Meghan Markle's heartbroken dad said a letter from his daughter telling him "I love you" was "was a total lie", the High Court heard.

The Duchess of Sussex, 39, is suing a newspaper publisher over a series of articles which produced parts of the handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle.

Mr Markle's witness statement, read out in the High Court, said: "When I read the article 'The Truth About Meghan' in People magazine I was shocked by what it said about me.

"It was a total lie. It misrepresented the tone and content of the letter Meg had written me in August 2018. I quickly decided I wanted to correct that misrepresentation.

Thomas Markle said he wanted to "set the record straight" over Meghan's letter to him

"It seemed to me that the article had either been expressly authorised by Meg or she had at the very least known about and approved of the publication.

"I believe (and still believe) that Meghan wanted her account of the letter to be published."

Meghan, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd, the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over a series of articles which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to her 76-year-old dad in August 2018.

But rather than bring about a reconciliation after he was not invited to her wedding with Prince Harry, 36, the previous May, Thomas said the letter signalled the "end" of the pair's relationship.

He said: "The article quoted a long-time friend of Meg talking about the letter.

"She was quoted as saying: 'After the wedding she wrote him a letter. She's like: "Dad, I'm heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship".'

"This suggested to people that Meg had reached out to me with the letter, saying in the letter that she loved me and that she wanted to repair our relationship.

Meghan is suing, Associated Newspapers Ltd, the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over the publication of her letter to her dad

"That suggestion was false. The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation, it was a criticism of me.

"The letter didn't say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was. It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health.

"It actually signalled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation."

Thomas, 76, continued that he "reached out" to Caroline Graham at The Mail On Sunday because he wanted to "correct the mistruths" of the People magazine article.

He added: "I never asked for and I never received any payment for the article.

"It was important to me in setting the record straight about me and about the tone and content of the letter that Caroline should not just describe what Meg had written but that she should actually quote from and reproduce parts of the letter.

"If the public didn't see the letter and read what it said in its own words, I did not think anyone would believe me.

Meghan and her dad are now estranged

"At that time, there were articles saying I was a liar, including that I had lied about my heart attack, even on TV, and there were people saying I didn't go to Meg's first wedding when I did.

"I do not want to attack or hurt her. I just wanted to defend myself by countering the impression given of me and of the letters between Meg and me by the People article, and I didn't think it was necessary to publish the whole letter to do that - but it was necessary to publish the extracts that were published."

Meghan is seeking damages for the alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the data protection act.

The Duchess of Sussex asked a judge to rule in her favour in a privacy claim against a newspaper.

Lawyers for Meghan said her legal action should be decided by Mr Justice Warby without proceeding to full trial.

The full trial of the duchess's claim was due to be heard at the High Court this month, but last year the case was adjourned until autumn 2021 for a "confidential" reason.