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Altar Diplomacy

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This isn't Henry marrying Gabriella. This is France marrying Spain.

Misaki: As you know, your father has been working on a peace agreement with that brutish Wataro clan. Well, I heard the treaty has been finalized.
Ina: That's nice.
Misaki: You're going to wed the Wataro daimyo's eldest son!
Ina: I'm being forced to marry some guy I don't even know from a clan DESPISED throughout Japan!?
Misaki: Oh, you'll make such a cute couple!
Ina: Just so my father can ratify some stupid little treaty?

This is essentially marriage as a negotiation tactic — or more precisely, as the final step which seals a contract they already negotiated.

The common setup is a political marriage to seal a peace or reinforce an alliance between nations or Feuding Families but in modern fiction, it's becoming more common for the spouses in question to be representatives of family-owned companies or other business interests, and instead of a treaty it becomes a merger. Both parties will typically go into a political marriage with their eyes open, and both parties (or the factions they represent) will typically benefit, though the spouses may not be happy in their married life. This isn't always necessarily mutual; one side may be marrying for politics while the other is marrying for money, for instance.

This has been Truth in Television for much of human history. Marrying for love was uncommon for those with status, and a good match was often one that benefited both families politically or in business.

A Rebellious Princess (and occasionally Rebel Prince) is often found running away from or fighting against an expectation that she will marry for her kingdom. The Dutiful Son is likely to go through with such a marriage, regardless of his own wishes. This may be a bone of contention between carefree and responsible siblings, one of whom does what's good for their family while the other can't give up their freedom to make this match. The High Queen, the Evil Prince, or even the Wise Prince may arrange such marriages for themselves out of either responsibility or ambition. Corporate executives (Honest or Corrupt) may see the good business sense in it.

A darker variant sometimes seen is for a conqueror to forcibly marry a surviving member of the royal family in order to legitimize his conquest.

Can often overlap with Arranged Marriage, if one spouse is a princess being married off for instance, but a political marriage doesn't necessarily have to be arranged by anyone other than the spouses themselves. If they truly are faceless pawns in this game, it may be a Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage. If they grow to love each other despite the pragmatic start to their marriage, it can become a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Often involves Homosocial Heterosexuality. On the other hand, too much or the wrong kind of this can leave a royal family Royally Screwed Up.

