Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Travelling Auctioneers star JJ Chalmers' life away from cameras: from family life and wife to close friendship with Prince Harry

JJ is a former Royal Marine Commando and Invictus Games gold medalist

JJ Chalmers as a presenter on Money for Nothing
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: 24 January 2024
Share this:

We've been loving watching JJ Chalmers hit the road in search of hidden gems in the second season of BBC One's The Travelling Auctioneers. The popular daytime show sees JJ, along with Christina Trevanion, Robin Johnson and Izzie Balmer take their travelling auction house and workshop up and down the UK, turning unwanted items into winning lots.

While the Scottish presenter is a familiar face on our screens thanks to his stint on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2020, as well as his appearances on BBC shows including Breakfast and Money For Nothing, how much do you know about his life away from the cameras? 

JJ's military career and Invictus Games medals

For those who don't know, JJ, 37, is a former Royal Marine Commando. Before he made his name in the entertainment industry, JJ served in Afghanistan, where he was caught in an explosion in 2011 after an IED (Improvised explosive device) blew up.

JJ was seriously injured as a result. He lost two fingers and was left with a badly damaged right elbow, as well as face and leg injuries.

JJ Chalmers served in the Royal Marines© @jj.chalmers/Instagram
JJ Chalmers started his military career in the Royal Marines Reserve

Describing the incident, JJ previously told "Unfortunately, one of my friends stepped on one of these devices, the blast went off underneath his feet, and all the rubbish that gets thrown off of these IEDs are buried in the ground, just came my way and it just pulverised my body. My arms essentially came off, and they were stuck back on by incredible surgeons in the coming weeks, and months, and years, for that matter. 

"My face was crushed, my neck was broken, my eardrums were burst. Pretty much everything had had some level of damage."

JJ didn't let his injuries hold him back, however, and in 2014, when he was still in rehabilitation in the Royal Marines, the Scotsman signed up for the Invictus Games. He went on to win a gold medal for the Men's IRecB1 Recumbent Circuit Race, as well as medals in Non-amputee Cycling, the 1-mile Time Trial and the 4 × 100m Mixed Relay race.

Prince Harry and JJ Chalmers© getty
JJ Chalmers met Prince Harry whilst they were serving in the military

In 2016, JJ returned to the Invictus Games as an Ambassador. 

The Invictus Games was launched in 2014 by Prince Harry, who first met JJ when they were both serving in the military. 

WATCH: Strictly star JJ Chalmers talks close friendship with Prince Harry

Speaking about his friendship with the Duke of Sussex, JJ named him as "one of the key people who created one of the key catalysts in my recovery". 

"Harry's a friend of mine and someone I dearly love and wish the best for. I wouldn't be here talking to you if it wasn't for him," he previously told The Big Issue. "Not to lay all of it at his feet, but he's one of the key people who created one of the key catalysts in my recovery. For that, I'll be forever grateful."

JJ's career in the media

After his big win at the Invictus Games, JJ went on to forge a career in the world of broadcasting, covering the 2016 Rio Paralympics for Channel 4, as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games for BBC One.

Since then, he has appeared on various panel and documentary shows, including The Last Leg and The Superhumans Show, as well as featuring in the BBC's coverage of Remembrance at the Cenotaph. 

jj chalmers strictly exit
JJ competed on Strictly Come Dancing in 2020

JJ is currently a regular fixture on the BBC's daytime schedule thanks to his new role as a presenter on The Travelling Auctioneers. 

On joining the show, JJ said: "My life has certainly gone in an unexpected direction, from Helmand, to the Invictus Games, to my career as a TV presenter. But in real life, I'm happiest in my workshop, and whilst I've let cameras into it in recent years, I was very happy to head out on the road with The Travelling Auctioneers to discover more forgotten treasures in need of restoration. After all, I know more than most about second chances!"

JJ's home life with wife and children

Away from the cameras, JJ lives in Fife, Scotland, with his wife, Kornelia Chitursko, whom he married in 2015. 

The couple share two children: a daughter named Hayley and a son called James.

JJ Chalmers with his wife Kornelia Chitursko© @jj.chalmers/Instagram
JJ Chalmers with his wife Kornelia Chitursko

In a previous interview, the presenter spoke of how supportive his wife following the bomb blast in Afghanistan. 

"She dragged me through hospital, through recovery, did things for me that no one would ever want to ask a loved one to do for them but she did it and she kept my morale going, and she was the one who said go out there and chase your dreams," he told The Scotsman.

JJ Chalmers' children James and Hayley© @jj.chalmers/Instagram
JJ often shares snaps of his children, James and Hayley, on social media

"She put her life on hold essentially so that I could have the opportunities I have and when I get out on the dance floor come Saturday I'm doing it for both of us. That's how it is."

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.