Prince Harry has changed lives and ‘we must not lose sight of it’

Prince Harry speaks German in videolink for Invictus Games event

Prince Harry will soon be flying over to Germany to attend the Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event to help injured, wounded and sick servicemen and women recover through sports.

The Duke, a former British Army officer himself who served in the army for a decade, understands the trials and tribulations of those who serve.

Having been inspired when visiting America’s Warrior Games, Harry launched the Invictus Games through which he helped the likes of then Lance Corporal John-James Chalmers, now known more commonly as JJ, who was wounded while serving as a marine in Afghanistan.

Royal author and historian Dr Tessa Dunlop told how she recently met with the TV presenter and Strictly star and was reminded just why “we hold up” individuals like Harry.

She explained that the Duke of Sussex had helped “change his life” from “living a nightmare to now living the dream”.

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Speaking on the To Di For Daily podcast, released on August 3, the author of the 2022 work Elizabeth and Philip recalled meeting JJ who said he credits the 38-year-old Prince with turning his life around after he was catastrophically injured.

She said: “He absolutely sights Harry as the agent really for nightmare tipping into a dream, fantasy land. JJ now is a pretty well-known name on mainstream television in Britain.”

JJ was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 as a royal marine for a six-month summer tour. During a patrol of a bomb-making factory, a Taliban IED went off.

Tragically, he suffered facial injuries, lost two fingers and his elbow disintegrated before he then underwent days of reconstructive surgery.

In 2014, he was introduced to the Prince at a rehabilitation triathlon where he was persuaded by the Duke to enter the first Invictus Games that September.

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Dr Dunlop continued: “He performed in the first Invictus Games. Harry early on spotted him and recruited him as a bit of a PR agent for those first Invictus Games.

“I really felt in some way just kind of heartened by being around JJ. He was such a regular bloke and he was kind and he just spoke in a sweet modest way about Harry in the way that we knew him for so long, in this kind of service role attached to the military, changing his life.

“I felt deeply moved by that… I thought of Harry’s late mother and how so often amidst all the horror and the trolling and the nonsense we lose sight of why we held and hold up individuals like Diana and her son, Harry, for… the way in which their own personal alchemy allows them to change lives.”

After Harry convinced him to compete, JJ entered the non-amputee cycling for Britain and took struck gold. Their friendship blossomed from there and in 2018, he was invited to the Sussexes’ wedding.

JJ told the Mirror that year: “I’m just happy my friend is settling down with somebody. So many of our other friends are all settled down and have kids, so he needs to catch up.

“It’s fantastic to see that he’s been able to find someone because I’ve been able to see what his life is like over the last four years and he works extremely hard, it’s very hectic.”

It’s anticipated that Harry is currently preparing for the upcoming games with an appearance expected.

This year, the Invictus Games is being hosted by German armed forces in Düsseldorf from September 9 until September 16 with athletes travelling from around the world to compete in the week-long games.

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