Jeremy Clarkson has said he emailed Prince Harry and Meghan to apologise over his column in The Sun newspaper, in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex.
In his column, which was published in December, he said he was “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her”.
The remarks sparked a huge backlash, with Clarkson’s daughter Emily, as well as many others, speaking out against him.
The column became the most complained about ever and was removed from The Sun’s website at Clarkson’s request, with the publisher also apologising.
Following the backlash, Clarkson wrote: “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.”
He is also set to lose his shows on Prime Video, The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm, following the comments, according to Variety, which says Amazon is likely to part ways with the broadcaster, claiming the streamer was unhappy with the incident.
Amazon has not commented on the report.
His comments came after the release of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary, in which they talked about their split from the Royal family, and their relationship with the monarchy.
In his latest statement, he said: “It was a slow rumble to start with, and I ignored it. But then the rumble got louder. So I picked up a copy of The Sun to see what all the fuss was about.
“We’ve all been there, I guess. In that precise moment when we suddenly realise we’ve 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.
“I knew what had happened straight away. I’d been thinking of a scene in Games 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 very angry with myself because in all those controversial days on Top Gear, when I was accused of all sorts of things, it was very rarely sexism.
“We never did ‘women can’t park’ gags for instance. Or suggested that powerful cars were only for men. And I was thrilled when Jodie Kidd and Ellen MacArthur set fastest-ever laps in our reasonably-priced car. I’m just not sexist, and I abhor violence against women. And yet I seemed to be advocating just that.
“I was mortified and so was everyone else. My phone went mad. Very close friends were furious. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me.”
‘The landmine exploded’
He went on to add: “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.
“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 landmine exploded.
“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 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.
Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts
“Over the last 30 years, I have written very nearly 5,000 newspaper and magazine columns, so it was inevitable that, one day, I’d do a Harry Kane and sky one of the damn things. Which is what happened with the piece about Meghan.”
Harry and Meghan have not yet responded to Clarkson’s latest apology, but did reject the one offered by The Sun, describing it as “nothing more than a PR stunt”.