See also Mail-Order Bride, which is literally a business transaction, and Nobility Marries Money, where one side gets status and one side gets money.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aldnoah.Zero:
    • Slaine Troyard personally arranges a marriage to Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia except it was her ill sister Lemrina Vers Envers masquerading as her at the start of the second season.
    • At the end of the show, Princess Asseylum announces that she would take Count Klanclain Cruhteo as her husband in marriage in order to secure a lasting peace between the Earth and the Vers Empire.
  • Beastars: Louis is arranged to marry a Doe named Azuki, who is an abusive alpha-bitch who is shown to make Louis completely miserable. Over the second half of the manga, a relationship built on mutual love was blossoming between Louis and Juno that mirrors the relatonship between Legosi and Haru. However, in the end, Louis decides he has an obligation to marry Azuki and he parts with Juno for the final time.
  • Code Geass has several, being That Kind Of Show.
    • In season 2, after the Black Knights escape to China, Schneizel sets one up between his older brother, Crown Prince Odysseus, and the (very young) Empress of China, Tianzi Jiang Lihua. If that were to go through, Britannia would be able to get to the Black Knights again).
    • In the audio-drama backstory scenes, Emperor Charles tried to arrange this between a Britannian royal and someone from one of Japan's important houses, Kururugi or Sumeragi. Unfortunately, it ended up being the six-year-old Princess Nunnally, and Suzaku's father. So, of course, Nunnally's older brother Lelouch found a way to stop it from happening. Now, if it had been Suzaku and not his father, it might have prevented the war... Of course, Charles's plans required conquering the sakuradite rich land of Japan so this was likely on purpose.
  • In El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, Nanami Jinai thinks this is going on when she sees a Shadow Tribe member announced as the Princess's fiancé. She openly delights that the kingdom and the Shadow Triber finally found a diplomatic solution... Which throws a massive wrench in the whole festivities, because she was the only one who could see he was Shadow Tribe, meaning he's a spy/assassin.
  • The Moon Arc in Land of the Lustrous has the Prince of the moon, Aechmea, strike a deal with Phosphophyllite to ensure the Lustrous won't be harmed as long as Phos cooperates with him. When Phos later brings a few of their fellow Lustrous to the Moon, Aechmea decides to formalize the alliance by using Cairngorm as the representative—and the Gem is taken as Aechmea's wife. The problem? The Lustrous on Earth don't know about any of this, so from their perspective Phos spirited away a portion of their remaining ranks for some unknown alliance with their mortal enemy. Unsurprisingly negotiations go south from here.
  • Despite what their name would have you believe, the Harmony faction from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is not a single unified organization but rather a loose collection of political entities. As a result, they often take part in Arranged Marriages to maintain peaceful alliances with one another (like when Elma is betrothed to a member of the Dragon Slayer subgroup).
  • Naruto: The First Hokage, Hashirama Senju, was betrothed to Mito Uzumaki as a way to strengthen the Konoha-Uzushio alliance. It had a practical benefit, though; Mito was host to the Nine Tails, while Hashirama was one of the few people who could restrain the beast.
  • One Piece:
    • Don Chinjao has planned to have his grandson Sai, the leader of the Happo Navy, to marry the daughter of the general of the Nippo Navy as a bridge for the two navies to merge and become stronger. Sai in the end decides not to, though, instead marrying Baby 5 (who defected from the Donquixote Pirates after falling for Sai) and his grandfather says he's proud of him.
    • The Big Mom Pirates (led by Charlotte "Big Mom" Linlin of the Four Emperors) typically cement alliances between themselves and other groups are via one member of the Charlotte Family marrying a member of the allying group, like Chiffon who married Capone Bege (Captain of the Firetank Pirates) and Praline marrying Aladdin (doctor and first mate, later Captain, of the Sun Pirates). It's also why Big Mom hates her 23rd daughter Lola, who ran away to seek marriage for love rather than marry Loki, Prince of the giants, thus ruining a potential alliance (and also hates Lola's older and identical twin sister Chiffon, whom she tried to substitute for Lola, only for Loki to recognize the substitution and call off the wedding).
    • During the New World saga, altar diplomacy becomes the driving force behind the Arranged Marriage between Vinsmoke Sanji and Charlotte Pudding, the 35th daughter of the Charlotte family. The groom's dad is the Emperor Scientist Vinsmoke Judge, the bride's mother is the Queen of Whole Cake Island and one of the Four Emperors. The goal of the groom's family is to gain military might, since they know that they'll likely soon be declared an outlaw nation. Too bad Big Mom was using Pudding as a Honey Trap and planning to kill all the Vinsmokes during the wedding itself in order to steal their research.
    • Ultimately backfires on the Big Mom Pirates, as Chiffon supports her husband's attempt to assassinate her mother (even though it fails), and both she and Praline flee with their respective husbands' crews, while Pudding ends up siding with Sanji and helping him calm Linlin via wedding cake so he and his crew can escape.
  • Red River (1995) features one in the backstory, where Kail's Retired Badass father King Suppilinnuma arranged one between himself and a much younger Babylonian princess. Said princess? Nakia, who would grow angry and bitter... and become the Big Bad.
  • Aside for the historical one between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, The Rose of Versailles has the one between the Duchesse de Polignac and the one she tries to set up between her daughter Charlotte (and later Rosalie) and the Duke of Guiche. According to Polignac, this is actually the norm among nobility, and why pretty much everyone has at least one lover.
  • In the one-shot Sengoku no Mikazuki ("Crescent Moon in the Warring States''), Nobuhiro Watsuki's debut work, the Lord of Kitakata married his daughter Natsu to another lord in hopes of securing a peace treaty, despite her being in love with his top samurai Hiko Seijuro. However, the enemy ruler broke the treaty and invaded anyway, killing the Lord of Kitakata and taking poor Natsu away, forcing Hiko to be on the run. After Hiko's bond with a boy named Isshinta gives him his strength back, he decides to fight back: he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, kills the treacherous Lord, rescues Natsu and, in the epilogue, they marry and become the new rulers of Kitakata.
  • In the backstory of The Vision of Escaflowne, Millerna's big sister Marlene Aston, eldest daughter of the royal family of Asturia, entered into an Arranged Marriage with the ruling duke of the nearby country of Freid to seal a de facto non-aggression pact, but dies a few years later. During the course of the series, her father King Aston allies with the Zaibach Empire and allows them to use Asturia as a staging ground for an invasion of Freid, and it's mentioned that he never would have allowed such a thing if Marlene were still alive. Considering that Marlene's son/Aston's grandson Chid is the heir-apparent to Freid, it's still a pretty cold move.
  • World's End Harem: Fantasia:
    • Arc of House Nargala is in love with his cousin Aurelia of House Isteshia, but she's married off to the prince of The Empire to advance Lord Isteshia's foreign policy goals. Their failed attempt to run away together in the second chapter kickstarts the series' Myth Arc.
    • Discussed after Wenna turns up pregnant. Arc is reminded that even if he wanted to, he couldn't marry her: his hand in marriage is a valuable policy tool, meaning a child sired with a castle maid will have to remain illegitimate.

