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Perfectly Arranged Marriage

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A childhood betrothal turns out to be true love.
"Yesterday, my mom and dad told me I was getting engaged to the grandson of my grandfather's best friend. We're Japanese-American so it wasn't that unusual. So today I met my new fiance and realized that it was the same guy that I spent 3 hours with on Facebook, debating whether Pokémon was better than Yu-Gi-Oh!. I think it's fate."
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No one likes an Arranged Marriage, especially those so betrothed. They'll rip their clothes, gnash their teeth and swear to... was that them necking in the atrium?

Despite their initial opposition, the couple who have been betrothed discover they not only like each other, but love each other, and make it perfectly clear that even if they weren't in an arranged marriage they'd still choose to marry or at least start dating. Drama being what it is, you can expect their earlier attempts to undo the arranged marriage will mature and succeed, and their parents set them up with a new fiancée or fiancé that they do hate. Expect one or the other to have to swallow their pride and come out and say they do love the other.

A variant is that both meet outside of the home environment (before or after the declaration) without immediately recognizing each other. Maybe they ran away from home entirely, only to happily embrace "a fellow in misery" — and later commiserate about their bossy parents. Eventually, once they recognize one another, their shared common ground helps them fall in love.

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Sometimes this perfectly arranged marriage doesn't come about randomly, but intentionally by parents, like a Batman Gambit scenario. One or more of the parents involved who knows both well enough has arranged the marriage since both are highly compatible and could naturally fall in love. In fact, this is the purpose of an 'arranged marriage' in the first place. It is akin to a matchmaking service, and the couple will generally have some sort of courtship before tying the knot, and it's very rare for someone to be forced to marry a person they despise. Even a Gold Digger would want a decent relationship if for no other reason than to help in securing the knot.

In other cultures, however, especially feudal societies, marriages would be struck between noble houses to secure alliances, build power, get closer to the throne, etc. In cases like this, the couple's individual romantic tastes are a very low priority, as they see the marriage as a duty to their families. But then it turns out they love each other after all.

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This trope is frequently used as a justification for the use of the Arranged Marriage and Altar Diplomacy tropes to audiences with Western sensibilities, who are often uncomfortable with the concept of forced marriage. It's not a violation of free will if both want to get married, after all.

