"She's a rich girl, she don't try to hide it,
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.
He's a poor boy, empty as a pocket,
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose."You know the story. It's a love story. Our lovers are from different worlds — one wealthy, one not. The poor girl has fallen in love with the Gentleman Snarker, or the Unlucky Everydude secretly courts the daughter of the richest man in town. And she loves him too. Maybe it was Love at First Sight. Maybe she has a habit of slipping out to the seedier side of town for a night of fun. Maybe they've been friends their whole lives and the difference in status never really mattered. Will their love be enough to let them be happy together? In any case, this is usually played out in one of three ways:
— Paul Simon, "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"
- The poor guy and rich girl mutually fall in love, and neither one cares about their differences in wealth. People around them, however, do, and conspire to interfere with True Love.
- The poor guy falls for the rich girl, even though he knows that she's out of his league. Undaunted, our hero engages in some Zany Scheme to get her to notice him or be impressed by him. This usually ends with the girl revealing that she doesn't care if he's rich or poor, and that she loves him for who he is.
- The poor guy and the rich girl fall for one another, but he doesn't know she's rich at first. When he finds out, he's either intimidated by her wealth once he finds out, or else doesn't think he's good enough for her. As before, she doesn't care about such things, and has to convince him that he's the one she wants.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- General: "Rich sheik abducts Japanese everyman" is a stock plot in Boys Love manga/light novels, with Eternal Love, Kyokutou No Hanamuko, Sabaku No Oujisama, Ouji To Kotori and Sarou No Ryoshuu being but a few examples.
- Byakuya Kuchiki and Hisana. Hisana was a commoner from one of the worst Rukongai districts while Byakuya was a noble from one of the four most powerful and highly ranked noble houses in Soul Society. The social inequality between them didn't bother Byakuya and Hisana, but the Kuchiki clan was appalled. Byakuya eventually won the fight to have Hisana as his wife, but she fell sick and died five years after they were married.
- Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri. As an Echt, Ryuuken was a Quincy Blue Blood from one of the most powerful families alive and expected to marry another Echt. As a Gemischt, Kanae was Ryuuken's servant and bodyguard. Only when the Arranged Marriage plan falls through are Ryuuken's relatives willing to let him and Kanae Marry for Love. Kanae dies six years before the main story begins, targeted for her commoner status.
- Nadeshiko Amamiya and Fujitaka Kinomoto in Cardcaptor Sakura. Resulted in Nadeshiko being disowned by her wealthy family; she doesn't mind that much as Fujitaka was no Gold Digger, and she works as a model while he continues teaching and they live in a tiny but cozy apartment with their children.
- Arguably Sakura herself. Though Fujikata's finances seemed to have improved somehat given that he and his family live in a large, spacious house, Sakura's potential love interests are both very much wealthier than her. Syaoran's family is Old Money, from one of China's most prestigious magical families. And Tomoyo (if your shipping preferences run that way) is Sakura's second cousin on her mother's side and lives in a seriously Big Fancy House and her mother Sonomi's company is implied to be just one branch of very large family fortune.
- Claudine de Montesse found himself as an Uptown Boy in regards to his first love Maura, a Country Mouse who worked as a maid in his family's Big Fancy House. Made even more complicated by Claudine being transsexual.
- Subverted in Flaming Ieraishan where a reporter falls in love with the heir to a viscount, who ends up running away and becoming a prostitute when his family is ruined. It then turns out the viscount was impotent and Saki's actually the son of a prostitute who he sheltered in order to appear to have an heir.
- In The Gentlemen's Alliance, Haine is poor and Shizumasa is rich. Slightly inverted in that Haine is not poor in any real sense; she's just significantly less wealthy than Shizumasa. Still, it plays just as the trope is described.
- In Hanakage No Kioku, Laurent is a butler who has been with Arthur's family since childhood, and initially rejects Arthur because of his status. Arthur's friend from school also tries to romance Laurent.
- Subverted in Hana Wa Junai Ni Junjiru, where Tsubaki (presumably lower class himself) is being trained to be a high-class prostitute serving only the nobility and Daniel is a gardener at the manor. Daniel works to be knighted just so he can be with Tsubaki, but his fixation on class causes even more tension because Tsubaki doesn't want to be associated with the noblility's prostitute system and would rather Daniel had run away with him when they were kids.
- Hana Yori Dango (although it's a bit more complicated than that, obviously).
- To elaborate: Tsukasa Domiyouji is a rich bully who falls in love with the poor-as-dirt Tsukushi Makino. Depending on where you are in the series, she either loves his rich friend Rui Hanazawa, and it's difficult to tell what goes on in his head. Later in the series it revolves around the problems associated with Tsukasa and Tsukushi being together since he's the heir to a super-rich corporation and she's just a Japanese commoner.
- The Beta Couple of Soujiro and Yuuki also counts, still with the guy as the Uptown Girl and the girl as the pauper.
- Hayate the Combat Butler: A little one-sided, at least at the start, as Nagi (the rich girl) has become infatuated with the extremely-poor Hayate after he saves her from kidnappers. She saves him from his (parents') debt, and he ends up serving her as a Battle Butler to pay her back. For her, it seems to be mostly just an excuse to keep him around.
- Lina from Heroman comes from a rich-looking family while Joey looks really poor, although this fact isn't brought up at all, although it was hinted at by Lina's dad.
- Howl's Moving Castle: Sophie (middle-class) and Howl (famous wizard).
- Akiko Hashou from Kasei Yakyoku is very attracted to Taka, a young man affiliated to the Yakuza, and thus she's the the uptown girl to him.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Konoka and her bodyguard Setsuna. An obstacle in their relationship is that Setsuna feels unworthy of Konoka because she is a commoner while Konoka is a blue-blood.
- Zigzagged in Maiden Rose. Taki is second-in-line to the throne in his own country. When Taki and Klaus first meet Klaus is of the nobility. Eventually Klaus' family lose that status because the monarchy is dissolved when the country falls to the Western Alliance, placing him in the wealthy middle class. Later, when Klaus becomes Taki's knight, he has to renounce his country, his name and status and becomes the lowest of the low in Taki's country. Their romance has been developing through all of this, but really comes into force after Klaus has lost his upper-class status.
- Maid-Sama!: Misaki (poor girl working at a maid cafe) and Usui (rich boy attending the same school she does). Previously, Usui's parents.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has Saji Crossroad, a poor Unlucky Everydude, fall for Louise Halevy, a Spoiled Sweet tsundere, whose family is implied to be extremely wealthy and influential. The series seems to subvert the expectation that Louise's family would be hostile to Saji, as Louise's mother quickly takes to him, especially after hearing that he's an orphan, and basically treats him like a second child (which actually makes Louise jealous, a reaction played for comedy). Unfortunately, the series has a large dose of Break the Cutie for both of them. Starting with the massacre of Louise's entire family, at which point this trope becomes the least of their problems.
- Mr Kayashimas Graceful Life features an emotionally stunted Upper-Class Twit whose only real interest in life is his relationship with his gardener.
- Naruto: Played with in regards to Naruto and Hinata. Hinata is (or was) the heiress of the Hyuuga Clan and probably the closest Konoha had to a princess after Tsunade left, while Naruto was the village pariah. However, by the time their romance actually starts (seeing as it took years for Naruto to acknowledge Hinata's feelings), he had already become the Homegrown Hero who had saved the world, along with (presumably) being revealed as the son of the Fourth Hokage. Even if anyone wanted to object a relationship between them, they couldn't because Naruto's credentials and achievements far outstripped any possible obstacles in regards to his social status. In fact, one could easily argue that Hinata is the one marrying above her station.
- Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu centers around this. The titular Nogizaka Haruka is the daughter of a ludicrous wealthy and powerful family, and the lower-middle-class Ayase Yuuto initially winds up as her confidant when he accidentally discovers her deep, dark secret... that she's an anime & manga otaku! As they spend time together, however, a relationship blooms - initially a type-1, but as Yuuto realizes just HOW wealthy her family is, and what kind of powerful people she usually rubs elbows with (not to mention what kind of men are actively pursuing marriage with her), he slips into a type-3 as he starts to feel 'unworthy' of her. Her father agrees, but who knows? Maybe there's a way for him to gain their respect...
- Haru is the heiress to the Jigokumeguri zaibatsu. Tsurezure is upper middle class at best. People comment on how weird it is, but nobody seems to have a problem with it (Haru's father even seems to be a Shipper on Deck).
- Gender Inverted with Akane (same social status as Tsurezure) and Chris (British noble), although neither of them has gotten around to confessing yet.