    Comic Books 
  • Monstress: The Baroness of the Last Dusk (Tuya) arranges to marry the Sword of the East (Maika's aunt) on the grounds that she doesn't trust her further than she can throw her, and she needs an actual guarantee in order to secure the alliance between the Dusk and Dawn courts.
  • In Runaways, this was the Skrull royal Xavin's hope for their Arranged Marriage with Karolina. While the marriage was originally just a bargaining chip used by Karolina's war criminal parents to stop Xavin's family from invading Earth, Xavin hoped that their wedding could end the Skrull-Majesdane war that had been raging ever since. They got as far as the actual ceremony before one of the guests made a snide remark. Five minutes later, both sides were firing anti-matter missiles and the unlucky couple had to flee back to Earth.
  • Sleepless: King Surno arranges for his niece Poppy (the technically illegitimate but widely beloved daughter of his late brother King Verato and a prominent Star Reader from Mribesh) to wed his nephew Lord Helder (maternal cousin to Surno's daughter, the heir apparent Princess Rellen). The marriage would neatly tie up several loose ends for Surno; namely that it would cement an alliance between Edtland (where Surno's wife and family hail from, and where he lived prior to inheriting Verato's crown) and Harbeny (his current domain) and Mribesh (where Poppy's mother hails from, and where the subject of Poppy's parentage is no issue to her legitimacy). A marriage would legitimize Poppy into the royal family of Harbeny (and put her in the line of succession behind any children Princess Rellen might have), placating King Verato's loyalists who might have wanted to usurp Surno and put Poppy on the throne. Poppy objects to the marriage on the grounds that she suspects Helder of trying to kill her to gain favor with Princess Rellen.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): Achilles marries the (disgraced) Amazon Alkyone when Zeus orders Achilles and his Gargareans to become the new rulers of Themyscira. He does it to lend legitimacy to his rule and to stick it to Zeus by keeping most of the Amazons around instead of kicking them out like Zeus intended. He decides their marriage is void after Alkyone tries to murder him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mulan II: Three princesses are married off to cement an alliance against the Mongols. Despite this being very much the norm at the time and, y'know, vital to national security, Mulan objects to this and the princesses end up marrying the three goofballs from the first movie. The Inferred Holocaust is one of several reasons the movie is disliked.
  • This is done to Princess Fiona in Shrek; Farquaad sends Shrek to rescue her so he can marry her and officially call himself a king. It is later revealed in Shrek 2 that Fiona had been betrothed to Prince Charming so that he might one day become king of Far Far Away. This was arranged as a way for her father to repay the Fairy Godmother for turning him human so he could be with Fiona's mother. Neither of these marriages actually took place, as Fiona ends up falling in love with and marrying Shrek.
  • It happens in Corpse Bride, albeit between a Nouveau Riche family and a noble but bankrupt Old Money family rather than between countries. The bride and groom to be, Victor and Victoria, are dreading it as they want to Marry for Love... until they see each other and it's Love at First Sight. They would have been happily married right then and there had Victor not messed up the marriage proposal and decided to rehearse by placing the ring on a stick that was actually the finger of a murdered bride. Cue the titular Corpse Bride trying to keep him for herself.
  • In The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, this is eventually revealed to be the motivation of Queen Watevera's plans; by marrying Batman, whom she perceives as the leader of Apocalypseburg, she believes it will finally unite their warring worlds in peace.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Spanish film Los Borgia shows that Lucrezia was only used as a way for the family to ally with powerful families, and then canceling those marriages when they weren't useful anymore.
  • Dangerous Beauty revolves around a courtesan in Renaissance-era Venice, who took up the profession because social custom dictated that she, a commoner, could not marry her beloved, a powerful nobleman. Later, he lets her know that he is getting married to someone else, the daughter of another powerful nobleman, whose influence would be very helpful to the city-state. They still manage to be together because he is her favorite client.
  • Ever After:
    • Prince Henry of France is supposed to marry Princess Gabriella of Spain, and it's implied that it'll be a diplomatic nightmare for his father King Francis if Henry sidesteps the match. Henry, who especially at the beginning of the movie is kind of a brat, doesn't care. It turns out Gabriella REALLY doesn't want to marry Henry (plus is in love with a Spanish butler), and is very relieved when the marriage doesn't go through.
    • There's also an allusion to the fact that Henry's parents married for diplomatic reasons as well. note 
      Queen Marie: Sweetheart... you were born to privilege, and with that comes specific obligations.
      Henry: Forgive me, Mother, but marriage to a complete stranger never made anyone in this room very happy.
      Queen Marie: [glances awkwardly at King Francis]
  • In The Last Queen, in order to consolidate his grip over Algiers, 16th century Ottoman corsair Aruj "Barbarossa" (Dali Benssalah) plans to marry the freshly widowed local queen Zaphira (Adila Bendimerad).
  • The plot of The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines is kicked off when the two most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world — the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty, decides to forge an alliance by the marriage of Prince Marcus Caprenius of Rome and Princess Meng Li-hua of China.
  • The biographical film Marie Antoinette (2006) has Marie of Austria delivered to Louis XVI of France at the age of 15 to cement a treaty between the two nations. Neither is really prepared for marriage, and Marie is despised at the French court as "that Austrian whore." Nevertheless, Marie and Louis grow to love each other during their short reign.
