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Nobility Marries Money

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Ella: You're married?
Sir Peter: She has money, Ella. And she's very fond of my title. It was either get married or sell the house.

A marriage between a Nouveau Riche family who want respect from the upper class and an Impoverished Patrician family. The tradeoff is obvious. The rich family climbs a few steps up the social ladder, and the impoverished family climbs out of the financial hole.

This can set up a number of plots. For one, it's likely to be an Arranged Marriage, in which case either the bride and/or groom is probably none too happy about it. Often we get a Runaway Bride, and all the subsequent adventures she has, or the wedding goes through, and we see the drama that can ensue from such a pairing.

This has been Truth in Television for centuries, but it became especially notorious during the Victorian Era/The Gilded Age when many British noble families were running out of money and married their sons to brides from families of American industrialists and businessmen (the most prominent example being Consuelo Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough; in the same family, the match between Lord Randolph Churchill and American finance heiress Jennie Jerome produced Winston Churchill). These women were known derogatorily as "dollar princesses". The trope is also sometimes inverted in Continental European works when provincial Nouveau Riche males seek lovers/mistresses/courtesans from Impoverished Patrician families, either those who were born so or even women who have been married at some point in their past to a Blue Blood and so lay claim to a real or fictitious title.

Compare Gold Digger, Meal Ticket, Trophy Wife. Contrast Marry for Love, Unable to Support a Wife, Altar Diplomacy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Found in Stepping on Roses: Nozomu, the heir to a banking fortune, has an arranged marriage to Impoverished Patrician Miu. When she asks about divorcing Nozumu, her father says that they need his money.
  • In The Secret Agreement, this is the idea behind the very sudden wedding between Iori and Hisayo. The well-respected Hanayashiki family arranges a marriage with the wealthy Yonekura family to restore their fortunes. The Hanayashikis are guaranteed financial security and the Yonekuras benefit from the Hanayashiki reputation. The groom stays for the ceremony but ends up running away that night, chasing after his lover. The remaining family members seem to get along, however, and still consider it a legitimate alliance.
  • In Emma: A Victorian Romance, this is the main reason Viscount Campbell approves his daughter Eleanor's engagement to William Jones despite his disdain for anyone who is not an aristocrat (the Joneses are wealthy merchants, and relative newcomers to high society). There is a great deal of gossip about the Jones family fortune and the Campbell family's financial straits at the party celebrating their engagement.
  • Code Geass: Suggested to be the reason behind the Ashford family's attempts at setting up Milly with various suitors. The Ashfords are very rich but lost most of their political standing after the murder of Marianne, one of the Emperor's wives and Lelouch and Nunnally's mother, as she was the noblewoman they threw their support behind. The man Milly ultimately gets engaged to, Earl Lloyd Asplund, is technically nobility but not very wealthy and works as an engineer. Subverted in that Lloyd doesn't give a damn about money, he just wants to inherit the 1st-generation Knightmare Frame the Ashfords happen to own. When Milly breaks the engagement later in the series, he doesn't care at all.
  • Played for Drama in The Rose of Versailles: Alain de Soissons and his family are impoverished nobles, with his sister Diane being engaged to another impoverished noble... Who suddenly marries the daughter of a rich family without even bothering to call off the engagement to Diane until the last moment, causing her to kill herself and Alain to sit near her body in tears for days.
  • Boys over Flowers: Tsukasa’s mom, Kaede, is a super wealthy businesswoman who puts money and status above everything. After succeeding in marrying off her daughter, Tsubaki, to her chosen wealthy businessman, she tries to do the same to her son, Tsukasa. Upon learning her son is in love with a commoner, Tsukushi, she tries everything to keep them apart, including forcing Tsukushi's parents and friends' parents/relatives’ business go downhill or fired from their jobs. Eventually she's failed as she notices how much Tsukasa loves Tsukushi that she reluctantly lets her son marries Tsukushi.

  • Shown in Pavel Fedotov's 1848 painting Matchmaking of the Major, where a noble, but rather poor retiring major intends to marry a rich merchant's daughter. The painter wrote a none too short poem commenting on the art piece.
