She's the belle of the ball! Cressida Bonas to star in ITV's Doctor Thorne

Ainhoa Barcelona

The first photos of Cressida Bonas starring in new TV show Doctor Thorne have been released by ITV. Wearing a traditional silk ballgown and her hair festooned with colourful ribbons, Cressida looks every inch the sweet girl that she plays.

The actress, who is making her second TV appearance, has a small role in the new three parter. She plays Patience Oriel, a potential love interest for one of the main characters who is dismissed after she is deemed not rich enough.

Doctor Thorne will debut on Sunday but it is not yet clear if Cressida, 27, appears in all, or just one, episode.

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Belle of the ball Cressida Bonas plays a small part in Doctor Thorne

The highlight of her TV role is an impressive ballroom scene, where Cressida is swept off her feet by a handsome suitor. The preview photos show the actress gazing adoringly at her companion, and dressed in full period costume, Cressida is the belle of the ball.

Prince Harry's ex-girlfriend was first spotted filming scenes for the drama in November. Despite it being just her second dabble in TV, Cressida looked completely at ease and was pictured giggling with her co-stars on set.

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The actress plays a potential love interest for one of the main characters

The show is based on the 1858 novel Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. It has been adapted for the small screen by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, who is keen to shake off the idea that Doctor Thorne is "the new Downton".

"It worries me slightly when I see Doctor Throne called the new Downton because it isn't," Julian told reporters at an advanced screening.

"It's a little piece, a little three parter, a love story for spring to enjoy with a bottle of wine and then cry at the end. It's a smaller thing and I love that kind of television. I don't want people to think this is the new Downton and that we'll still be here in seven years time because we just won't."

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Cressida will also appear in Tulip Fever later this year

After splitting from Prince Harry in 2014, Cressida, who is the daughter of Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, has been focusing on her career. Her theatrical debut came shortly after her break-up, when Cressida starred in There's a Monster in the Lake at Hay Festival.

This year she will appear on the big screen in Tulip Fever, alongside Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench and Cara Delevingne.

Cressida has also been making waves in the fashion industry. After modelling for Burberry last year, she fronted the 2015 campaign of luxury label Mulberry.

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