  • In The Miracle of the Wolves, Louis XI, King of France, and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, are in a "cold war" situation. Louis wants his goddaughter Jeanne de Beauvais to marry Charles in order to secure peace and refuses her marriage project to the knight Robert de Neuville (whom she loves), telling her that, in public affairs, she's "not a person", and that she must do it for the unity of his kingdom. Jeanne prefers to Take a Third Option, telling the king she'd rather end up at the convent.
  • In The Princess Bride, Prince Humperdinck chooses beautiful peasant Buttercup to be his wife, knowing she will capture the hearts of the populace; he will get a popularity boost and she will get the stable life of royalty. However, what he truly wants is to kill her and start a war.
  • Ebullient Squire Will Danaher from The Quiet Man has been itching to woo the widow Sarah Tillane, not for love, but because their land holdings combined would make theirs the largest arable tract in the county. Until Sean Thornton from America comes along, Widow Tillane will have nothing to do with Danaher.
  • The Slipper and the Rose: The king wants an alliance with another kingdom, preferably a powerful one, in the face of hostile powers that have begun looking at his kingdom greedily. For this purpose he is trying to arrange a marriage for his son, Prince Edward.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • A variation of this trope occurs in 2nd Samuel chapter 3, where Abner son of Ner makes a treaty with King David to transfer rulership of all the other tribes of Israel to David on the agreement that David's first wife Michal (who was given over to another man when David was on the run and presumed to be dead or a deserter) would be returned to him. Michal was then brought to David with her second husband following behind crying until he was told to return home.
    • Most of King Solomon's 700 wives and 300 concubines were given to him under these circumstances. He allowed them to worship their own gods and goddesses, rather than forcing them to convert to Judaism. This was very generous of him, but it did eventually lead to the fracturing of the kingdom.
    • Probably the most prominent example is Queen Jezebel, who was a Phoenician princess given to King Ahab to seal a political alliance between their two nations. Ahab also allowed her to practice her own faith and even built shrines to Baal and Asherah for her. She assumed a role as a high priestess and promoted the worship of her gods, while also being hostile to Jewish believers and prophets, leading to political instability.
    • Exploited by Jacob's sons, who were angry that the prince of Shechem raped their little sister Dinah and asked for her hand in marriage from her family, (this being considered an apology for assault back then). They accept the marriage, on the grounds that an alliance between their burgeoning tribe and the city-state of Shechem would be advantageous to both... On One Condition: namely, that every male be circumcised like them. The Shechemites do this, and while the men and boys of the city are recovering, Jacob's sons go in and slaughter them, take the women and children as plunder, and rescue Dinah from the prince's tent. Jacob is not happy that they did this, however; he was upset that no one would trust their tribe after his sons had taken advantage of diplomacy to Rape, Pillage, and Burn an entire city.
    • Inverted in the Book of Esther, though. A very beautiful and very clever Jewish young woman named Esther was taken as a harem concubine by King Ahasuerus of Persia, eventually becoming his favorite, and uses her connection to the king to protect the Jews from a genocide instigated by his Evil Chancellor Haman.
    • In 1st Maccabees chapter 10 from the apocryphal books, King Alexander, after the defeat of his rival Demetrius, made a treaty of friendship with King Ptolemy of Egypt by having him give his daughter Cleopatra to Alexander as his wife, which Ptolemy accepted. In the following chapter, however, Ptolemy had later regretted it and decided to take back his daughter and give her to Demetrius' son to make an alliance with him, thus causing a rift between himself and Alexander.
  • Legend has it that one of King Nebuchadnezzar's wives was given to him under these circumstances (as princesses and noblewomen of that time and place usually were), and she was homesick. She came from an unspecified kingdom in an unspecified mountainous region, and apparently quite loved the nature scenery there. Because King Nebuchadnezzar actually loved and cared about his wife, he commissioned The Hanging Gardens of Babylon to cheer her up.
  • Some adaptations of Robin Hood have shades of this, as Robin was a Saxon and Marian a Norman, a century and a half after the Norman conquest of Saxon England.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Fief: France 1429 two players can formalize an alliance by having a Lord controlled by one player marry a Lady controlled by the other player. While the alliance lasts the two players have a special joint victory condition. The alliance will be broken if one of the players successfully petitions the Pope for an annulment or one of the spouses is killed.
  • In The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire, a Romulan supplement for Star Trek The Next Generation Role Playing Game by Last Unicorn Games, it is stated that marriages among the Romulan political classes are often arranged this way. The participants are expected to remain faithful to each other regardless of happiness, as those who commit adultery are considered capable of treason.
  • In the game lore of BattleTech, the marriage of Hanse "The Fox" Davion, First Prince of the Federated Suns, and Melissa Steiner, daughter and heir-designate of Archon Katrina Steiner of the Lyran Commonwealth, were married to cement a political alliance between their realms. Their wedding was where the Fourth Succession War was declared, which was largely perpetrated so Hanse could get revenge against the Capellan Confederation due to their attempt to kidnap him and replace him with a body-double years earlier, but it also served to widen the spacelane bridge between the two realms by blasting their way through the holdings of the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League. Katrina was already ordering deployments before the wedding. Thankfully, Hanse and his new hot young German consort made it work and had five children together.