  • The concept is relentlessly satirized in 18th Century British artist William Hogarth's Marriage A-la-Mode, a series of paintings that tell the story of an Arranged Marriage between the son of a bankrupt Earl and the daughter of a greedy businessman. The marriage is a disaster right from the start, with both partners quickly engaging in affairs with other people and generally neglecting each other and the crumbling state of their household. In the end, the husband is killed in a duel against his wife's lover when he catches them in the act. The wife then commits suicide after both her husband has died and her lover has been executed for his murder.

    Fan Works 
  • Queens of Mewni: While Estelaria the First Star's marriage to Jett Stone was a love match, it couldn't be denied that he also came from the richest family in the Butterfly Kingdom. It's said their daughter and Estelaria's successor, Hemera the Builder, would have had a very different reign if she hadn't had the Stone fortune available to build Mewni Castle with.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Corpse Bride, Victor's parents have money and are extremely excited to get a chance to be part of the nobility. Victoria's parents are noble and are absolutely disgusted that marrying her off to the Nouveau Riche is the only way to get out of their perpetual poverty — they even acknowledge that the only thing that would be worse would be marrying someone else poor. However, once Victor and Victoria meet, they like each other for other reasons.
    • Later on, Victoria's parents find a lesser nobleman with almost as much money as Victor's family and decide to switch to him instead - except he's a gold-digging serial killer.
  • In the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog, Prince Naveen comes to New Orleans to find a young woman from a suitably wealthy family to marry, because his parents have cut him off. After many adventures and quite the Belligerent Sexual Tension with the low-born Tiana, however, they marry and they work together in the restaurant she builds.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Catherine Called Birdy (2022): Birdy's cash-strapped parents try to find a rich husband for her to get out of debt.
    Finneas: There are plenty of men foolish enough to trade their fortune for the prefix of 'lord'.
  • Crimson Peak: Impoverished aristocrat Sir Thomas Sharpe marries Edith Cushing, daughter of a rich American businessman. Turns out, this isn't his first attempt at restoring the family fortune.
  • In Titanic (1997): The blue-blood girl Rose gets engaged to the millionaire Caledon, heir to an American steel tycoon. Rose's father got her family into debt, and their family name is their only real asset now. After the whole Titanic "adventure" takes place and Rose loses her True Love, the poor artist Jack, she hides from Cal and disappears from his life, ultimately becoming a famous actress.
  • Shakespeare in Love: Viola, a daughter of a wealthy merchant, marries Lord Wessex, who needs money.
  • Gosford Park:
    • Sir William McCordle was a wealthy industrialist who married Lady Sylvia, the daughter of an Earl whose family was impoverished. Sir William pays an allowance to his wife's aunt, Constance, Countess of Trentham; he expresses his intention to stop paying this money before he is murdered.
    • The Honourable Freddie Nesbitt married his wife, Mabel, who was the daughter of a glove manufacturer. Their marriage isn't happy.
  • The Last Duel: Marguerite de Thibouville and Jean de Carrouges wed largely because de Carrouges needs money and Marguerite's family needs social capital.

  • The novel The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton (and the BBC mini-series based on it) revolves around five wealthy and ambitious American girls, their guardians and the titled, landed but impoverished Englishmen who marry them as the girls participate in the London Season in search of a titled English gentleman for matrimonial purposes.
  • The Alloy of Law: The protagonist Wax, who is the current Lord of an old but currently broke house, arranges a marriage contract with a woman from a young and well-off house.
  • A theme in George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows in his Epic Fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The Vale Houses are being increasingly forced into this, as their notorious snobbishness means many of them are having financial problems. Manipulative Bastard Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is using his skill with money and connections to Gulltown merchants to set up marriage alliances between debt-consumed High Lords and wealthy merchants.
      • Lyonel Corbray is a prominent example. We hear that the only one of the Arryn branches aside from the main line that isn't impoverished are the Gulltown Arryns, due to their marrying merchants.
      • Littlefinger engaged his bastard niece Alayne Stone to Harrold Hardyng, a cousin to the Waynwoods and heir to the Eyrie through his mother's mother due to deaths in the main Arryn line (though Alayne is really Sansa Stark, heir to the North due to the (presumed) death of all her brothers).
