Prince Harry’s Strictly appearance ‘surprised royal aides’ amid BBC Diana interview row

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Royal aides were left "surprised" by Prince Harry's appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, according to reports.

The Duke of Sussex tonight appeared via video call to chat with pal and Strictly contestant JJ Chalmers and his pro partner Amy Dowden.

Harry mocked JJ's dress sense and sent a few good-natured jokes his way, but wished him all the best for his future in the dance contest.

They first struck up a friendship when JJ took part in the Invictus Games, of which Harry is the founder.

Now a senior royal source has told The Times that Harry's appearance on a BBC show had "surprised" them, in the context of the ongoing row surrounding the broadcaster's controversial interview with his mother, Princess Diana, in 1995.

Prince Harry surprised JJ Chalmers tonight with a video call
(Image: BBC)

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The interview took place just two years before her death in 1997.

The Princess of Wales agreed to speak with Panorama journalist Martin Bashir after he allegedly showed her false bank statements which led her to believe royal staff were spying on her – claims the BBC has pledged to investigate.

The source told The Times: "Strictly Come Dancing is one of the BBC's flagship shows.

"Given what has been going on around the BBC Diana saga and everything that has come out of the other documentaries, Harry's timing is a little surprising.

Harry and JJ have been mates since the latter took part in the Invictus Games
(Image: Chris Jackson Collection)

JJ was chuffed to see his pal
(Image: BBC)

"Of all the weeks for Harry to record something on the BBC, this wasn't it."

A spokesperson for the Prince has since confirmed that Harry is aware of the ongoing row.

They said: "The Duke has known JJ for a long time.

The BBC has pledged to investigate the claims that Martin Bashir showed the Princess of Wales false bank statements to secure an interview
(Image: Corbis via Getty Images)

The interview took place just two years before Diana's death
(Image: (C) Panorama: Princess Diana Interview / BBC.)

"They've been in good touch since Strictly started and he was keen to show his support for a friend so they recorded something together earlier this week."

A spokesperson for the broadcaster recently said: "The BBC has made clear it will investigate the issues raised and that this will be independent.

"We will set out the terms of reference in due course. We will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this.

"Martin Bashir is signed off work by his doctors as he is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year."

During tonight's show, Harry remarked: "When I first met JJ, he was a shell of himself but to see him shine through Invictus and get to himself again was an amazing time – that was an amazing journey.

"I'm so genuinely proud you are in this position now. You are not a dancer and it proves you can do anything you can put your mind to which is amazing."

The royal source said Harry's decision to appear on Strictly was surprising
(Image: Chris Jackson Collection/Getty)

Poking fun at his mate, he added: "You're definitely having an impact on society now, especially when you wear those tight blue shorts."

And JJ was full of praise for the Duke, remarking: "If Prince Harry had not created the Invictus Games I would not have had that catalyst moment that changed my life forever."

Mirror Online has reached out to the Duke's representatives for any further comment.