  • In Anne of the Thousand Days, King Henry VIII feels free to pursue Anne Boleyn because his marriage to Katherine of Aragon was made to cement a treaty. As he put it so succinctly: "I do not love that woman. I did not marry her. That was a marriage of state: England married Spain."
  • Many of Molière's comedies have the children of the main character be engaged to a much older, better-connected and richer person, much to their chagrin, but it all works out in the end.
  • Naturally, the Bard used this a few times.

  • Cursed Princess Club: The plot of the comic kicks off when King Jack of the Pastel Kingdom decides to arrange for his three daughters, Maria, Lorena and Gwendolyn, to marry the three princes of the Plaid Kingdom, to forge a strong alliance (and also partly so Jack and Plaid King Leland can be Best Friends-in-Law). The first prince, Blaine, chooses Maria, while the middle one, Lance, is paired with Lorena. For the first two couples, it’s Love at First Sight. Frederick and Gwen, however... not so much.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Agatha's confirmed status as the long-lost heir to the house of Heterodyne means that not only do Gil (the heir to the Wulfenbach empire) and Tarvek (a direct descendant of the legendary Storm King) have romantic reasons to want to marry her, they have pretty compelling political motivations as well, as do other power players like Tarvek's cousin Martellus, who goes so far as to kidnap Agatha as part of his master plan to join their houses and ascend to power in Europa.
    • Many people scheme openly or secretly to avoid Gilgamesh marrying Agatha, for various reasons:
      • Seffie wants to marry Gil so that they can link the Wulfenbach family with the Sturmvoraus to restore the Pax transylvania. And this is what she considers ''her choice''.
      • Both Queen Albia of England and Klaus Wulfenbach would want Trelawney Thorpe, Spark of the Realm, to marry Gil to tie the British and the European empires together, and to end Gil's obsession with Agatha. Trelawney appears a little uncomfortable with the idea, but appears to understand duty.
    • During their take on Cinderella, Agatha, playing the protagonist, points out the diplomatic opportunity cost of letting princes simply marry some random girl they meet at a ball. Later, Gil and Tarvek (sharing the prince's role) comment that if this ball scheme of theirs doesn't work they'll have to marry the mole princesses.
    • Hoffmann, a student at the University of Paris, proposed one for two underground kingdoms, only to subsequently learn that as an adopted son of the Talpini Moligarchy he was the one who would marry the princess of the Arguron kingdom (after all, the Talpini themselves aren't even human). The Arguron princess, meanwhile, is attracted to Hoffman, but thinks it's doomed because she's agreed to this political marriage...
    • In the backstory, this was partially the reason for the marriage between "The Storm King" Andronicus Valois and Euphrosynia Heterodyne, as it would end the war between Valois' Coalition of the West and the Heterodynes' conquering army. It helped that Andronicus and Euphrosynia genuinely liked each other. Though he finds out the day of the wedding that he'd been manipulated and it was all a scheme, probably to erode Valois' empire from within. It's implied that Euphrosynia really did love Andronicus, but betrayed him anyway because she was still a Heterodyne, and thus wasn't going to let her feelings get in the way of mad science.

