Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, insists the royal family always try to help ''any new member''.

The 55-year-old royal - who is married to Queen Elizabeth's son, Prince Edward - was rumoured to have struck up a close bond with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, but despite rumours of tension with others, Sophie insisted everyone within the family is always very welcoming.

She said: ''We all try to help any new member of the family.''

Meghan's experiences were compared with those of Sophie when she first married Edward, but the former publicist insisted things were easier for her because she had more time to adjust.

She said: ''Remember I'd had five years to adjust and for our six-month engagement I was even staying in Buckingham Palace. Not that you necessarily know how it will pan out.''

Now Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, have quit royal life and moved to America, Sophie hopes they have found the contentment they were seeking.

She told Sunday Times magazine: ''I just hope they will be happy.''

The countess - who has children Lady Louise, 16, and 12-year-old James, Viscount Severn - also recalled her initial frustrations when she left her career behind to be a full-time royal and having to take a ''big step back'' from the situations that were presented to her on official engagements.

She said: ''Certainly it took me a while to find my feet. The frustration was I had to reduce my expectations of what I could actually do. I couldn't turn up at a charity and go, right, I think you should be doing this, because that's what I was used to doing in my working life. I had to take a really big step back and go, OK, they want you to be the icing on the cake, the person to come in to thank their volunteers and funders, not necessarily to tell them how to run their communications plan.''

With Meghan and Harry having quit royal life and Prince Andrew taking a step back following the scandal over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Sophie is unsure if she'll be asked to take on more work.

She said: ''We've all got our own little portfolios. I don't see anything changing, but if we're asked to do more ... I don't know because it hasn't really happened...

''I am pretty busy already, so I'm not sure how much more I can do. There are only so many hours in the day. People may pay more attention to what I am doing, but I remain as busy as I have ever been.''