Prince Harry Makes Surprise Appearance on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

Prince Harry called into the show to surprise close friend JJ Chalmers who is competing on the show

Prince Harry
Photo: BBC

Prince Harry made a surprise appearance on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Saturday evening, virtually popping into his friend’s rehearsal via video chat.

The Duke of Sussex called JJ Chalmers during one of his training sessions with dance partner Amy Dowden, marking Harry’s first public appearance in the U.K. since he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior members of the royal family earlier this year.

“We've got somebody here who wants to see you,” Dowden said as Harry called into the show — the U.K.’s version of Dancing with the Stars — to which Chalmers replied, “You're kidding!”

"Nice tan JJ!” Harry, 36, teased Chalmers.

Chalmers' appearance on the hit dance competition show marks the latest stage in a remarkable journey that began when he suffered life-threatening injuries to his arms, face, and legs while serving with the elite Royal Marines in Afghanistan.

During his lengthy recovery, Chalmers — who also sustained a broken neck and burst eardrums when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated on patrol — volunteered for Harry's Invictus Games, becoming captain of the trike cycling team at the first event in 2014 and picking up a gold medal.

“When I first met JJ, he was a shell of himself,” Harry said during his cameo on Strictly. “But then to see you shine through Invictus and to become like yourself again — that was the start of an amazing journey.”

"The simple fact is, if Prince Harry had not created the Invictus Games I would not have had that catalyst moment that changed my life forever,” Chalmers said, speaking to the camera. “I wouldn't be here without him.”

Prince Harry, JJ Chalmers
Prince Harry with JJ Chalmers. Chris Jackson - WPA Pool /Getty

He added to Harry, “You know that your vision going into the games was to take this cohort of individuals and send them off so that they could have an impact on society.”

Harry then teased his old friend again, "You're definitely having an impact on society now. Especially when you're wearing those tight blue shorts!”

Chalmers later shared that Harry, a fellow veteran, is “a friend just like anybody else.”

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Speaking to one of the show’s presenters, Claudia Winkleman, after his dance, Chalmers reflected on the significance of getting to wear his Royal Marines Uniform for the Saturday performance.

“I was given permission from the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Marines actually got a new set tailored for me. This means everything to me,” he said. “I was kind of doing it for anyone who’s ever worn a uniform tonight, and I really hope I’ve not let them down.”

Related Articles