  • Men Of The Harem takes place in a fantasy world where Emperors of different empires (where almost everyone is white and not an ancient ethnicity where polygamy is normal) each have a Royal Harem of consorts and concubines in addition to his legal wife and Empress. This trope is Played With many times.
    • After trying to secure his throne In Its Hour of Need, Hyacinth is promised help by Duke La Daga, on one condition, that he marry the Duke’s daughter and make her his legal wife and Empress, meaning he must break his promise of marriage to his True Love.
    • A common practice of diplomacy between Emperors is sending women from their native courts to become consorts or concubines in another empire’s Royal Harem. When Latil becomes the first female Emperor to have a harem of men, she makes no exception to this practice and requests someone from Hyacinth’s court to join her harem.
  • No Need for Bushido has this as its main plot device, and the first few pages are devoted to breaking the news to Ina, the girl (see page quote). Both Ina and Yuri (the boy) run away upon learning this, and end up getting to know and like each other without (immediately) knowing who they are to each other.
  • The very first storyline of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is about Ahem and Princess Voluptua trying to get out of an arranged political marriage.
  • The Secret Knots: Parodied in "How to make the best of your time in airports". After forming a theocratic nation in an airport and waging a holy war on people wearing neck pillows, peace is restored in the airport via an arranged marriage between one of the airport-cult and one of the neck pillow-wearers. All is quickly forgotten when everyone boards the plane.
  • The Legend of Zelda fancomic A Tale of Two Rulers has Zelda propose this to Gannondorf in an attempt to keep Hyrule from more devastation and to break the reincarnation cycle that the two of them and Link are subjected to particularly since her illegitimate daughter Rinku is Link's reincarnation this time.
  • In the backstory of TwoKinds, Flora, the long-lost Tiger princess, was supposed to marry Sythe, a wolf duke, to cement their two tribes alliance against the humans, who got worked up into a xenocidal frenzy by the machinations of an Evil Sorceror. She was so opposed to the idea that she immediately started trying to antagonize poor Sythe when they met. She eventually ran away on the way to the wedding, running smack into said evil wizard, who was out to kill her to stop the alliance! Luckily for her, a god made him into a Amnesiac Hero, driving the "evil" part under-ground and letting his Nice Guy original personality out to play. Thus begins the comic, with Flora and Sythe lost and the wizard waking up with a headache.
  • Unsounded: When discussing the marriage that bound together the Foi and Hellick families Duane describes it as a consolidation of power.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: The episode "Big Fat Alien Wedding" has a marriage between a human man and an alien woman to bring peace to the war between said alien race and the Plumbers. However, the only reason they even got engaged was because they actually fell in love; the peace treaty was only possible because of their romance.
  • Disenchantment:
    • In the first two episodes, Princess Bean of Dreamland is being forced by her father King Zog to have an arranged wedding with Prince Guysbert of Bentwood, in order to seal a political/economic alliance between Dreamland and Bentwood (the former kingdom isn't as wealthy as the latter). Bean's refusal to actually marry Guysbert (or his more annoying brother Merkimer, who replaced him as the groom after Guybsert accidentally stabbed himself on a sword) sets off the first main storyline in the show.
    • This is also mentioned in the backstory, as an explanation for the (loveless) arranged marriage of King Zog of Dreamland to his second wife Queen Oona, who was originally a princess from Dankmire. Dreamland and Dankmire had been at war for decades, until Zog married Oona as part of a peace agreement; which resulted in the construction of a canal to link the two kingdoms together, along with Oona giving Zog a male heir to Dreamland's throne, Prince Derek.

