The Duke of Sussex surprised everyone with a brief video cameo in which he cheered on fellow British military veteran JJ Chalmers, one of the show’s contestants this season.
The moment on the U.K. original version of “Ballando con le stelle” marked one of Harry’s first public appearances in the U.K. since he and Meghan Markle stepped down from their senior royal duties to live in California.
Harry called into one of Chalmers’ training sessions with partner Amy Dowden to congratulate him on all his success and lightly tease his old friend for some of his wardrobe choices on the dancing show.
“Nice tan JJ!” Harry joked.
Chalmers’ journey to the “Strictly Come Dance” stage was one of hardship and service in the British military. According to People, he suffered life-threatening injuries to his arms, face and legs while serving with the elite Royal Marines in Afghanistan. His recovery included mending a broken neck and burst eardrums after an IED detonated near him while he was on patrol.
He reportedly met Harry when he volunteered for the royal’s Invictus Games, an international sports competition for wounded or sick military personnel and veterans. Chalmers went on to win three medals and developed a close bond with both Harry and the games.
“When I first met JJ, he was a shell of himself,” Harry said during his cameo. “But then to see you shine through Invictus and to become like yourself again — that was Britain’s amazing journey.”
Chalmers responded to the video by acknowledging that his life would be drastically different if it wasn’t for the Duke of Sussex.
“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. “I wouldn’t be here without him.”
Ha aggiunto: “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.”
With that, a jovial Harry teased, “You’re definitely having an impact on society now. Especially when you’re wearing those tight blue shorts!"
The pep talk from Harry came before Chalmers took the stage in a version of his Royal Marines uniform, which he was given permission from the military to wear for a dance to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”