Jeremy Clarkson. [Source: BBC Entertainment]
Jeremy Clarkson has said he has apologised to Harry and Meghan over his column in The Sun newspaper in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex.
In a statement on Monday, the TV presenter said he emailed the couple on Christmas Day to say his language in the column had been “disgraceful” and he was “profoundly sorry”.
In the column, he wrote about a naked Meghan being pelted with excrement.
Prince Harry has described the article as “horrific and hurtful and cruel”.
Clarkson had released a statement before Christmas saying he “was horrified to have caused so much hurt”.
The Sun newspaper has also apologised for the December article. and removed it from its website.
In the column, Clarkson wrote that he lay in bed “dreaming of the day when she [Meghan] 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”.
He also claimed “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”, and that her appeal to young people who “think she was a prisoner of Buckingham Palace” made him “despair”.
A record 25,000 complaints have been made to press regulator Ipso since the piece was published.
In his lengthy Instagram post on Monday, the presenter of Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm and ITV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, said he usually reads what he’s written before filing his copy, but he was home alone that 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.”
He said he picked up a copy of The Sun and quickly realised he had “completely messed up”.
“You are sweaty and cold at the same time. And your head pounds. And you feel sick. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Had I really said that? It was horrible.”
He said he had been thinking of a scene in Games of Thrones when he wrote about imagining the duchess being abused in the street, but had forgotten to mention it.
“So it looked like I was actually calling for revolting violence to rain down on Meghan’s head.”
In a recent interview with ITV, Prince Harry criticised Clarkson as well as the Royal Family for not commenting on the matter at the time.
In his statement, Clarkson added that he had “tried to explain” himself. “But still, there were calls for me to be sacked and charged with a hate crime. More than 60 MPs demanded action to be taken. ITV, who make Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Amazon, who make the Farm Show and the Grand Tour, were incandescent.”
It was then that he “wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was” as well as emailing the duke and duchess.
“On Christmas morning, I emailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too. I said I was 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.”
He also acknowledged that his own daughter Emily had been among his critics.
Variety is reporting that Amazon Prime “is likely to be parting ways” with Clarkson after 2024, when his shows that are already in the pipeline are due to end. Amazon declined to comment.
Last month, ITV’s media and entertainment boss Kevin Lygo described Clarkson’s column as “awful” but said there were no plans “at the moment” to replace him as host of game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
ITV is believed to have one more series due to be filmed with Clarkson but no further current commissioning commitments beyond that.