    • In the Westerlands, the Westerlings, an old and honorable but increasingly minor house, married into the Spicers, a relatively new house formed by a family of spice merchants. Because of this, the other Westerlands Houses look down on them.
  • Jane Austen:
    • Persuasion:
      • Mr. William Elliot of the Kellynch family and a future baronet (Sir Walter's heir presumptive) married a low-born woman from a butcher's family who was vastly rich. He wanted to be independent and get wealthy quickly, and when he was young, he did not value the baronetcy and his Blue Blood connections a lot. His wife loved him very much, but he didn't love her at all. It's implied he treated her rather harshly, if not outright cruelly. Moreover, Mr Elliot doesn't mix with her family after her death, so they gained very little from this marriage while Mr Elliot was all take and no give.
      • Anne Elliot fell for Captain Wentworth before the start of the plot. Her friends and aristocratic family tell her to reject him because he's poor. A few years on, he's risen up through the ranks of the navy and made quite a lot of money, while Sir Walter Elliot is deep in debts. However, the marriage of Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot relies on their love, and he doesn't care much for her coming from Blue Blood and she doesn't really care about his great wealth beyond being happy that they can afford to get married and have a comfortable income.
    • In Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby marries Miss Gray. He's a gentleman (and a scoundrel) of the landed gentry with a mansion house called Combe Magna, and he will inherit another house from his childless kinswoman, Mrs. Smith. However, he lives extravagantly and is deep in debts. Miss Gray has a dowry of fifty thousand pounds, which makes her the wealthiest heiress in Jane Austen's 'verse. Her feelings for him are not entirely clear, but he was a fashionable, handsome man, and she wanted to get married so she could part with her guardians with whom she didn't get along. Willoughby claims he loves Marianne Dashwood, who is lovely, intelligent, and passionate, but poor as a church mouse; Miss Gray, being rather plain, is understandably jealous, but it's only Willoughby's words. They are not an ideal couple but the narrator says at the end of the book that they were not always unhappy together.
  • In Arcia Chronicles, everyone thinks that this is the reason why Alexander (the king's youngest brother) marries Jacqueline re Flo (daughter and sole heir of the wealthy late King Maker). However, in reality, he does it mainly to protect his Unlucky Childhood Friend from other, less scrupulous suitors.
  • Discworld:
    • Subverted in Men at Arms with Sam Vimes (then poor and a common copper) marrying Sybil Ramkin (the richest and highest-titled lady in Ankh-Morpork). Only in later books is it revealed (or Retconned) that the Vimes family was nobility before being stripped of their titles and money for killing the last king of Ankh-Morpork, and Vimes becomes a Duke only some time after he's married.
    • Referenced in The Truth, when William separates himself from his father by using the dwarf tradition of repaying the costs of his childhood.:
      Lord de Worde: Do you really think that family is a matter of money?
      William: We-ell, yes, historically speaking. Money, land and titles. It's amazing how often we failed to marry anyone who didn't have at least two out of three.
  • In The Leopard Don Fabrizio, a Sicilian Prince, arranges a marriage for his nephew, an impoverished princeling with the daughter of a Nouveau Riche (whose father was one of his peasants). Fortunately the betrothed are besotted with each other, and the practical advantages of the marriage are a great element of their infatuation.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • Kethry of the Vows and Honor trilogy has a vicious version of this in her backstory: when she was twelve years old, her brother decided to fix his Impoverished Patrician status by marrying her off against her will to a rich and ambitious merchant with a thing for little girls. Kethry's old nurse managed to help her escape, but unfortunately not before the wedding night.
    • The reasons and political maneuvering behind the various forms of Arranged Marriage among the nobility are a theme of Closer to Home. Many of the young ladies (and, more to the point, their parents) are hoping to land wealthy merchants who will parade them at social functions, instead of older nobles merely looking for someone to provide an heir and a spare. The main characters, members of the more sexually liberated Heralds, decide that something ought to be done about a culture that raises girls to aspire to no more than a good match.
  • In Agatha Christie's The Mystery of the Blue Train Derek and Ruth Kettering are the classic example of British nobleman with troubled finances with a filthy rich American heiress. They are miserable together and seek the company of other people.