- Ouran High School Host Club: Tamaki (rich boy attending a private school) and Haruhi (a commoner Scholarship Student).
- Also Tamaki's parents with his father being the rich one, and his mother being poor due to her family's business failure and debt.
- Sasameki Koto: Tomoe's wealthy family objects not only to the fact she's dating a servant's child but also to the fact Tomoe and her loved one are both girls. However, they cannot do anything about it because of the reward Tomoe's grandfather gave as thanks for saving the family's finances.
- The Secret Agreement contains examples of both wealth and class differences, with Iori being the only male heir to an increasingly poor but noble family and set to marry into a wealthier but less respectable family for their mutual benefit. Meanwhile his actual lover is a former Street Urchin and fears if Iori marries he'll never see Iori again because the family won't need him to quietly sell off their possessions anymore (the only reason their friendship was tolerated in the first place).
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: Sakura (princess) and Syaoran (middle class).
- In Tsukigasa, Azuma's family is loaded, whereas Kuroe is of a slightly more modest background.
- In Victorian Romance Emma is an example where the gender is switched. Emma, an orphan maid, is pursued by, and falls in mutual love with, William Jones, a wealthy member of the upper-class gentry. In this case it's a matter of the third version of this trope, with Emma thinking that her lack of refinement and rank will only hurt William's station and cause trouble for him if they were to marry. The Parental Marriage Veto doesn't help matters. They get married anyway. It's played straight with William and Eleanor, the daughter of a broke viscount who wants her to marry into the Nouveau Riche Joneses to restore their fortune. William's father wants him to marry Eleanor to improve their social status.
- Due to their supernatural connection, after Mikhail forces Kiri to become his servant, they begin a physical relationship which eventually evolves into a romantic one in Wild Rose.
- In You're Under Arrest!, two girls in the cast get marriage proposals from uptown guys: Yoriko gets one from Rebel Prince Saki Abdusha) and Aoi is given another by Idol Singer Gorou. In a subversion, each girl rejects her beau's affections — Yoriko, because Saki is a foreign prince who might die since his Qurac-like nation is torn bt civil war; Aoi, because she simply isn't interested in Gorou beyond friendship.
- Archie and Veronica from Archie Comics. (But not Archie and Betty, because Betty is a Girl Next Door).
- Legion of Super-Heroes. Tinya Wazzo (Phantom Girl) is the daughter of a rich, high-society family. Jo Nah (Ultra Boy) is a former gang member who lived on the streets.
- In Maus, Vladek Speigleman was working class, albeit very resourceful. He ended up marrying Anya, the daughter of a millionaire.
- Inverted in Nikolai Dante - Galya is a poor peasant girl, while Viktor is a member of the aristocratic Romanov family. Dmitri doesn't take it well.
- Spider-Man. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. He's a poor kid from Queens trying to help his Aunt May pay the bills and make rent. She's a well to do high society girl whose father, a retired NYPD captain, hangs around media tycoon J. Jonah Jameson and industrialist Norman Osborn. This is always forgotten with everyone remembering Gwen as The Girl Next Door
- General: Almost any fanfic pairing the aristocratic Inspector Lynley and his working-class partner Sergeant Havers will inevitably have to deal in some fashion with their wide social disparity.
- In the Katawa Shoujo fanfic Lilly Epilogue Family Matters, Mr. Satou disapproves of Hisao for, among other factors (his disability being most prominent), being a "middle class bumpkin". Fridge Logic ensues when you realize that he married a journalist, but he later admits that he wanted to believe that Hisao was unworthy of Lilly and that she would be better off in Scotland, so it's possible he was looking for reasons that might reflect badly on Hisao.
- Xiaolin Showdown: Raimundo and Kimiko.
- At one point in Infinity, a princess named Amnestra was mentioned who was in love with a guard. She herself has very little to do with the plot (and had been dead for tens of thousands of years) but Nanoha brought her up as a method of psychological warfare while fighting Tsukuyomi (and proof that Amaterasu hadn't been captured but rather willingly come to her for help).
- General: There are quite a few fairy tales of the poor nobody youngest son winning the hand of the princess. Sometimes it lasts, sometimes it ends badly. In general, if it's gender-reversed (as in "The Goose Girl") the girl is a really a princess herself, who has been driven to a life of poverty, usually by a wicked stepmother.
- The tale of Aladdin: it's firmly in the Zany Scheme category, with Aladdin going to enormous lengths to get the rich princess.
- The Disney version is a mixture of the second and third, "insecure about his poverty," variety, as well as having the Princess desire to leave the palace and live on her own.
- From The Brothers Grimm: "Die Kluge Bauerntochter" ("The Peasant's Wise Daughter").
Film - Animation
- Anastasia: Dmitri (a kitchen boy-turned conman) and Anastasia (Grand Duchess and daughter of the Tzar). Played with as for most of the film and when they fall in love, they're both penniless orphans and she's unaware of her identity. Then they find out the truth and Dmitri goes into Heroic B.S.O.D. knowing his feelings are no longer acceptable and he's not good enough for her.
- Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses - Royal Cobbler Derek loves Princess Genevieve but doesn't believe he has any chances with her. "She's a Princess."
- Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper: Anneliese is a princess. Julian come from a family so poor they could only pay the rent for one room. Erika is an indentured servant. Dominick is a king, and so wealthy that the queen decides Anneliese should marry him just for his money. Serafina is a pampered cat who lives in a palace. Wolfie is a street-smart cat...dog...sort of guy.
- Cinderella (a servant girl-turned princess) and Prince Charming (guess).
- Lady and the Tramp: She's the pedigreed pet of a well-to-do family, he's a streetwise stray mutt.
- The Aristocats has pampered pet cat Duchess and laid-back alley cat Thomas O'Malley.
- Robin Hood: "An outlaw for an in-law!"
- Aladdin (a "street rat") and Princess Jasmine (the daughter of the local Sultan).
- In Disney's Tarzan, Jane is a London girl. Tarzan literally lives with gorillas. She ends up loving life in the jungle far more than life in the city.
- The Emperor's New School has Kuzco, a cocky young South American emperor, and Malina, a beautiful peasant girl.
- The Princess and the Frog - Tiana's a relatively poor woman who dreams of carrying on her father's dreams and owning her own restaurant, whilst Naveen is the rich prince of a made-up country with a league of fangirls and media attention. Something of an inversion, as it's the upper-class Naveen who has to "win" the lower-class Tiana, and he's been cut off from the family fortune in any case.
- Tangled has Rapunzel, the lost princess, and Flynn Rider a.k.a. Eugene Fitzherbert, an orphan turned thief. Neither of them know she's the princess for quite some time, though.
- Frozen has Princess Anna of Arendelle and Kristoff, a simple ice harvester.
- Antz has a lowly worker ant pretending to be a soldier to impress a princess. It's also inverted with a female worker ant who forms a relationship with a member of the soldier caste.
- Shrek and Fiona. He's an ogre, she's a princess. At the end of the film, Fiona too becomes an ogre so that she can remain with Shrek forever.
- A Bug's Life features a similar plot, but without a romance element.
- Prince Chen from The Legend Of Su Ling is a male variety. Su-Ling had no idea that he's the son of the infamous emperor until she's almost forced to marry him.
- Elly and Tom from The Water Babies (1978). She's the niece of a lord and he's a street urchin so they couldn't be further apart socially.
Film - Live Action
- In ATL, poor aspiring artist Rashad meets mysterious girl New-New at a skating rink. He doesn't know much about her background, but eventually finds out that New-New is filthy rich and her real name is Erin.
- Claire and Bender from The Breakfast Club play it straight.
- In Daddy Long-Legs, the orphan Jerusha "Judy" Abbott ends up with her rich benefactor.
- Gender-reversed in Drag Me to Hell. Christine is clearly from humbler roots than wealthy Clay and the whole plot is caused in part because she wants a promotion to measure up to his family.
- The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: Upon learning about Wilma's financial status, Fred felt the trope's weight and feared not to be good enough for her. That helped Chip on his plan to get rid of Fred.
- The Howards of Virginia is an example from colonial Virginia, played straight.
- In the Iron Man series, while Pepper Potts is not exactly poor, she is nowhere near the social circles her multi-millionaire playboy boss Tony Stark is in. By the end of the second movie, they're going steady.
- It Takes Two: Diane believed rich guys like Roger would never marry people like her. They got together at the end.
- In Jumping the Broom, while Jason is not poor, he came from a poor background and made his money by himself. His fiance Sabrina comes from old money, however, and this is the basis of the plot.
