In his memoir, Spare, Prince Harry embraced exposure, choosing to present his story on his own terms. Since his book’s release, the duke’s public image has never been more divisive. He’s drawn both praise and criticism for his candidness. However, Harry insists that his memoir is no different than his family’s alleged practice of briefing the British press on private family matters.
Now, it seems that the gloves are off for the British press. Jeremy Clarkson—a British broadcaster with a long history of pouring scorn on Meghan Markle—lashed out at Markle last month following the premiere of Harry & Meghan. Except this time, observers from all sides admitted that Clarkson finally went too far.
Jeremy Clarkson Says He ‘Hates’ Meghan Markle
In a column for The Sun, Clarkson wrote that he feels “rather sorry” for Prince Harry since he’s “just a glove puppet” of Markle’s. As far as Markle is concerned, though, Clarkson writes that he harbors a deep hatred for the duchess. “I hate her,” Clarkson writes. “Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon [the First Minister of Scotland] or Rose West [an infamous British serial killer]. I hate her on a cellular level.”
If that wasn’t bizarre enough, Clarkson goes on to describe a graphic recurring fantasy he has about Markle inspired by a Game of Thrones scene. “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.”
Thankfully, no one was content with letting this one slide. The backlash was instant and overwhelming. Clarkson didn’t immediately address his comments. However, on Monday, a month after the Sun column was published, Clarkson posted a lengthy public apology to Instagram. He wrote that he “felt sick” and “was very angry” with himself after re-examining his words.
However, his statement has mostly been dismissed as a half-hearted, floundering attempt to salvage his reputation. Towards the end of his “apology,” Clarkson writes at length about how, contrary to what it may look like, he’s not a misogynist. “I’m just not sexist and I abhor violence against women,” he wrote. He also calls his lapse in judgment “inevitable,” which unfortunately cheapens his entire statement.
James O’Brien Calls Clarkson ‘Pathetic’
It’s clear that Jeremy Clarkson’s apology wasn’t the fix-all he was likely hoping it would be. Even British radio presenter James O’Brien was unimpressed by it. On his show, Leading Britain’s Conversation recently gave his own perspective on the controversy, pointing out that it is merely a symptom of a larger problem in the media today.
“All bets are off with Meghan Markle,” O’Brien observes. “There are lines you can’t cross, but they lifted those lines for Meghan Markle. This is not just about Jeremy Clarkson. It’s also about everyone who read his column and decided that there was absolutely no problem whatsoever with putting it in the newspaper.”
The truth is that Meghan Markle has become a lightning rod in the press for people’s hatred and prejudice. When Markle joined the royal family in 2018, she faced an uphill battle. She was a dramatic foil to the regal and rigid British royal family. Looking back, it seems impossible that the British press would ever have accepted Markle in the same way that it has now accepted a woman like Kate Middleton.
When Markle and Harry decided to leave their royal duties, their fates were sealed. In her life as a working royal, Markle enjoyed certain protections from the press at large. However, once it seemed like her bond with the senior royals was in question, it gave the media the freedom to express everything it was holding back from day one.
Still, people offered their criticisms in the name of the queen, the royals, and the UK as a whole. However, Clarkson did something different in his Sun column. With his repulsive comments, Clarkson removed the thin veil that other journalists have been hiding under.
First, he likened her to Nicola Sturgeon, although it isn’t immediately clear why he dislikes the Scottish politician. He also referred to the vivid scene from Game of Thrones of Cersei Lannister’s “walk of atonement,” likening Markle to a cruel and calculating fictional royal. Then, possibly most shockingly, Clarkson likened Markle to Rose West, a real-life serial killer that tortured and killed at least nine young women and girls.
Is there any similarity between these women other than their gender? It just isn’t subtle anymore; the cat is out of the bag. It’s now crystal clear that Markle’s cardinal sin is being a woman in a powerful position. To Jeremy Clarkson and his friends in the press, a powerful, opinionated woman may as well be a serial killer.