Jeremy Clarkson apologises to Harry and Meghan for saying he wants her stripped naked and pelted with excrement

16 January 2023, 14:33 | Updated: 16 January 2023, 19:29

Jeremy Clarkson has apologised directly to Harry and Meghan
Jeremy Clarkson has apologised directly to Harry and Meghan. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Jeremy Clarkson has emailed an apology to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle over his column which said he wanted to see the Duchess of Sussex stripped naked and have excrement thrown over her.

The column, which received thousands of complaints, was taken down at the former Top Gear star's request, and he later admitted to putting his foot in it.

The excrement throwing was a reference to a famous scene from Game of Thrones - but it infuriated readers.

He said on his Instagram profile that he told the couple on Christmas Day that the column was "disgraceful" and that he is "profoundly sorry".

Mr Clarkson, who presents The Grand Tour, said he had not re-read the article when he sent it to The Sun and compared its publication to a landmine detonating.

"One of the strange things I've noticed in recent times is that whenever an MP or a well-known person is asked to apologise for something, no matter how heartfelt or profound that apology may be, it's never enough for the people who called for it in the first place," he wrote.

"So I'm going to try and buck the trend this morning with an apology for the things I said in a Sun column recently about Meghan Markle. 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. Its a mea culpa with bells on.

"Usually, I read what I've written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry. So when I'd finished, I just pressed send. And then, when the column appeared the next day, the land mine exploded."

The column became the most complained about piece ever, the independent press regulator Ipso said, with more than 17,000 people taking issue with it.

He said of Meghan: "I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level."

Read more: Jeremy Clarkson forced to shut restaurant on Diddly Squat farm after locals grumble about 'theme park'

He wrote: "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."

The paragraph was meant to invoke a famous scene from Game of Thrones where a hated royal is forced to parade the streets of the capital as the public abuses her.

He said he had "forgotten" to mention the Game of Thrones reference and realised it looked like he was actually calling for violence against Meghan.

Mr Clarkson said he was angry at himself because during the Top Gear controversy he got into it was "rarely sexism".

"My phone went mad. Very close friends were furious. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me," he wrote.

He said producers at ITV, where he presents Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Amazon, where he makes the Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm, were "incandescent" and he acknowledged how dozens of MPs called for action.

Harry and Meghan were emailed on Christmas Day morning and Mr Clarkson added: "So can I move on now?

"Not sure. It’s hard to be interesting and vigilant at the same time.

"You never hear peals of laughter coming from a health and safety seminar. But I promise you this, I will try.

"Who knows? Very son now I shall be a grandfather so in future, maybe I’ll just write about that."

Reacting to the post, a spokesperson for the Sussexes said: "On December 25, 2022, Mr Clarkson wrote solely to Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. The contents of his correspondence were marked private and confidential.

"While a new public apology has been issued today by Mr Clarkson, what remains to be addressed is his long-standing pattern of writing articles that spread hate rhetoric, dangerous conspiracy theories and misogyny.

"Unless each of his other pieces were also written "in a hurry", as he states, it is clear that this is not an isolated incident shared in haste, but rather a series of articles shared in hate."

But after the outrage, Mr Clarkson asked The Sun to take it down from the paper's website and he said on Twitter: "Oh dear. I've rather put my foot in it.

"In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I'm horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future."

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