- The love subplot between Daniel and Ali in The Karate Kid (1984) is this. Daniel's mom doesn't even have enough money to replace the Alleged Car they drive. Ali's parents are rich enough to attend country club.
- In The King and the Clown the King's fixation with a male street clown is a major point of contention in the court and used to help justify their coup. The King's Hot Consort Nok-su is implied to also have caused friction for being lower class, but Nok-su is better at court intrigue than Gong-gil is.
- In A Knight's Tale, William tries to get his Blue Blooded love interest to face the realities of life with him, a destitute fugitive from the law.
William: Where will we live? In my hovel, with the pigs inside during the winter so they won't freeze?Jocelyn: [crying] Yes, William...with the pigs.
- The Lover (or L'Amant) is a 1992 French film based on the novel of the same name by Marguerite Duras. Set in French Indo-China in 1929, it depicts the illicit affair between a fifteen-year old French girl from an impoverished family and her wealthy Chinese lover — as a result the trope applies to both parties due to the racial/social divide.
- Love Story is another gender-swapped example.
- The 1925 version of The Merry Widow features Prince Danilo getting engaged to show girl Sally O'Hara, but being pressured by the King and Queen into giving up his romance.
- In Nanny McPhee Returns, we see that the mother was from a wealthy family and ended up being Happily Married to a farmer. When her brother describes her as having made an "unfortunate marriage", her son is not pleased.
- In The Notebook Allie's parents think that Noah isn't good enough for her because he works at the lumber mill.
- Frequently seen in most Nicholas Sparks books and movies, occasionally with the boy being the rich one.
- The first three Pirates of the Caribbean films have Elizabeth Swann (the Governor's daughter) and Will Turner (blacksmith's apprentice).
- Peach Blossom Weeps Tears Of Blood is a Chinese silent film about a tenant farmer's daughter falling in love with the son of the wealthy woman who owns the land the tenant farmer works. The wealthy mom categorically refuses to allow the match, and tragedy ensues.
- Pretty in Pink is another gender-reversed example.
- Pretty Woman has a rich man and a sex worker fall in love.
- Say Anything.... The image of Lloyd Dobbler standing across the street from Diane Court's house, holding a boom-box over his head has pretty much become a romantic icon.
- In Some Kind of Wonderful, the poor guy pursues the rich girl, but eventually ends up with his best friend.
- Splendor in the Grass is a gender-swapped example, where true love eventually doesn't overcome the obstacles.
- Star Wars: You'd think a former street kid and smuggler would consider the Princess of Alderaan and high-ranking Rebel commander well out of his league. But Han can be very persuasive when he wants to be.
- Titanic (1997): Rose DeWitt Bukater is, in Jack's words, a spoiled brat and an indoor girl, while he sleeps under bridges and goes where he pleases.
- Wild at Heart has Lula Fortune, with her lover Sailor Ripley being from a much poorer background and recently released from jail as the film begins.
- General: A staple in Shannon Hale's books, though often toyed with and subverted. Crown Prince Geric falls in love with a goose girl, Isi in The Goose Girl—she is actually the princess he is betrothed to, but at the time, neither of them know that. In Book of a Thousand Days a Mucker, or commoner, named Dashti falls in love with her mistress's betrothed, Kahn Tegus, while he thinks she is her mistress, the Lady Saren. Lady Saren never loved him, and he never loved her, so Saren exacts her right to the betrothal for her "sister" Dashti. In the Princess Academy series, this is enforced—the Prince must marry a girl from the poor mountain village where Miri grew up, according to a vision from the seers. All the girls train to be proper ladies, and Miri spends some time hoping to be the princess. in the end, the Prince chooses another girl, Britta, who turns out to have been his childhood best friend sent by her lesser-noble parents to the village so she could marry him. in the second book, Miri is elevated to Noblewoman, and becomes engaged to her childhood friend who remains a commoner. Britta, after her parent's treason is discovered, is stripped of her title and so marries the Prince as a commoner
- Given an interesting twist in 1632. On the surface, it's obvious which is which regarding "James Nichols, doctor from Chicago" and "Melissa Mailey, rural West Virginia schoolteacher" — but the doctor from Chicago grew up on the streets in that city's roughest gang and only joined the Marines after being offered a choice between service and prison time, and the West Virginia schoolteacher is actually a scion of the Boston Brahmins. This plays an important role in the plot.
- Eddie Cantrell, high school kid turned navy lieutenant, with the king's daughter Anne Cathrine of Denmark in 1634: The Baltic War. Another one with an interesting twist: the two's Shotgun Wedding was actually engineered by her father — aka the king of Denmark — because he wanted a son-in-law with knowledge of uptime technology.
- Sarah Wendell von Uptime from the Barbie Consortium and 1635: The Viennese Waltz short story compilation and novel was engaged to Imperial Prince Karl von Liechtenstein, which had to be a morganatic marriage, even though she was extremely wealthy. Good thing loads of money can earn you favours from the emperor of a broke empire.
- Working-class Adrian Mole and his aristocratic first wife Jo Jo.
- Adrian's most consistent love interest Pandora Braithwaite also counts as this, as do his exes Daisy Flowers and Pamela Pigg. Adrian himself was once an Uptown Guy to Sharon Bott (described by him as "lower-working/underclass")
- Robbie Turner and Cecelia Tallis from Atonement definitely fall into the "friends their whole lives" category. He's the son of a servant and she's the daughter of the wealthy family.
- Tennyson's The Beggar Maid: "Cophetua sware a royal oath: 'This beggar maid shall be my queen'" (This was itself based on an old ballad, The King and the Beggar-maiden.)
- The same author's The Lord of Burleigh.
- Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians has Astrid Leong, a rich, fashionable, and beautiful heiress coming from two extremely wealthy and powerful Singaporean Old Money families and her husband Michael Teo, a middle class who owns a start-up. Subverted in the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, when his start-up becomes so successful, (after unknowingly bought by Astrid's ex, a tech biilionaire, in order to make her and Michael equal after they almost split up due to their contrasting social status) he ends up being a billionaire.
- Captain Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil Ramkin (subsequently Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil Vimes) in Discworld, although older than the usual examples of the trope. The resultant class dynamics lead to Vimes being seen as "a jumped-up copper to the nobs, and a nob to the rest".
- Jessica Day George's Dragon Slippers has a dressmaker fall for the second born Prince of her kingdom. after they save the kingdom, the King offers to marry her to his son. his OLDER son. Creel rejects the offer
- This is a subplot in the Robert Westall book Fathom Five.
- Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus chronicles the ill-fated romance between working-class librarian Neil Klugman and upper-middle-class Jewish American Princess Brenda Patimkin.
- The Great Gatsby: Gatsby and Daisy, which is why Gatsby was so determined to become rich, so he would be more worthy of her. Unfortunately, even after he's a wealthy guy he's a new money wealthy guy so the field still isn't even.
- In The Grimnoir Chronicles we have Faye, a poorer-than-dirt Okie girl falling for Francis, who is heir to one of the wealthiest companies in the world, and he with her. Neither is exactly sure what the other sees in them.
- In Harry Potter:
- Harry isn't obscenely upper class, but he's very well-off and, by his sixth year, is pretty popular. He ultimately marries Ginny Weasley, who is from a poor "blood traitor" family.
- Hermione Granger, whom Word of God says is from a well-to-do Oxford family, and her marriage to Ginny's brother Ron. To the haughty purebloods like the Malfoys, Blacks, and Yaxley it would be the other way around. While Ron might be from a dirt poor and ridiculed family he is still a pureblood and Hermione is a muggleborn, the lowest of the low to them, except for muggles.
- In the Honor Harrington series, the monarch of Manticore is required by law to marry a commoner.
- The Horse and His Boy plays with this. At first Shasta is essentially an orphan slave boy and Aravis is a very high-level noblewoman. It's reversed when Shasta is revealed to be Prince Cor of Archenland and Aravis finds herself essentially a refugee. It ends evened out when she's invited to become a lady at court, and they don't get married until years later.
- In The Hunger Games Katniss' mother was part of the merchant class while her father was part of the lower class people living in the Seam. She left her more financially secure home in the merchant district to live poorly in the Seam with him. Eventually her daughter would do the opposite. Katniss, born and raised in the Seam, married Peeta, a member of the merchant class.
- Journey to Chaos:
- Annala's family is pretty high status in Dnnac Ledo (her mom is an R&D company CEO, her dad's an ambassador, and her aunt is the police chief) while Eric is a Blue-Collar Warlock whose only family is his guild. Little attention is brought to this fact because it's overshadowed by other factors. Her family encourages it because of his devotion to her; the only one to object is her twin, who wouldn't accept anyone on principle.
