Ruthie Henshall thinks Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should be "left alone".

Prince Harry

Prince Harry

The 49-year-old actress - who dated Prince Edward for five years on and off in the 1990s - believes the 32-year-old royal and the 'Suits' actress should have a chance to "explore who they are together".

She told the Daily Express newspaper: "I think they should be left alone to explore who they are together. Relationships, some last, some don't and I respect him for coming out and saying what he did.

"How awful it must be to care for somebody and see them run down. I hope they get the space because those boys [Princes Harry and William] have always said they want their private life. I think they have done great things. They seem to have great drive."

It comes after Prince Harry criticised the online trolls that were attacking his girlfriend.

A statement released by Kensington Palace at the time read: "His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public ... the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.

"Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is 'the price she has to pay' and that 'this is all part of the game'. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game - it is her life and his."

And the statement also revealed the Prince has "never been comfortable" with the curiosity surrounding his love life.

The spokesperson added: "Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public. He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads.

"He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it."