Jeremy Clarkson has sent an apology in an email to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, he has revealed, after a backlash against his column in the Sun newspaper in which he said of Meghan he was “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets”.
The presenter of ITV’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Amazon Prime shows The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm, said he contacted Harry and Meghan on Christmas morning, amid the fallout, to say sorry.
More than 20,000 complaints were made to Ipso about his column in December. He said he hated Meghan on a “cellular level”, and added: “At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.
“Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way,” he added. “But what makes me despair is that younger people, especially girls, think she’s pretty cool. They think she was a prisoner of Buckingham Palace, forced to talk about nothing but embroidery and kittens.”
Prince Harry discussed the column in an interview promoting his autobiography, Spare, in which he said the column was “horrific, and is hurtful and cruel towards my wife”.
Clarkson was also criticised by his daughter, Emily, an author and podcast host, who said: “I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything that my dad wrote about Meghan Markle [sic].”
In an Instagram post on Monday, the former Top Gear host said: “I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It’s a mea culpa with bells on.”
Clarkson said he hadn’t realised the offence it would cause because he didn’t read it through to somebody else before submitting it, and was “in a hurry”.
He added: “I knew what had happened straight away. I’d been thinking of a scene in Game of Thrones, but I’d forgotten to mention this. So it looked like I was actually calling for revolting violence to rain down on Meghan’s head.”
“I was mortified and so was everybody else. My phone went mad. Very close friends were furious. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me.”
The 62-year-old said that ITV and Amazon were “incandescent”.
“I therefore wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was, and then on Christmas morning, I emailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too.
“I said I’d been baffled by what they had been saying on TV, but that the language I’d used in my column was disgraceful and that I was profoundly sorry.”
Archewell, the organisation founded by Harry and Meghan, has been contacted for comment.