The Sun has apologised for Jeremy Clarkson’s column, in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex, but has not stated whether any action has been taken against him.
Last week’s column has become the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s most complained about article, with more than 17,500 people contacting it over the piece as of Tuesday morning.
It was removed from the Sun’s website on Monday at Clarkson’s request after criticism from MPs and celebrities.
More than 60 cross-party MPs wrote to the newspaper’s editor, Victoria Newton, to demand an apology and “action taken” against Clarkson over the column in which he stated that Meghan should be paraded through the streets naked.
The Sun said in a statement released on Friday evening: “Columnists’ opinions are their own, but as a publisher, we realise that with free expression comes responsibility.
“We at the Sun regret the publication of this article and we are sincerely sorry.
“The article has been removed from our website and archives.
“The Sun has a proud history of campaigning, from Help for Heroes to Jabs Army and Who Cares Wins, and over 50 years of working in partnership with charities, our campaigns have helped change Britain for the better.”
The newspaper, part of News UK, also repeated a tweet from the former Top Gear presenter where he said he had made a “clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones”, which had “gone down badly with a great many people” and he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt”.
He also said he will be more careful in future.
In the article published in response to Prince Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary, Clarkson wrote that he loathed Meghan “on a cellular level” compared with the serial killer Rose West.
He said he was “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”.
Some journalists at News UK suggested Clarkson had been unfortunate to write his column in a week when Rupert Murdoch, the paper’s ultimate owner, was in the UK.
Critics of the piece included Clarkson’s daughter Emily, who said: “I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything my dad wrote about Meghan Markle.”
It was unclear which of Ipso’s rules could have been broken because of its broad guidelines for comment pieces.