- Nolien and Tiza; he's the heir to one of Ataidar's Four Pillars and she is an "alley cat" orphan. Any objections to their not-quite-there-yet relationship were cancelled when Tiza demonstrated that she was only one with enough Power of Love to restore Nolien's sanity after he mana mutated.
- Kindling Ashes: Corran is the son of a noble and Tilda is the daughter of a tutor. He has to disguise himself as a merchant's son just to met her.
- This is the major source of dramatic conflict in Lady Chatterley's Lover, where the well-bred lady of the gentry takes up with the gardener. Played with and doubled in that she was a Rags to Riches story herself, having been working-class before marrying her rich husband Lord Chatterley.
- In Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series Alek is rich and Deryn is poor but it's a lot more complicated than that. Alek is the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (see his entry in Real Life below) via his morganatic marriagge and a potential heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne though he is not currently in he line of succession. Deryn the plucky English middie is a Sweet Polly Oliver, "as common as barking dirt", and technically his enemy since they're in the middle of World War One. Unfortunately, he told Deryn before The Reveal of her true gender and unaware she's in love with him) that if he ever loved a commoner, he'd immediately put as much distance between them as possible because he refuses to put his own children through what he had to go through as a virtual, if not actual, Noble Bastard. It takes them a while to get past that misunderstanding,though by the end of the third book he wouldn't trade Deryn for any throne
- Little Women: One of the March sisters is expected to marry their rich neighbor Laurie by the locals, since the four girls are good friends to him. (In fact, they openly wonder if Marmee is training Meg and Jo to be gold diggers, which disgusts them greatly since they like Laurie as a person). In the sequel, Laurie marries the youngest of the sisters, Amy. (Who had already refused to marry another rich guy.)
- Discussed by the end of the first book, too. When Aunt March finds out that Meg's being courted by Laurie's tutor John Brooke, she thinks he's a Gold Digger who wants to marry Meg solely because she's got rich relatives and attempts a marriage veto. This causes Meg's Love Epiphany, and she refuses the Aunt's words.
- The star-crossed Official Couple of The Mark of the Lion trilogy: Marcus is a wealthy Blue Blood and Hadassah is his sister's slave. A shorter-lived, less cute example is Marcus’ sister Julia and Atretes, a slave (albeit something of a celebrity because of his successful gladiator status).
- In Maurice, after a failed platonic romance with Clive, Maurice has sex with the under-gamekeeper at Clive's estate. Their class difference even more than their homosexuality is what nearly stops them from pursuing a real relationship.
- Similarly, in A Room With A View, Lucy has a choice between Cecil, who is of her own class, and George Emerson, who is of a lower class (and particularly prone to behaviour inappropriate for Lucy's class).
- The Noughts & Crosses series is based on this, though the books have their own class system where the dark-skinned Crosses dominate the fair-skinned Noughts.
- One Day reverses the genders with wealthy upper-class Dexter and the more modestly brought-up Emma in a Will They or Won't They? situation.
- Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry is this, with Brittany Ellis (rich, privileged white girl) and Alejandro "Alex" Fuentes (poverty-class, Latino, in a gang). The town they live in heavily segregates between the north side (upper class) and the south side (lower class).
- P. G. Wodehouse liked to parody this trope. The in-universe romance novels by "Rosie M. Banks" were entirely centered around romances of this kind, and brimming with Stylistic Suck.
- Although most adaptations gloss over or ignore the fact, the aristocratic Raoul pursuing a marriage with opera singer Christine in
- The Phantom of the Opera is rather unorthodox and a source of major contention between Raoul and his older brother Philippe. The public, unaware that there's a criminally insane Stalker with a Crush in the mix, assume the mystery surrounding the young couple's fate has something to do with the brothers' falling out.
- In The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, there is a story about a young French woman named Victorine who came from a wealthy family and had a relationship with a poor journalist named Julienne. They had to break it off because her Blueblood family was pressuring her to marry a rich banker...which she did. The banker in question abused her, and she (apparently) died. Julienne stopped by her grave to get a lock of her hair as a memento, and found that she was still alive! He nursed her back to health, and they eloped to America together. Upon returning to France some 20 years later, a court ruled that she was now legally married to Julienne and not the banker guy, because of the unusual circumstances.
- Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine throws a hissy fit over someone as (relatively) low-class as Elizabeth marrying Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth wins this by exposing Lady Catherine not as a snob, but an idiot: "He is a gentleman. I am a gentleman's daughter. So far, we are equal." Which is absolutely true. Mr. Bennett is a landowner, an esquire, just like Darcy (he just owns less, or less profitable land); they are of exactly the same social class. That some modern readers fail to understand that 'class' in the 1790s was defined by where your money came from, not how much you made, is understandable, but for Lady Catherine to forget it (or at least expect Elizabeth not to realize it) makes her a complete ass as well as a bully.
- Lady Catherine's opinion on Lizzy's class was not, at the time, uncommon. While technically Darcy and Mr Bennett are of the same social class, the former is descended from a very old and wealthy landowning family on one side and straight-out nobility on the other. Mr Bennett is a landowner, if a rather small one; but his and his wife's relatives are merchants and lawyers. To Lady Catherine, a peer both by birth and marriage, the idea of having Darcy bring a niece of merchants and lawyers into her family would be utterly repugnant. It helps that she already has plans for him to marry a noblewoman and keep all the wealth in the family.
- In The Princess Bride. Buttercup gets made princess of a tiny area so that Prince Humperdinck can marry her. This also puts her socially above Westley who used to work as her farmhand before becoming a pirate captain.
- Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball has a romance between soldier-turned-gardener named Galen and the crown princess, Rose. He undertakes the quest to discover what's going on with the princess's shoes, but curiously offers to go without the Standard Reward of a princess's hand in marriage, not wanting to force Rose to marry him.
- In the Provost's Dog books of the Tortall Universe, Guardsman Mattes Tunstall gets together with Lady Sabine of Macayhill She's much happier in the company of Dogs than her fellow nobles. It eats at him enough that he turns traitor for the sake of a title in Mastiff.
- Salli and Alinadar from The Red Vixen Adventures, the former being a noblevixen and the latter a female Commoner with a bad case of Bodyguard Crush
- Sarah Biddle, the orphaned housekeeper and David Braddock, the wealthy Philadelphia businessman, during the late 1800s in Stephanie Grace Whitson's Sarah's Patchwork, the first book in her Keepsake Legacies series.
- The Sherlock Holmes story A Scandal in Bohemia has the "rich guy, common girl" romance with the Prince of Bohemia and Miss Irene Adler. Used to show how superior the resourceful and clever Miss Adler is to her 'superior':
"From what I have seen of the lady, she seems, indeed, to be on a very different level to Your Majesty," said Holmes, coldly.
- Then there's Watson and Mary Morstan in The Sign of Four. He thinks she's too far above him because they think she has a huge inheritance coming. After they find out she doesn't, he feels free to court and marry her.
- Ship Breaker seems to be setting this up between light crew ship breaker, Nailer, and Nita, whose father is one of the richest men in the world. Nothing's happened yet, but there's been lots of Ship Tease and one kiss so we'll see...
- Subverted a few times in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Ser Jorah Mormont may be the son and heir-apparent of a lord, but his father's the lord of a remote, barren island in the Grim Up North. Nonetheless, he sets his sights on the daughter of a wealthy house from the cosmopolitan south. He catches her eye after winning a major tournament and successfully negotiates the Standard Hero Reward from her father, and she happily marries this dashing young knight. A fairy tale ending, right? Not quite. Used to the culture of one of the oldest and largest cities in the world, she quickly finds herself bored out of her skull in his remote castle. He bankrupts himself on lavish entertainments to try to keep her happy and winds up on the wrong side of the law. They flee across the sea and he becomes a sellsword and is now even poorer, and she ultimately leaves him and becomes a high-priced prostitute. Things go From Bad to Worse for poor Jorah when he sets his sights even higher: on Daenerys "Stormborn" Targaryen, the Unburnt, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, many other titles to follow.
- Then there's Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. Even poorer than Mormont, a lordling only by courtesy, heir to a rundown keep, a flock of sheep, a couple dozen peasants and some rocks, he's sent as a boy to be fostered by Hoster Tully, Lord Paramount of the Riverlands and becomes childhood friends, and eventually falls in love, with his eldest daughter. Unfortunately, she's slated for an Arranged Marriage to a Jerk Jock from one of the Great Houses. Petyr, head full of stories of plucky young heroes winning the hearts of fair maidens against all odds, challenges him to a duel. He barely makes it out with his life, and the girl he feels entitled to winds up in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with another man. He does later marry her equally Uptown Girl sister, but it's a loveless charade and he ends up pushing her out a window.
