his first games, Chalmers went on to win a gold medal in cycling.
So close is the friendship between Prince Harry and Chalmers, that the former Royal Marine and his wife Kornelia were invited to all three parts of Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.
This invitation came in spite of the fact that the two men had only met each other a mere four years prior to the wedding.
How has JJ Chalmers reacted?
In response to Prince Harry’s touching message, Chalmers has reportedly said, “He’s a veteran. He’s a guy who’s seen it, he’s done it and he understands it in ways lots of people don’t.’
The presenter also joked about the prince’s opinion of his dancing. "I thought he'd find it hilarious, but he thought I was good," JJ revealed.
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In a tough week where Nicola Adams had been forced to leave the competition after her dance partner Katya Jones tested positive for Covid-19, this support will no doubt mean even more.
JJ Chalmers and his professional partner Amy Dowden made it through on Sunday after winning over the public.
They will dance again on Saturday 21 November. We wish them the best of luck.
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