    Real Life 
  • Imperialist China has a whole concept for this; Heqin — peace marriage — use of marriage to bring peace between two countries. Largely a tool of Chinese imperialism that would tie a defeated ruling family to the emperors, giving the descendants a pass at the throne of the unified state. Policy existed for something like two thousand years.
  • For royals and other powerful people, this was the rule rather than the exception throughout human history. In Real Life this trope didn't get discredited until World War I, when the fact that most every crowned monarch in Europe was related to every other one (largely due to Queen Victoria's nine children and small army of grandchildren) did not stop a horrific war.note 
  • The earliest documented cases come from Ancient Egyptian History: the Amarna Letters of the 14th century BC show that the Egyptian pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty married foreign princesses from Mittani (a kingdom in northern Mesopotamia) and Babylon as an assurance of the powers' mutual good intentions in Canaan, and it is undisputed that Ramses II (of the Nineteenth Dynasty, during the 13th century BC) married a Hittite princess to cement/shore up a peace treaty/alliance with Hatti.
    • The earliest clear example—coming directly from the Amarna Letters—involve brides from Mittani coming to the court of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Mittani had historically been a rival/enemy of Egypt in the Great Power struggle over the Levant; Thutmose III in particular had made much of his campaigns against them, as they had been backing Syrian city-states like Kadesh in their efforts to resist Egyptian suzerainty. But by the time of Amenhotep III (Thutmose III's great-grandson), the geopolitical situation had changed, and Mittani was now an ally of Egypt. To shore up this alliance, Amenhotep married the Mittani princess Gilukhipa, daughter of Mittani King Shuttarna II, in c. 1378 BCE. This is mostly interesting because in c. 1352 BCE—yes, 26 years later—Shuttarna's son Tushratta sent his own daughter Tadukhipa to join Amenhotep III's harem (yeah, Amenhotep III reigned that long). What's more, she may have married his son Akhenaten after he died.
    • Also a bit of an Unbuilt Trope: The Egyptians seem to have studiously kept these foreign wives well away from the succession; they always made sure that the seniormost members of the pharaoh's harem were Egyptian royals and nobles. (While some Egyptologists in the 20th century suggested for various reasons that one or both of Akhenaten's most famous wives—Nefertiti and Kiya—might have been foreign,note  modern consensus is that both were of thoroughly Egyptian stock.) The closest any foreigner ever came to inheriting the Egyptian thronenote  was with Amenhotep III himself, whose mother seems to have been of at least partial Nubian ancestry, but then by that point Nubia had been annexed to Egypt for generations and the Nubian elite almost completely Egyptianized culturally. And it seems to have been widely known in the Ancient Near East that the Egyptians did this. So what we usually think of as the reason for royal marriage alliances—that the heir to the throne will have a blood tie to the allied state—goes out the window, and it seems that, when dealing with the Egyptians, the ancient powers of the Near East saw sending a bride to the land of the Nile as more of a friendly hostage situation than trying to forge permanent family ties to the Egyptian royals.
    • As an interesting corollary, for several centuries the Egyptians studiously refused to send their own princesses to foreign powers—the flow of royal ladies was always strictly one-way from the barbarian lands to Egypt. This was apparently a matter of prestige—they come to us, not the other way around. (The aforementioned Tushratta, either not understanding this or understanding it but miffed about it, sent Amenhotep III several missives begging to be sent an Egyptian royal bride—or heck, even an Egyptian non-royal bride—as part of the Tadukhipa deal, arguing it was only fair; he eventually relented after several rounds of getting nowhere with this tack.) Quite the opposite way of thinking from the aforementioned Chinese heqin.
  • The Habsburgs deserve special note: they managed to expand to a dominant position within Europe during a period over several hundred years almost entirely using dynastic marriages.