- In the Song of the Lioness quartet, this technically happens with Alanna (a knight who's from one of the oldest noble families in Tortall) and George (commoner who became the King of Thieves), though by time they get married, George has been given the title of baron and an estate for his services to the Crown (and to make things easier when he has function as the Crown Spymaster).
- Yukio Mishima's The Sound of Waves has a poor boy falling in love with a rich girl, and her father doesn't approve and there's Malicious Gossip and all that. The boy eventually gains the father's approval by going out on one of his fishing boats and saving it from being wrecked in a storm.
- In Spy High, wealthy Ben is initially drawn to the equally privileged Lori; but his true love turns out to be wrong-side-of-the-tracks Cally.
- Sweet Valley High had a few examples of this, such as one book where a visiting European prince falls for blue-collar Dana. There's also the spin-off Elizabeth series where Elizabeth goes to London and falls in love with an aristocrat while working as a servant at his manor house.
- The first client of Tommy and Tuppence as Blunt's Brilliant Detectives is an Upper-Class Twit called Lawrence St Vincent, who is in love with a girl who works in a hat shop, and wants them to investigate her mysterious disappearance. It turns out to all be a Zany Scheme to get him to notice her, hatched by Tuppence without Tommy's knowledge. Later stories establish that they got married.
- Twilight. Bella's working or middle class. The Cullens are wealthy (its easy to make money if you're immortal and a smart investor) so regardless of which it still counts.
Live Action TV
- General: Virtually all Latin American soap operas are built around the rich guy, poor girl dynamic.
- General: A favorite trope of soap operas, played with both genders. In particular, supercouple Angie and Jessie of All My Children were constantly kept apart by her disapproving father who felt that street kid Jesse was going to ruin his daughter's life. Meanwhile, their counterparts Greg and Jenny were frequently tripped up by his snobby mother. Some storylines twisted it even further and had the poor boy's/girls's family interfere, ostensibly to protect their child from being snubbed, but truthfully because they are the ones to look down on the rich people for supposedly having had their money handed to them as opposed to the blue-collar people who have to actually work for it.
- 2 Broke Girls: In season 2, Andy, the owner of a candy store across Max and Caroline's cupcake shop, falls for Caroline, until he learns about Caroline's last name and feels intimidated by her former life as a wealthy socialite, even though Caroline is now actually penniless due to her father's Ponzi Scheme scandal.
- The princess Arabela is the beautiful young daughter of King Hyacint, ruler of the Fairy Tale Kingdom. Her suitor Petr is a normal human student.
- Episode 2 of the third season of Ashes to Ashes specifically references this trope via a Big Lipped Alligator Moment which doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny. Rich girl Alex and downtown boy Gene replace Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley in the music video for "Uptown Girl" itself (with Ray, Chris, and Background Cop #3 filling in as backup singers). Despite Alex and Gene's obvious Belligerent Sexual Tension, things never got past a kiss.
- Not to mention Gene's favourite nickname for Alex: "Bolls/Bolly/Bollinger Knickers". Bollinger is a type of champagne.
- Also emphasised in 3.2 with the dating agency forms, when Alex's favourite meal is "roast foie gras with gooseberry, braised konbu and crab biscuit" which she had whilst on holiday in northern France, whereas Gene's is steak and chips.
- From the Blackadder episode "Amy and Amiability":
H: Can it be possibly true? Surely love has never crossed such boundaries of class? (clutches Amy's hand)A: But what about you and Mum?H: Well, yes I grant thee when I first met her I was the farmer's son and she was just the lass who ate the dung, but that was an exception.A: And Aunty Dot and Uncle Ted.H: Yes, yes alright, he was a pig poker and she was the Duchess of Argyle, but-A: And Aunty Ruth and Uncle Isaiah, she was a milkmaid and he was-H: The Pope! Yes, yes, all right.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this happened between Lovable Alpha Bitch Cordelia and working-class nerd Xander.
- There's a gender-reversed element of this in the developing relationship between millionaire playboy mystery writer Richard Castle and working-stiff police officer Kate Beckett.
- Interestingly, they both were on equal footing during their childhoods. Castle went to boarding school, and his family was only moderately wealthy; Beckett attended a prestigious high school and probably would have had even more opportunities had her lawyer mother not been murdered.
- The relationship between Woody the bartender and the millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines.
- Sam and Diane were the series's first example, despite the fact that Diane only acts like an uptown girl. Rebecca, both as the corporate Iron Lady, and then later as the simpering Yuppie Butt Monkey, managed to subvert this trope.
- Dharma and Greg has a lot of similarity to the poor-guy rich-girl story type, but is actually an aversion in that, though Dharma's parents live the hippy lifestyle, they aren't doing that badly for themselves financially.
- Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert in A Different World definitely fits here, Dwayne being the college nerd Everyman and Whitley the upper crust snob. Dwayne didn't start pursuing her until Season 3, but from there it was pretty much your average sitcom relationship, starting with Type 2 and progressing to Type 1 and eventually marriage through a course of break-ups and 'desperately in love with you' revelations.
- There's Double Secret Subversion in Dirty Sexy Money. Ultra-rich Jeremey Darling meets a beautiful woman named Sofia while temporarily working as a valet in one of his family's business. He falls in love with her, then pretends to be a starving artist to prove to himself he can win her over without disclosing his real identity as (essentially) an Upper-Class Twit. The story doubles up on this trope because Jeremy was the poor boy going after the rich girl, when it was the girl who was the poor (well, okay, comparatively poorer) one all along.
- Downton Abbey:
- Lady Sybil, the earl's youngest daughter, and Branson, the family's Irish socialist chauffeur. After they marry and Sybil dies in childbirth, he briefly became an Uptown Guy for Miss Sarah Bunting.
- Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley would count. Although he's a third cousin of the earl and is the family's only remaining heir, he is middle class; a source of friction in the first series. When Matthew briefly becomes engaged to Lavinia Swire, Mary has a courtship with self-made Sir Richard Carlisle who, although considered a gentleman, is distinctly not of her class.
- Lady Edith and newspaper editor Michael Gregson.
- Rosamund Painswick's late husband was a very wealthy banker, but had no title and was the grandson of a merchant. The Dowager Countess comments that, although not quite a "rough diamond", he was "cut and polished comparatively recently."
- In series four, Lady Rose becomes engaged to Jack Ross, an African-American jazz singer. Aside from the scandal surrounding such an interracial relationship, Mary points out that his being a jazz singer is almost equally as shocking to polite society. Rose later marries Atticus Aldridge who, like Rosamund's husband, is very wealthy but has no title (and is also considered of a lower class because his family is Jewish.)
- Mallory and Nick from Family Ties.
- One of the most popular sketches of The Fast Show was based around lord of the manor Ralph and his incredibly awkward affections for lower-class handyman Ted.
- Firefly: Even if it stayed in the realm of UST, it was very obvious that rancher's-son-turned-enlisted soldier-turned-smuggler Mal Reynolds was very much smitten with Inara Serra, a very high-class courtesan that he probably wouldn't have been able to afford a night with if he hocked the ship. There is also an element of this with Simon and Kaylee in that he was a rich surgeon while she was a farmgirl mechanical genius. However in their case he isn't rich at the time of the series as he gave up everything to save his sister, though his upper class background is still an element of friction.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Geoffrey fell in love with a woman who moved next to the Banks' mansion. Everything was right until he learned she's rich instead of a servant. What really troubled him wasn't her money but her social class.
- In Game of Thrones, Gendry, a bastard armorer's apprentice and Arya Stark. In Season 3's "Kissed By Fire", Gendry decides to remain with the outlaw group The Brotherhood Without Banners, instead of continuing on to Riverrun where Arya's highborn family rule.
Gendry: These men are brothers, they’re family. I’ve never had a family.Arya: I can be your family!Gendry: You wouldn’t be my family. You’d be m'lady.
- Many of the main characters' boyfriends in Hot In Cleveland are this trope. While the ladies aren't crazy rich they are used to the much more upscale lifestyle of Hollywood. In the pilot episode Melanie can't stop gushing about how the first guy she hooked up with is a plumber and all of the women talk about how they always wanted to date guys who would "actually know how to fix stuff."
- Jeeves and Wooster plays around with the trope. One of Bertie's friends wants to marry a waitress. To convince his uncle that it's a good idea, he makes him read romance novels where chambermaids end up marrying their masters.