  • Eodar of Glory in the Thunder turned down his one chance to marry into money. He pressures his daughter not to make the same mistake.
  • The laotong relationship in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan ends up serving this purpose between the families of two little girls, who will be bound as dear friends for the rest of their lives. Lily's family (that of the narrator) is rich, ascending farmers; Snow Flower's family is high-ranking and aristocratic, but penniless. Lily's family learns elegant manners from Snow Flower; Snow Flower prepares for her descent into the working class with her time spent at Lily's.
  • Masters of Rome: The marriage of Gaius Marius to Julia, aunt of Gaius Julius Caesar, is a classic example. The Caesars are impoverished nobility with just enough means to maintain a decent lifestyle and Marius is a very wealthy 'New Man' who desperately needs some political clout. In all justice to Julia's father he likes and admires Marius as a man and believes he will be a good husband. Also the proposed bride and groom fancy each other from the start making it a Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • One of these was set up in the backstory of Counselors and Kings, in the form of the marriage arrangement between Keturah (a powerful wizardess and rising star in The Magocracy of Halruaa who had nonetheless yet to accrue a significant fortune or powerbase) and Dhamari (a less talented wizard who was not considered nobility because he came from a family of Muggles, despite the fact that said family were very successful and wealthy merchants). However, this was just a smokescreen for Dhamari and his ally, Kiva, to get a child of Keturah's who they could control.
  • An increasing trend of this comes up as a background detail of the Vorkosigan Saga as the series progresses, as the aristocracy - sorry, warrior caste - of Barrayar, the Vor, have just spent the last generation taking advantage of Uterine Replicator technology to selectively produce sons, and many Vor families are also seeing fortunes dwindle as the economy changes from contact with galactic society.
    • Emperor Gregor's marriage to Laisa Toscane of Komarr has undertones of this. The Emperor is not an Impoverished Patrician, but the merchant fleets of the Toscanes deal in just that much wealth to add some of that flavor to their relationship. Taxes from Komarr are an incredibly significant income stream for the Barrayaran Imperium.
  • In the backstory to Harry Potter, impoverished pureblood witch Merope Gaunt left her degenerate family to marry a wealthy Muggle, Tom Riddle Senior, whom she'd drugged with a Love Potion. This...didn't work out. Her husband abandoned her once she stopped doping him, so she quickly ended up destitute and alone, and her remaining relatives never saw any of the Riddle family's wealth either. Ultimately, instead of rejuvenating the Gaunt family's wealth, marrying outside Blue Blood rejuvenated their bloodline, allowing their son to become one of the most powerful wizards of all time instead of being pathetically inbred. Unfortunately, this son turned out to be Tom Riddle Junior, also known as Lord Voldemort. He was at least as depraved as his ancestors — both because of his family's prior mental illness due to inbreeding, and because he grew up in a loveless orphanage after Merope died giving birth to him. Voldemort also developed ideas on pureblood supremacism akin to his maternal family's attitudes, apparently unaware of how his Muggle parentage benefited him.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, this is the background of the mystery. Lord Robert St. Simon is a London aristocrat who married a wealthy American woman, Hatty Doran. Whose previous husband was Not Quite Dead.
  • The first Flashman book averts this, then fulfills it. Harry Flashman is first shown as a well-to-do member of the gentry who is forced to marry a Scottish merchant's daughter who he seduced for her beauty, not money. Later on, his father reveals he has squandered what is left of the family fortune, leaving Harry totally dependent on his wife's money. In a later book, he refers to her as a 'Scotch pension", a Victorian expression referring to this trope.
  • A Brother's Price:
    • Cullen's mothers had a brother who was married off for money and status to the princesses' mothers — and ended up killed as part of a political game, which Cullen's mothers have regretted since, one of them calling their late brother a sacrificial lamb. The Whistlers couldn't pay the price that Cullen normally would have gotten, but Cullen's eldest sister agrees to the price anyway, stating that she wants Cullen to be happy and doesn't want to bear the same regrets their mothers do.
    • Played straight with the marriage offer of the Porters, who are nobility, but never married a royal prince, which they seek to amend by marrying a descendant of Prince Alannon, even though he may be poorer than they are. It's also part of their political scheming. They already placed themselves in the line of succession of the monarchy and the wealth and titles that come with it by having their brother marry the Princesses, but marrying a descendant of a former prince would make their claim on the monarchy twofold if something were to happen to the Princesses — a tragedy they just so happen to be planning.
