Prince Harry's friend joins Strictly line-up: JJ Chalmers confirmed for dancing competition

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3 mins read

Prince Harry’s friend, TV presenter and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers, has said he hopes the royal will be watching as he was confirmed as one of the competitors in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The annual competition, a fixture of autumn TV, was under threat because of social distancing, but producers have confirmed the celebrities and the dancers will be able to record a shorter series adhering to regulations.

Chalmers, a former marine commando who has competed at the games set up by Prince Harry, was announced as one of the celebrities on ITV’s Lorraine on Thursday morning.

He admitted he did not know if the royal and wife Meghan Markle would be watching since their relocation to Los Angeles, saying: “I don’t know how that works, I don’t know if they get it in LA.”

But he told Lorraine Prince Harry is a “cornerstone in creating this opportunity because he created the Invictus Games, (and) the idea that this is a culmination of 10 years of my recovery and he is a big part of that, he should take pride…

“I’ll give this my all and hope he’s watching.”

John-James Chalmers (right) alongside the Duke of Sussex at the Invictus Games Athletics competition in Florida in 2016. (PA)
John-James Chalmers (right) alongside the Duke of Sussex at the Invictus Games Athletics competition in Florida in 2016. (PA)

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Chalmers said he was “always looking for a challenge, always looking to push myself out of my comfort zone”.

He added: “This is completely off the chart, and so it’s going to be a huge challenge for me, I’m really looking forward to learning something new”.

Chalmers, 33, was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2011, and suffered facial injuries, as well as losing two of his fingers and damaging his elbow.

In 2014, he competed in the Invictus Games, the sporting competition set up by Prince Harry for injured former military personnel. He won two bronze and one gold medal in a series of cycling events.

In 2016 he returned to the games as an ambassador. He now presents events for the BBC like the Great North Run, the World Para Athletics, and the London Marathon.

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On his latest challenge, he said: “My whole life is defined by facing challenges – whether it’s becoming a Royal Marine Commando, recovering from my injuries sustained in Afghanistan, to competing in The Invictus Games.

“Now, as a TV presenter, I’m lucky enough to witness some of the greatest sporting contests in the world. Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I’m up for an adventure and at least my mum will know where I am!”

Chalmers is married to wife Komelia and they have one daughter.