- Desmond and Penny, on Lost. Also Jin and Sun.
- Pete and Trudy Campbell on Mad Men are an example of this trope. Trudy's parents are actually quite wealthy, but they are new money, in contrast to Pete's being a WASP. However, this is never shown as a conflict, and not even really explored.
- There are a few other examples: a gender-swapped one with Pete and working-class Peggy Olson in the 1st and 2nd seasons (though this os never pointed out) and Don and Betty were this trope during their marriage, since Don was raised on a farm in contrast to Betty who was raised in a Pennsylvania Main Line society.
- Malcolm in the Middle. Hal comes from a very rich family that openly hate Lois.
- The Nanny: Gender flipped with rich Broadway producer Maxwell and working-class Fran (the titular nanny).
- In the last season, Rich Bitch C.C. Babcock and Niles the butler.
- Gender flipped with Gwen and Arthur in the BBC show Merlin. Not to mention he is royalty and she is a servant.
- Ryan and Marissa. This is the primary storyline for the first half of The O.C..
- Regina and Daniel in Once Upon a Time. This is firmly in the "mutually fall in love, and people around them conspire to interfere with True Love," category. She's the daughter of a wealthy family and he's the stable boy.
- Working-class Rodney and well-heeled Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses. Before meeting Cassandra, Rodney also dated earl's daughter Lady Victoria.
- Robin and Kate in series three of Robin Hood.
- In an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Maddie falls for a rich guy and attempts to look and act rich so he will like her.
- London Tipton, the wealthy heiress to the Tipton Hotel, dated her hotel's lifeguard, and also once pretended to be poor to impress a guy who dislikes rich people.
- Super Sentai:
- Yukito and Emiri in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger
- Engine Sentai Go-onger hinted at a romance between impoverished Sousuke and wealthy Defrosting Ice Queen Miu. Would also apply to the popular fan-pairing of Saki with Miu's brother Hiroto.
- Hikaru and Urara in Mahou Sentai Magiranger would count, since Urara is a middle-class human girl whereas Hikaru is the future ruler of Magitopia.
- Although not canon, a lot of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger fans were rooting for the pairing of samurai princess Kaoru with poor sushi seller Genta.
- Itinerant Daigo and multi-million dollar heiress Amy in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger.
- Hyde and Jackie from That '70s Show (while they were a couple). Jackie is a rich girl and cheerleader, Hyde is a poor delinquent with a messed up family who lives with Eric's family because he has nowhere else to go. Initially Hyde stated their differences in social status as a reason they shouldn't go out, as they had nothing in common.
- Madam Secretary's lead couple Elizabeth and Henry McCord. She's strongly implied to come from money (among other things she went to boarding school with the Crown Prince of Bahrain), whereas he's the son of a steelworker who went to college on the US Marine Corps' dime.
- The Trope Namer is Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", about a low-class street kid who falls for, and pursues the affections of, a rich "uptown girl". Joel claimed that the song was originally written about his relationship with his then-girlfriend Elle MacPherson, but it ended up also becoming about his soon-to-be wife Christie Brinkley (who starred in the song's music video).
- ''Uptight (Everything Is Alright) '' by Stevie Wonder is about a romance between an uptown girl from the right side of the tracks and a poor man's son who can't afford new clothes to go steppin' out in. It all turns out all right: she sees that his "heart is true."
- The song "We Both Go Down Together" by The Decemberists is about a wealthy young man who falls in love with a poor girl. It doesn't end well for either of them.
- Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the soles of her shoes" from Graceland is explicitly about this trope.
- "Dawn (Go Away)" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The same group also did a gender-swapped version, "Rag Doll", in which the male singer is in love with a poor girl.
- "West End Girls" by the Pet Shop Boys ... probably.
- From the Jay And The Americans song "Only in America": "Only in America / Would a classy girl like you fall for a poor boy like me!"
- The song "Down In The Boondocks" is about a poor boy in love with a rich girl. The song was first popularized in 1965 by pop singer (later turned country artist) Billy Joe Royal, and in 1969 became a big country hit for ex-Raiders guitarist Freddy Weller.
- Spanish band Amaral made a cruel subversion of this trope in their latest album, where the girl gets into drugs and heavy drinking and esentially wastes her life intoxicated.
- "Saginaw, Michigan," a No. 1 country hit (and minor crossover hit) for hardcore honky tonk legend Lefty Frizzell, tells the tale of the poor farm kid who pursues — and eventually wins — the hand of the rich girl. Before the two are married, however, he shakes off his disapproving father (a hardcore asshole who was also very greedy and oppressively protective of her) by claiming that he found a large gold claim in Alaska.
- "Wolverton Mountain" by Claude King, a No. 1 country smash and top 5 pop hit in 1962, was the tale of a poor farm boy pursing a highly desirable and presumably wealthy girl ("Her tender lips are sweeter than honey/and Clifton Clowers protects her there") on said mountain ... but he's got to get past her "protector" ... her father, the mean Clifton Clowers.
- Brentalfloss's Gusty Garden Galaxy with Fan Lyrics has Mario ("just a blue-collar guy") questioning his worthiness of Princess Peach. He soon decides that his actions have certainly earned her affections.
- Arjona's song ¿Quién Diria? About a aspiring musician and a rich girl. The song is full of counter-comparisons.
You eat caviar, I eat tortilla.
- Similarly, the narrator in "Historias de taxi" is a taxi drive who gets involved with a rich married woman after she tearfully confides in him that her husband is cheating on her. The "other woman" turns out to be... the driver's own wife. The end of the song states that both couples carried on their affairs, each one pretending the others don't know.
- "Common People," by Pulp (later covered by William Shatner), tells the tale of a young man who meets an Uptown Girl in a dive bar. She tells him that she wants to "be like common people [and] do whatever common people do," but after spending some time with her, he gets fed up with her slumming and tells her off.
Rent a flat above a shop, cut your hair and get a jobSmoke some fags and play some pool, pretend you never went to schoolBut still you'll never get it right, 'cause when you're laid in bed at nightWatching roaches climb the wall, if you called your dad, he could stop it all!
- In Johnny Rivers's "The Poor Side of Town," the singer is gloating that his love's attempt at social climbing didn't work:
That rich guy you've been seein'Must have put you downSo welcome back babyTo the poor side of town
- Spanish singer Bertin Osborne's song Me enamoro de ella ("I fall in love with her") note has a poor student/worker falling for an upper-class girl.
- "Mama Can't Buy You Love" by Elton John:
Baby, so they give you anythingDarling, all the joy money can bringBaby, do they bring you happinessDarling, you're no different from the restCan't you see that it's love you really needTake my hand and I'll show what a love could be
- Brian McNeill wrote "Bring the Lassie Hame" about his mother and father, respectively an upper-class Austrian woman who worked as an interpreter for the Allies in World War II, and a Scots baker's son from Falkirk serving in a British Army Highlander regiment. They met in Styria during the post-war occupation in a courtship that included the amusing image of him teaching her to drive in a three-ton army truck.
Religion and Mythology
- The Old Testament's Joseph (whose story is told in Genesis, chapters 38 through 41). As a priest's daughter Asenath was certainly socially miles above a former slave...
- Averted Trope: Then again, that former slave was Prime Minister of Egypt, as well as being the son of a very wealthy foreigner who just happened to have envious half-brothers.
- The Japanese folk tale Hachikatsugi-hime has the son of a noble family fall in love with one of the maids, a girl named Hachikatsugi whose face is always hidden by her huge wooen bowl that doules as a Nice Hat. Since "-hime" means "princess" in Japanese, it means that Hachikatsugi herself is a noblewoman; in her specific case, she's a Fallen Princess. The Box of Holding that contains the proofs of her heritage is hidden under the hat, and soon Hachikatsugi and her beau are allowed to marry.
- Blondie. The original strip was about the well-to-do Dagwood marrying the distinctly lower class Blondie against his parent's wishes. He was cut off and had get a real job and the strip gradually morphed into the Dom Com it has been for most of its run.
- The opera Arabella by Richard Strauss. Impoverished Patrician Arabella falls for landowner Mandryka, solving her family's money worries.
- John Adams's opera A Flowering Tree: an Indian prince falls for the poor village girl Kumudha. Complications ensue; the least of which is Kumudha's mother thinking that the girl has been prostituting herself.
- In H.M.S. Pinafore, a double version of this appears. A middle class woman loves a low class man but at the same time a upper class man is in love with her.