  • The French Lieutenant's Woman: Ernestina Freeman is the only daughter of a rich industrialist and fabulously wealthy. She's engaged to Charles Smithson who is from aristocratic circles. He's not poor though and actually a future heir to his uncle's house and title. Ernestina chooses Charles and cleverly manages to attract him, and he proposes. Turns out Charles' uncle marries and has a son of his own, so Charles is left much poorer than presumed. He's now expected to "deserve" Ernestina's dowry and correctly assumes Mr Freeman will want him to be involved in the family business. Charles doesn't show it, but his gentleman's honour is insulted. In the ending that turns out to be Charles' imagination, Charles expects that his resentment will gradually vanish and that he'll find his new responsibilities interesting. Their marriage is supposed to be this trope as well as marrying for love. In reality, Charles breaks the engagement off, mainly because of his infatuation and relationship with Sarah, the titular French lieutenant's woman.
  • Holmes on the Range: In the first book, Lady Clara is the daughter of an Impoverished Patrician and is viewed as being Defiled Forever by British society for her past romance with her father's secretary. Social Climber George Edwards (the son of a successful but despised Snake Oil Salesman) is willing to overlook her past (and pay her father's debts) if marrying her will get him accepted into high society. Clara is already secretly married, and commits suicide after being exposed as one of the book's villains.
  • Jane Eyre: The expected match between Miss Rosamond Oliver and St. John Rivers is supposed to be Nobility Marries Money as well as a marriage based on mutual love and affection. Miss Oliver is an heiress, the only child of Mr. Oliver who is the proprietor of a needle-factory and iron foundry. St. John Rivers is a clergyman and Impoverished Patrician. Jane the narrator notes that Mr Oliver considered his good birth, old name, and respectable profession as sufficient compensation for the want of fortune. However, St. John aspires to be a missionary and he sacrifices love and domestic happiness for his lofty dream.
  • Belisarius Series: Calopodius and Anna - Anna's family is extremely blue-blooded but has fallen on hard times, while Calopodius's family is immensely wealthy but only has an illustrious pedigree due to the diligent efforts of scribes creating it from whole cloth. Becomes a Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • The World of the Five Gods book Penric's Demon starts with an example on the lower end of the spectrum. Not only is the Barony of kin Jurald a petty mountain vale where the local sports include poaching, archery, and tax evasion; but what the last head of the family did not blow on gambling and drink, the current one is bleeding away with his susceptibility to "any pious beggar, be they in rags or temple robes." Therefore, Penric kin Jurald, younger brother to the incumbent, was on his way down the road to make his betrothal to the daughter of a prosperous cheese merchant in town official when the plot started.
  • Star of Deltora, the latest Deltora Quest Sequel Series, introduces the Collectors of Illica, who have long ago sunk their fortunes into vast collections of rare and valuable artifacts. Their MO is to marry their children off to wealthy foreigners, then drain their new in-laws dry in service of the Collections.
  • In The First Man In Rome, the marriage between Gaius Marius and Julia Caesaris Major is this. The Julii Caesar are an Impoverished Patrician family who need money to ensure their sons can become senators and their daughters can have sizable dowries to make decent marriages. Marius, on the other hand, is very wealthy but his plebeian status means he can only go so far in the patrician-dominated senate. In exchange for bankrolling his brothers-in-law's political careers and sister-in-law's dowry, Marius would gain a a patrician wife and through her, acceptance in the highest levels of politics. Julia and Marius fell in love immediately, though, so it all worked out.