    "Leave the waging of wars to others! But you, merry Austria, marry; for the realms which Mars awards to others, Venus transfers to you."
    Habsburg Dynastic Motto
    • And the supreme champion within the dynasty is Karl V von Habsburg, who through his own marriages and those of his parents inherited Austria, the Habsburg Netherlands, the crown of the Holy Roman Empire and the kingdom of Spain (which included roughly half of Italy and an increasing chunk of America). In fact, he inherited so many realms that he couldn't manage them all, so he finally abdicated and split his possessions in two, giving the Spanish crown to his son Philip II and the Austrian (and by extension Holy Roman) crown to his brother Ferdinand (and thence to his nephew Maximilian and his wife, Karl's daughter Maria). And thanks to Karl's marriage to the daughter to the King of Portugal, Isabella, Philip II got to inherit that kingdom too along with Spain. Philip II tried to add England (and Ireland and Wales) as well, through marriage to Mary Tudor, but failed to produce an heir.note  Eventually, the Spanish Habsburgs decided not to allow another family to take their holdings through the same means, and started marrying among themselves (and occasionally their Austrian cousins) only. Within a few generations, this inbreeding drove them extinct—and passed the Spanish throne to another family (the French House of Bourbon) based on one of the few outside marriages they had allowed (between Philip IV's daughter Maria Theresa and Louis XIV—though not before the Austrian Habsburgs tried to nab it for themselves).
  • Endless during the Spanish conquest of America, where the indigenous elites weaved alliances with the new power on board by marrying off their daughters to notable Spaniards, just like they used to do among them up to that point. Conquistadores themselves saw it as an absolute win, as many of them came from poverty in Spain, yet by this way they received free women, free high status in the native societies, and free rich inheritances added to what they conquered themselves (and often, they would even capitalize on the indigenous custom of polygamy to keep married to natives wives by the native rite while marrying others by the Christian rite, although generally all children were legitimized). Almost all notable conquistadores did it with native noblewomen, such as Alonso de Ojeda with the Coquivacoan Isabel, Hernán Cortés with the Aztec princess Isabel de Moztecuma, Pedro de Alvarado with the Tlaxcaltec María Luisa, Francisco Pizarro with the Inca ladies Inés and Angelina Yupanqui, and many others.
  • Eight years of peace had occurred between the Powhatan tribe and the English settlers when The Chief's Daughter, Pocahontas and a settler named John Rolfe got married. All hell broke loose when her father died a few years after she herself did.
  • The marriage of King Henry I of England to Princess Edith of Scotland was seen by some historians as Henry's way of appeasing his Anglo-Saxon subjects; Henry was just one generation removed from the Norman Conquest of England and Edith was a matrilineal descendent of the House of Wessex, who had been the royal family during the days of Anglo-Saxon rule.
  • In a desperate attempt to strengthen the Empire of Brazil, Pedro II was married off to Teresa Cristina, a Sicilian princess. Thanks to the 19th-century equivalent of photoshop, Pedro agreed to the marriage immediately, only to be very publically aghast at Teresa Cristina's not-very-pretty appearance once he laid eyes on her. While they gained greater respect for one another, Pedro and Teresa never really became lovers and Pedro had affairs, much to Teresa's annoyance.
  • After the defeat of Richard III at Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor married the daughter of Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, uniting the warring houses of Lancaster and York. Historians consider this the end of the Wars of the Roses, though rebellions continued through the reign of Henry and Elizabeth's son, Henry VIII. Interestingly, Richard III had planned an alliance with Portugal with himself marrying a Portuguese princess and Elizabeth of York marrying the future king of Portugal. This would have drastically changed pretty much all of European history and beyond had it happened.

Alternative Title(s): Political Marriage


Plumber-Lenopan War

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Main / LoveAcrossBattlelines

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