- The Beta Couple is a middle-class man who loves a poor woman, but chooses not to pursue her for his family's sake.
- The musical version of Les Misérables has the revolutionary student Marius in love with Cosette (who, although technically an illegitimate child, is known only as the daughter of a rich philanthropist). Not an entirely straight example, though, since Marius comes from a rich background and returns to that wealth after the students' uprising fails. Meanwhile, in a gender-flipped example, Eponine is in love with Marius, but he never realizes it until the end.
- The musical Little Me has rich Noble Eggleston and poor Belle Schlumpfert, who even have a song about how they love each other "as much as they are able" considering their differing backgrounds. The two are kept apart by Noble's mother, sending Belle off to acquire "wealth, fame, and social position." She manages to do so, but by the time she does, Noble has lost all of his. They get together anyway.
- Miss Julie has this between servant Jean and the rich Julie, although its more attraction and lust than love. After they sleep together one night, it does not end well.
- Some productions change this trope, and have Julie and Jean be different races in, say, the 1950's, or in post-apartheid South Africa as this trope is less relevant now.
- Disgaea loves this trope. In the third game Almaz is an extremely Unlucky Every Dude Chew Toy guardsman. Sapphire is an Ax-Crazy princess. There's also Rozalin (fake overlord's daughter), Adell (peasant hero). Laharl's dad (overlord) and his mom (unknown social status mage).
- This becomes an issue for players whose female character romanced Alistair in Dragon Age: Origins. He is a royal bastard who can become King. If you are playing as a human noble, you may marry him and become his Queen Consort, but if you are playing an elf (who are an underclass or nomadic wanderers), a dwarf (either poor or exiled royalty) or a mage (despite the human mage coming from a noble family, mages are forbidden from inheriting) then you may romance Alistair until he becomes King, at which point he either dumps you (if unhardened) or will agree to you being his mistress (if hardened). On the other hand you have the human noble or dwarf noble romancing Morrigan (apostate who lives in the wilds), Zevran (elven assassin slave), and Leliana (fugitive spy).
- In the sequel, this is how the player character's parents met - Malcolm Hawke was an apostate mercenary with a mysterious past, Leandra Amell was a Kirkwall aristocrat with an arranged marriage on the horizon. Hawke later regains their family's titles and becomes a wealthy noble, while the potential love interests include Fenris (an elven former slave), Isabela (a shipless pirate), Merrill (a nomadic elf mage) or Anders (an apostate operating out of the slums). At a push you could reverse it for Sebastian (a prince), due to Hawke's original status as peasant when they first meet (which also happens to be when Hawke takes on work from Sebastian as she's trying to scrape together some money).
- The backstory behind the first Fire Emblem games is built on this trope, which is also found in the posterior games. Anri, the Hero who defeated Medeus and founder of the Kingdom of Altea, was a commoner. His love interest Artemis was the Princess of Archanea. They couldn't get together. Artemis married Duke Cartas and went the Death by Childbirth way, cursing the Fire Emblem itself as she perished. The heartbroken Anri never married, and his bloodline (where Marth, Elice, Chrom and Lucina and others come from) was continued by his brother Marcelus instead.
- This showed up in FE: Blazing Sword as well. If Eliwood marries Fiora, he will be questioned for it since she's a mercenary from Ilia; and if he marries Lyn instead, her mixed blood will be an issue too. Curiously, Hector can marry Lyn or either of Fiora's sisters but no one will bat an eyelid... likely because Hector is already a Rebel Prince to start.
- Also Priscilla and any of her prospect boyfriends: the travelling swordsman Guy, the mercenary Heath, the mage Erk (and for some, the cavalier Sain - they have no shared ending, but their supports are decidedly romantic). Only Erk manages to bypass the trope since his teacher Pent is a very highranked nobleman... who once was an uptown boy since his wife and partner Louise was minor nobility.
- In regards to the prequel FE: Sword of Seals, Eliwood's son Roy can marry either the travelling dancer Lalum ( though her stepdad is an Etrurian general), the Ilian mercenary Shanna, the Arcadia villager Sophia ( who is actually a half-dragon girl so this goes into Interspecies Romance as well) or the Tomboy Princess Sue who, like Lyn, is "a savage" from Sacae ( and might be Lyn's daughter with Rath).
- Supporting Donnel and Lissa in Fire Emblem Awakening leads to the second version of this trope. She's a princess, he's a villager-turned-soldier in her older brother Chrom's army.
"You're Chrom's daughter, and in your veins runs the blood of exalts and heroes... So how could a common man such as I ever be worthy of you? (...) I am in love with you, Lucina. I can say it no plainer. I know I'm a fool to harbor a love far beyond my station, and yet..."
- This is played up even more in Donnel and Maribelle's supports, since Maribelle is the daughter of a duke, and Donnel even shows interest in her before the S-rank.
- Let's not forget Laurent and Lucina aka Chrom's daughter and Lissa's niece — who can potentially be Maribelle's daughter. He actually refers to her heritage as one of the reasons why they shouldn't be together in the first place.
"I'm a simple man with little in the way of wealth or land or social opportunity. And I certainly can't make you a princess like the heroines in your stories..."
- Not to mention, there's Vaike and either Lissa or Maribelle. As said above, they're both noblewomen and he's a former Street Urchin.
- Kellam and either Lissa or Maribelle, too. In his and Maribelle's A support he specifically says he's a Country Mouse, and in the S one he mentions the "beneath one station" deal as he proposes to her.
- Gaius and either Lissa or Maribelle, since he is a Lovable Rogue and ex Street Urchin. He also has similar dynamics with Sumia, a minor noble who is also a member of the Shepherds, and whom he sometimes calls "that crazy noblewoman".
- Lampshaded when a Male Avatar proposes to Sumia in their S support:
- Fire Emblem Fates features two different Royal Houses, so it has this trope up the wazoo as well:
- The Player Character is either a Prince or Princess. Almost everyone the Avatar can marry is of lower social standing than he or she is, and more than one of the prospect brides/grooms will mention the deal.
- The royal siblings of either Hoshido or Nohr also face this trope if they develop romantic ties with other characters. Beruka and Charlotte lampshade it if Xander shows romantic interest in either of them since the first is is a former Street Urchin now Professional Killer, the latter is a slum-girl-turned-border guard... and he is the heir to the Nohrian throne.
- The Avatar's best friend, Princess Azura, is both the stepdaughter of the Nohrian King Garon and the ward /niece of the Hoshidan Queen Mikoto. And later it turns out she's the daughter of the long-dead King of Valla. Naturally, if she marries a guy who isn't royalty, this trope will take place too.
- In the Mass Effect games, this trope can apply depending on the chosen background of your Commander Shepard and your choice of romance options. If you're playing an Earth-born Shepard, and romance Liara, you've got the former-street-kid-done-good romancing the only daughter of one of Thessia's most influential families.
- Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Torahime (high family), Kisuke (common ninja).
- Mitsuru Kirijou, a Mafia Princess, is love interest in Persona 3. This does cause trouble as she is betrothed to another in order to solidify the Kirijou Group.
- Yu (middle class) with Yukiko Amagi (Ojou) or Ai Ebihara (Nouveau Riche) are possible pairings in Persona 4.
- Super Mario Bros.: Princess Peach is this to Mario. She's royalty, and even if he does rescue her all the time, the players are led to believe he's little more than a plumber.
- This may be the case with Mario's younger Luigi and Princess Daisy too.
- In Tales of the Abyss, Jade's sister Nephry and best friend, Peony, are in love with each other. The problem, of course, is that Peony is the Emperor's son (and, after his brothers are killed, becomes the heir and eventually Emperor himself), and Nephry is a commoner. Further complicating things, is that the Score says that she'll marry someone else. Regardless of Nephry's marriage, Peony remains in love with her and refuses to marry anyone else.
- The trope is key to the premise of Be My Princess, a Romance Game in which an ordinary young woman falls in love with any one of six princes and inevitably faces opposition from her love interest's royal family and others around them who don't approve of the relationship.
- In Hatoful Boyfriend, the heroine is a hunter-gatherer barbarian who lives in a cave and dates pigeons. One of said pigeons is the snobby Upper-Class Twit fantail Shirogane Le Bel Sakuya, and if she pursues him, they can end up a gender-inverted Type A version (Sakuya's family isn't too thrilled with his artistic aspirations, let alone his interest in a shabby human girl).
- In Katawa Shoujo, Shizune Hakamichi is the deaf-mute Student Council President as well as the eldest daughter of a very rich family from Saitama. If she's the chosen one, then middle-class protagonist Hisao not only will get quite the glimpse of her Big Fancy House, but will have to deal with her Large Ham Jerk Ass CEO of a father Jigoro.