  • In The Sorrows of Satan, the Earl of Elton is waiting for his wife to die so he can marry the 20-year-old American heiress, Diana Chesney, despite her being the same age as his daughter, so he can pay off his many debts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor has this in spirit. Mon Mothma, who will someday go on to become more or less the Big Good of the Rebel Alliance, is a Senator first under the Republic and then the early days of the Empire who comes from a prestigious family with a history of being leaders and politicians, which practically makes her nobility on her home world. During the events of Andor, in order to continue discretely channeling funds to the nascent rebellion, Mothma has to enlist the aid of an extremely wealthy man from her world who is about halfway between a Morally Bankrupt Banker and a gangster. Said man suggests that Mothma arrange an... introduction between his son and Mothma's daughter, who are just about the same age. Their planet has a long history of arranging marriages between prominent families when the children are young, a tradition Mothma despises (she herself was forced into an arranged marriage with her Upper-Class Twit husband Perrin when they were fifteen, and the first season shows their relationship as an utter failure), and she knows that it amounts to case of this trope. She will gain his exorbitant wealth and connections that allow her to bypass Imperial regulations on moving money around, he will gain her family's legitimacy and reputation. Very reluctantly she has the two meet at a party, and by the end of the season the two teens are apparently bethrothed.
  • The Blackadder III's episode "Amy and Amiability" was headed in this direction. Prince George, who was bankrupted by Parliament at the beginning of the season, attempted to marry the daughter of a wealthy industrialist for her money. Regrettably, it turns out she's poor too.
  • In Brass, Bradley Hardacre is a parody of the classic Nouveau Riche businessman who tries to use marriage as a path into the aristocracy. His wife, Lady Patience, is evidently from a noble family, giving her a courtesy title, and their marriage is certainly no love match. Furthermore, in the course of the series, he persuades his daughter Isobel to marry an aged and depraved aristocrat in the hope that this will help him acquire a title of his own.
  • The page quote is provided from an episode of Law & Order that featured a case made more complicated by the fact that the murder involved neighboring families with engaged children with a very complex relationship. It turns out the engagement was a merger between impoverished patricians on the one hand and nouveau riche on the other.
  • The trope is all over the place in Downton Abbey:
    • Just to start with, it forms the backstory of the show. Lord Grantham went to New York to find his bride; he found Cora Levinson, daughter of a dry-goods magnate from Cincinnati. A significant fraction of the first season's drama comes from the fact that, at the old Earl's insistence, Cora's money was entailed to the estate - i.e. it can't be separated from the land and title. 30 years later, they only have daughters (outside a few ancient, mostly Scottish oddities, British noble titles are very strictly part of the Heir Club for Men), and thus the family is very anxious about what will happen to the daughters.note  Fortunately for Robert and Cora, though, they ended up falling (and, somewhat more remarkably, staying) deeply in love with each other after the wedding (well, he did; she loved him already).
    • Lord Grantham's sister, Lady Rosamund, was married to a Mr. Marmaduke Painswick, a very wealthy but untitled banker whose grandfather was a self-made manufacturer (sure, his grandmother's father was a baronet, but that only goes so far). As the Dowager Countess put it, he wasn't quite a "rough diamond," "just cut and polished relatively recently."
    • In Series 2, Lord Grantham's eldest daughter, Lady Mary, is courted by a self-made newspaperman, Sir Richard Carlisle. Sir Richard, rather a rough diamond but very rich and very powerful (he knows everything that happens in Britain) and well in line for a peerage during the next Tory government, hopes that a marriage to an earl's daughter would ease his path to the upper crust. However, it eventually proves that he and Lady Mary simply don't work as a couple, so this is, essentially, a subversion.
    • In Series 3, Matthew - a middle-class solicitor, the heir-presumptive to the title and estate, and by this point Lady Mary's husband - comes into money just as Lord Grantham finds out that he had lost everything (being a bit of a fool in financial matters, he had put the whole fortune in one basket, which was nationalised by the Canadian government). However, Matthew's new money comes from Mr. Reginald Swire, the father of his late fiancée, Lavinia Swire (Mr Swire himself was, like Matthew, a solicitor; his brother was apparently a Liberal minister and linked to the Marconi scandal); Matthew, who blamed himself and his happiness with Mary for Lavinia's death, feels guilty taking Mr Swire's money. Commence half a series' worth of conflict.
    • The old, widowed, and impoverished Lord Aysgarth (whose title, although "merely" a barony, is apparently very old) tries to pull this on Martha Levinson; she declines, saying she "ha[s] no interest in being a 'great lady,'" but offers to invite him to Newport so he can meet some old rich American widows who do. His daughter, Madeleine, has more success with Harold Levinson, but he eventually proves as savvy as his mother. In the end, they exchange You Are Better Than You Think You Are speeches and part as friends.
