More than 12,000 complaints have been made to the Independent Press Standards Organisations in response to an article written by Jeremy Clarkson about the Duchess of Sussex.
The former Top Gear presenter's piece, which appeared in The Sun on Friday, said he had dreamt of Meghan being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed.
“Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way,” he wrote.
The article was removed from The Sun's website on Monday afternoon at the request of Clarkson after it attracted criticism from high-profile figures and his own daughter.
The presenter has said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” following the backlash and that he would “be more careful in future”.
A representative for the organisation said the body had received more than 12,000 complaints about the article as of 5pm on Monday.
This is almost equal to the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021 — which was 14,355.
“We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received,” the representative said.
“This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints.”
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Writing on Twitter on Monday, 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.”
A statement on The Sun’s website said: “In light of Jeremy Clarkson’s tweet, he has asked us to take last week’s column down.”
Clarkson’s article followed the recent broadcast of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's explosive six-part Netflix documentary, in which the couple made allegations of mistreatment by the royal family.
In the first three episodes, Meghan accused the British media of wanting to “destroy” her and claimed “salacious” stories were “planted” in the press.
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Speaking about the press coverage of her, she said: “At that point, I was still very much believing what I was being told, which was, ‘it will pass, it will get better, it’s just what they do right at the very beginning’.
“This promise of ‘once you’re married, don’t worry, it’ll get better, once they get used to you it’ll get better, of course it’ll get better’.
“But truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, they were still going to find a way to destroy me.”
The duchess also took the publisher of The Mail on Sunday — Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) — to court after it published parts of a personal letter to her father Thomas Markle, winning the case in 2021.
In the Netflix show, the Duke of Sussex claimed his wife had suffered a miscarriage due to the stress of the long-running lawsuit.
Those criticising Clarkson’s piece included Nicola Sturgeon, Carol Vorderman, Sir Philip Pullman and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
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When asked about the article, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that “language matters”.
Clarkson’s daughter, Emily Clarkson, said in an online post that she is “against everything that my dad wrote”.
“My views are and have always been clear when it comes to misogyny, bullying and the treatment of women by the media,” she said in a statement shared on Instagram.
“I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything that my dad wrote about Meghan Markle and I remain standing in support of those that are targeted with online hatred.”
As well as Top Gear, Clarkson is known for his Amazon motoring show The Grand Tour, which he presents alongside Richard Hammond and James May, as well as ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Amazon, ITV and The Sun have all been approached for comment.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s Archewell foundation has also been approached for comment over the remarks.