- To a milder degree, there's Shizune's cousin Lilly Satou, who's also from a quite loaded family. You don't have to deal with her parents since they live in Iverness (Scotland) but with her Cool Big Sis Akira who does take a liking to you. And then the Satous decide that Lilly should go back to Scotland...
- In A Knight's Devotion the heroine is a princess, and all of her potential love interests are knights. Not all of them see her royal status as a reason not to pursue a relationship, but Lute in particular is very conscious of the differences in their status.
- Similarly, in Seduced in the Sleepless City the heroine is a reporter and writer for a women's magazine who becomes involved with a group of A-list celebrities and falls for one of them. How much of an obstacle the difference in their social class is varies from route to route, but it usually at least complicates matters.
- If you pursue Remi Himekawa in True Love Junai Monogatari, the trope is also in play. Both her Unlucky Childhood Friend and her Overprotective Dad will not let you forget it. Unless you actually finish Remi's route correctly, which involves saving Remi from a kidnapper among other things; Mr. Himekawa will be so impressed by the MC's courage that he'll lift the Parental Dating Veto and give him and Remi their blessings.
- From Umineko: When They Cry, George, a member of the obscenely wealthy Ushiromiya family, is in a secret relationship with Shannon, one of the servants at the main house. Similarly, Jessica Ushiromiya is in love with a male servant, Kanon. Subverted since it turns out that Shannon and Kanon are actually the same person, Sayo Yasuda, who is an illegitimate child of Kinzo Ushiromiya and the true head of the family, having been granted the headship by Kinzo before he died.
- In Long Live the Queen, Elodie is the crown princess of the kingdom of Nova, and one of her love interests is a common baker's son named Evrard. If you want to actually go through with marrying him, you will need a very good relationship with the nobility.
- Beatrice and Alan in The Dreamer. Beatrice is a daughter of a wealthy Tory in Boston; Alan is a dirt poor apple farmer in Roxbury.
- In Knights of Buena Vista, Mary is stated to be from a wealthy family, and she is dating Bill, who is from a middle class family.
- The yaoi webcomic Teahouse centres around a brothel commonly frequented by the upper class, with Rhys and Reed implied to be particularly important members of society. The brothel owner himself is also far higher in status than Linnaeus, who was given to Xanthe's father in lieu of payment for a gambling debt.
- Sokka's courtship of Princess Yue in Avatar: The Last Airbender is played like this. Although Sokka is technically a prince of the Southern Water Tribe and therefore her social equal, the southern tribe is less cosmopolitan than their northern sister and places less emphasis on rank, and Sokka had been Wandering the Earth for months with a Ragtag Band of Misfits and so appeared less than princely in comparison to Yue's Ermine Cape Effect. She is also slated for an Arranged Marriage for political reasons, in line with this trope.
- Dana's father is less than happy about her relationship with Terry in Batman Beyond, although it has less to do with their socioeconomic differences than Terry's criminal record.
- Danny and Sam (though it's less poor/rich than middle class/incredibly rich) in Danny Phantom, though Sam doesn't really care much about her family's comically vast fortune, rarely tells anyone about it, and the series itself only occasionally draws attention to it. Despite that, it's pretty clear that Sam's parents don't exactly like her friends, and the various unexplainable ghost related hijinks that happen over the course of the series don't help much.
- Lois and Peter in Family Guy, as shown by an early episode where Peter is at odds with her tyrannical father in order to gain his approval, which he never does. She marries him despite her father's insistence that she doesn't really love him or his covert attempts to kill Peter.
- The Flintstones: When Fred and Barney first met Wilma and Betty, the four of them were holding summer jobs at a hotel but a series of misunderstandings caused Fred and Barney to think the girls were wealthy guests and the girls to think the boys were wealthy guests.
- Asami Sato in The Legend of Korra is a Spoiled Sweet version who is a fan of Pro-Bending Street Urchin Mako before she runs into him-quite literally, she hits him with her moped and invites him to dinner to make up for it. In a twist, her wealthy industrialist father takes a shine to Mako because he reminds him of his own Rags to Riches background and offers to sponsor their team in the Pro-Bending Championships. Then it turns out Asami's dad outright hates Mako, calling him a "Fire-bending streetrat". It's probably the first part of that description Hiroshi really hates.
- Mako's other love interest Korra may qualify and is Not So Different from Asami: though she's not personally wealthy, the Order of the White Lotus has provided for her every need since she was a child and gave her a lovely Gilded Cage to live in, making her something of an Ojou with the attitude of a Tomboy.
- Bolin continues the trend with his relationship with Opal, daughter of the incredibly wealthy Suyin Bei Fong, matriarch of the famous utopian city Zaofu. One of their first conversations takes place over dinner in Opal's family's beautiful, sprawling estate, where she comments, "I don't think I've ever had a bad meal in my life," only to be heartbroken when Bolin relates the kind of meals he ate growing up on the streets. While no parents or anyone else object to their romance, Bolin is initially very nervous about pursuing his feelings for her, and it's not hard to see why.
- Sofia the First: Miranda (a shoemaker) and Roland the Second (a King).
- Steven Universe reveals that Ruby and Sapphire had this kind of relationship when they first met, with Ruby being a lowly soldier assigned to bodyguard the aristocratic Sapphire.
- Wheel Squad: Bob and Emilie. Bob's Dad gives private music lessons for a living and Emilie's stepfather is a wealthy businessman.
- Winx Club: A gender flipped version of the trope took place when Bloom learned her boyfriend "Brandon" wasn't Prince Sky's squire but the real Prince Sky all the time. It probably didn't help that she learned this during the same occasion she learned he was engaged to Princess Diaspro and that Bloom didn't know back then she's also a Princess.
- The real Brandon fell into the trope during the royal part where Princess Stella was to be introduced into society. He was afraid his gift to her had no chance against the ones she'd get from nobles.
- Despite having been the inspiration for the Trope Namer, the relationship between singer Billy Joel and supermodel Christie Brinkley is an aversion of this trope, because despite his lower-class, "kid from the streets" origins, Billy Joel was loaded at the time he married her.
- Current Japanese Emperor Akihito was the first to break tradition by marrying a "commoner" (as in, not a member of the Japanese government or Imperial Court; her family was far from poor.)
- Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky in the early 1990s, only to be subverted in the subsequent divorce.
- The marriage of Prince William to middle-class Kate Middleton (whose parents, it must be noted, are multi-millionaires) was of major significance to the media. It wasn't so much a matter of money as the fact that no one outside the nobility had married into the British royal family before.
- The Crown Prince of Nepal, Dipendra, who wanted to marry Devyani Rana, daughter of Pashupati SJB Rana, a member of the Rana clan, against whom the Shah dynasty have a historic animosity. Though the 'Prime Minister's family' doesn't seem like much of a step down from 'Royal Family' for most people, well...most people aren't royal families. As such on June 1, 2001, this lead to the Royal Family killing spree incident where almost Everybody Dies.
- Older Than Print: Prince Justinian I married Theodora, who was an actress/'actress', thereby combining this trope with a measure of Rags to Royalty. He actually abolished the laws prohibiting their marriage.
- This example is slightly downplayed by the fact that Justinian's uncle and predecessor, Justin I, was also an example of Rags to Royalty. A rich person marrying a poor person for love is less surprising when the latter is New Money (as therefore they're less likely to be judgmental towards lower classes).
- Despite being the daughter of a freaking loaded family, Michiko Shouda had LOTS of troubles when she and then Crown Prince Akihito fell in love — she was the first commoner who ever married into the Japanese Royal Family. Said troubles didn't exactly stop with her and Akihito's wedding, as a good part of the Royal Family (and specially Akihito's mother, Princess Nagako/Dowager Empress Kojun) still didn't like her.
- The writer F.Scott Fitzgerald in his youth fell in love with the socialite Ginevra King. Her father told him that "poor boys had no business marrying rich girls." Mr. King then introduced his daughter to his bussiness associates and encouraged her to choose among them. She complied and Fitzgerald later based Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby on her.
- Franz Ferdinand was the Archduke of Austria-Hungary and heir to the Imperial throne. His wife Sophie was old Bohemian noble stock note but still lacked the requisite ancestry for equal marriage to a member of the Habsburg imperial family. As such, due to her "lower" status and despite how Happily Married the two were, she was not allowed to appear with her husband at social events. Then he took her a military review to Sarajevo since that was a non-official visit and she would be permitted to sit with him publically... and their assassination sparked World War One.