  • Although technically not "nobility", Pete Campbell of Mad Men definitely qualifies as an Impoverished Patrician - despite being able to trace his ancestry to the original Dutch settlers on Manhattan (except perhaps for Virginia planters and Boston Brahmins, you really can't get any more Blue Blood than that in America!), and his family on his mother's side (the Dyckmans) once owning half of Upper Manhattan,note  by 1960 the Campbells are in serious financial trouble on account of his grandfather's bad investments in the 1920s and his father's more recent profligacy. So he marries Trudy Vogel, the daughter of a self-made executive at pharmaceutical firm Richardson-Vicks (the guys who make Clearasil anti-acne cream - the critical account that makes Pete so attractive to Sterling Cooper - as well as, well, Vicks. Like NyQuill and VapoRub). This has... mixed results.
  • In Medici, Giovanni de' Medici, who came up from the bottom, marries off his elder son Cosimo to Contessina de' Bardi, a noblewoman, who is the daughter of an Impoverished Patrician. Her father made some bad investments and is now forced to give his daughter away for a fraction of what he would otherwise get. Meanwhile, Giovanni sees this as an opportunity to legitimize his House as a noble family. While Contessina's father hopes his daughter will serve as his eyes and ears in the Medici camp, Cosimo makes it clear that he expects his wife to be loyal to him and to the Medici, no one else.
  • Crash Landing on You has a variation. The Ris are not nobility in the traditional sense, but instead a very high-ranking military family with a lot of clout (which may as well make them nobility in authoritarian North Korea). In episode 6 it is explicitly stated that they are marrying Jeong-hyuk to Dan, a department store heiress, for money.

  • It is heavily implied in An Inspector Calls that Sheila is probably engaged to Gerald (who is the son of Lord and Lady Croft) because of this, but her anger towards his revealed adultery with another woman shows that she probably loved him regardless of his family's history. Her father, Mr. Birling, shows delight at the news of the engagement; Gerald's father owns a rival manufacturing company and Birling hopes the marriage will make them merge, and possibly earn him a knighthood from the King. When his daughter says that she doesn't want to marry Gerald after the news, Birling is the first person to defend him, pointing out that many men in high authority are womanizers and that she's just overreacting, hoping to keep the couple together.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay mentions that this is common in The Empire, and less so in Bretonnia. In The Empire, noble titles can be bought and sold, and becoming nobility through marrying is neither uncommon nor particularly scandalous. In Bretonnia, where in order to be a noble all your grandparents must also have been nobles, only truly desperate nobles or lesser sons with little prospect of an inheritance marry merchants because none of their children will be nobles and thus able to carry on the family name.

    Video Games 
  • In The Last Story, although both were nobility, Jirall's family had fallen on hard times, but they were close relatives of the emperor. Count Arganan was quite wealthy, so he set up his niece, Calista, to marry Jirall and tie his family to the throne.
  • In Princess Maker 2, the Player Character and the Daughter can be considered as local nobility since the Father is the Hero who saved the Realm years ago; if the Daughter defeats a Young Dragon from the Western Desert, he will fall in Love at First Punch with her, so he and his grandfather will later offer the Father 10,000G as engagement gift. If the player engages the daughter to the Young Dragon, the player can kiss their money problems goodbye from then on. If the Daughter has no other prospect love interest, they get married and it's all but stated that, despite the groom's wimpiness, they're more or less happy in the end. However, if the Daughter has the Prince of the Realm as a suitor, she'll marry him instead and become Queen, leaving the Dragon heartbroken.
  • The Unexpected Heiress: A marriage is arranged between Francis Somerset, the son of a viscount whose estate is running low on funds, and Amelia Hayes, the daughter of a Nouveau Riche American magnate. They truly were in love, but Amelia suddenly dies in Francis's arms. The families are determined to make the marriage go through and send in the protagonist, Lillian, to take her place. Francis and Lillian maintain the façade of a happy couple while trying to solve Amelia's murder before their wedding takes place. One of Lillian's romantic prospects is Francis's younger brother John, but the families aren't as pleased with that pairing.