Compare Marriage Before Romance for when a couple has gone through with a marriage for other reasons than love and only then starts to develop feelings for one another. Expect a lot of arguing and bickering to contrast with the more idealised love story of the unwed, ending in a big Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment, to the surprise of everyone, most of all themselves.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai Yori Aoshi is this without the Slap-Slap-Kiss start. The difference occurs because the families had annulled the arranged marriage before the plot even began, and they felt otherwise. Slap-Slap-Kiss wouldn't really be funny in the guy's case due to the Abusive Grandfather.
  • Played hilariously in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. Nobuna arranged for her younger sister Oichi to marry Asai Nagamasa. Except that unlike the real-life Oda Nobunaga, Nobuna doesn't actually have a younger sister Oichi. Instead she forces her younger brother Nobusumi to crossdress as "Oichi". Fortunately, it turns out that Asai Nagamasa is actually a woman crossdressing as a man, and the two of them fall in love. After the Asai clan betrays the Oda clan, unlike in reality where things ended badly for both Nagamasa and Oichi, in this case Nagamasa fakes her death and Nobusumi resumes his real identity. Then Nagamasa takes up the false identity Oichi and marries Nobusumi again.
  • In Basilisk, Gennosuke Koga and Iga-no-Oboro's betrothal is arranged in order to put an end to the long-standing war between their respective families. Conveniently, they both fall in Love at First Sight (as kids, in the anime; as adults, in the manga). Later, things go straight to hell And they end up Together in Death.
    • In a sort-of variation, it's mentioned in the manga that Gennosuke actually was not the first option for Oboro. Her grandmother Ogen had thought at first of engaging Oboro to her second-in-command, Tenzen Yakushiji, but decided against it since she didn't fully trust him. Considering that Tenzen turned out to be a ninja version of the Evil Chancellor and the series' especially cruel and sadistic Big Bad, she was right. Obviously, that didn't stop him from trying to get Oboro as his puppet bride after Ogen's death.
  • In Black Butler, 10-year-old Ciel has an Arranged Marriage with his cousin Elizabeth. Interestingly enough, even from the beginning, there's no objections or Slap-Slap-Kiss from either side, and both of them take it as being natural and are rather fond of each other. Of course, they are only kids... It ought to be noted as well that three years later in the manga, despite all the awful things that happened to Ciel that left him orphaned, abused, atheist, and a little too grown-up for his age, Ciel's love for Elizabeth is even stronger. And she does her best to protect him, now that she has taken a level in badass.
  • Teharu Kosukegawa in Change 123 finds out that his father has engaged him to marry the daughter of the man who saved him from a bear. Kosukegawa, who is already in a close relationship with Motoko (Multiple Personalities notwithstanding (they're even helping)), and naturally goes up to the country to politely turn her down. Until the girl in question turns out to be Motoko.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX centers around a team of state-assigned pairs whose relationships (although not always romantic in nature) are surrounded by sexual metaphors. Many of these pairings don't work out—whether because of cruelty, Incompatible Orientation, or just plain incompatibility—but Ichigo and Goro were friends even before being paired and Goro has always loved her. By the Distant Finale, they've gotten married for real.
    Ichigo: Thank you for being my partner.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba presents two examples:
    • The Ubuyashiki family, lords of the Demon Slayer Corps, have their leaders afflicted to an accursed disease that eventually eat away their bodies in their youth, to ease the burden of this curse the Ubuyashiki head is always paired to a woman descended from a family of priests that have watched over the Ubuyashikis since they were cursed; in the present Kagaya Ubuyashiki and his wife Amane continued this tradition, however, they are actually very much in love with each other, Amane seeing her marriage beyond mere duty.
    • Tengen Uzui, the Sound Hashira, is married to three beautiful kunoichi as per custom of his former Shinobi clan, the original intent was for Tengen to treat them as mere breeding tools to produce more children to the clan, and eventually sacrifice themselves in a mission if needed; however, Tengen is not as cold blooded and heartless as his former clan, he wanted a better life for himself, Hinatsuru, Suma and Makio, which led them to defect, prioritizing their happiness together.
  • Yura Kawada and Makoto Onoda, the main couple in Futari Ecchi. In a variation, the relationship is arranged via a matchmaking service.
  • Yomi and Noriyuki in Ga-Rei -Zero- are engaged to be married by their fathers. Yomi's adoptive father did give her the choice to call off the marriage if she didn't want it, but she still accepted while pretending it was a sense of duty. The truth was that Yomi and Noriyuki do love each other. Sadly, tragedy strikes Yomi and their engagement gets cancelled by Noriyuki's father.
  • Used in 70s shoujo manga Haikarasan Ga Tooru, where the Hanamura and Ijyuin clans arrange a marriage between Benio Hanamura and Shinobu Iijyuin before they were even born. Plucky Girl Benio refuses the idea at first, but when she sees that Shinobu is a genuinely Nice Guy who does care for her, she starts falling for him. And then, they become Star-Crossed Lovers. Until the Bittersweet Ending, that is.
    • There's also a variant in this: Benio and Shinobu's engagement was arranged as a sort-of compensation for a love match that couldn't be consummated, between Benio's now-deceased grandfather and Shinobu's beloved grandmother who raised him instead of his parents. Therefore, Shinobu initially accepted the arrangement more calmly than Benio because he wanted to fulfill a promise to his grandma that was made decades ago, and then he met Benio and fell for her genuinely.
  • Souma with Liscia, Roroa, and Naden in How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. All of these marriages were forced upon them, but they all come to truly love each other over time. In Liscia's case, this was invoked by her father, who had memories of an alternate timeline where the two met and fell in love naturally.
  • Macross 7: Possibly Mylene and Gamlin. It's pretty clear that Gamlin loves Mylene and would have no problems with marrying her. Mylene, for her part, likes Gamlin well enough, but it's an open-ended question (including to herself) whether she loves him or not. Another complication to the matter is that Mylene is, at the end of the series, a mere 15 years old and really isn't too interested in thinking about marriage just yet.
  • My-Otome goes through the setup for this with Mashiro and Takumi - both escape from an arranged meeting that Mashiro's staff hopes will lead to better things and meet incognito in the poor side of town. Mashiro is definitely crushing big-time on Takumi by the end - and then he gives a scathing critique of her performance as queen, and his aides announce that the purpose of the visit was to announce the complete isolation of Takumi's kingdom.
  • In Maison Ikkoku, Shun Mitaka is introduced to Asuna Kujou by way of an omiai arranged by his uncle. She is head over heels in love with him. He, on the other hand, objects strongly to the union at first, partially because he is in love with Kyouko, but also because of her large number of dogs, of which he is deathly afraid. However, after accidentally proposing to her due to a misunderstanding, he warms up to the idea a bit more, and eventually falls in love and marries her.
  • Downplayed in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Athrun and Lacus are childhood friends, and supposed to marry by their politician fathers' decision. They force themselves to be nice to each other. Then government breaks, Athrun's father declares that his son's marriage is out of the question and he must track Lacus and her father down as criminals. He finally sides with Lacus and both escape. When they reunite, they also learn that Kira and Cagalli, who get along really well… are actually brother and sister. No words exchanged, they agree "you can have Cagalli, I can have Kira? Great!" and are no longer interested in each other, except as friends.
  • One Piece plays with the trope.
    • An Arranged Marriage is set up between "Black Leg" Vinsmoke Sanji, roped against his will, and Big Mom's 35th daughter, Charlotte Pudding, The two are perfect for each other, with Love at First Sight on both parts, similar tastes, and the groom's charms and gentlemanly behavior immediately work on the Nice Girl bride. However, there are some major problems: first Sanji is a member of the Straw Hats and doesn't want to leave his crew and dreams behind, and second the other person who arranged the marriage is Sanji's very abusive Archnemesis Dad Vinsmoke Judge. Since simply backing off the marriage isn't an option because of the parties that organized it, the bride decides to sacrifice her happiness with her groom-to-be to help him escape... but the groom, whose Parental Substitute and True Companions are being threatened if he doesn't comply and who loves his bride a lot, rejects this when she not only learns of his Dark and Troubled Past but brings up the matter directly to him. Only time will tell what will happen with these two. Unfortunately for Sanji, Pudding is evil while acting like sweet and is in fact planning to kill him along with the rest of the Vinsmoke family just so Linlin can take away their cloning technology. Perfectly Arranged Marriage? It was a Honey Trap... Fortunately, after a short Heroic BSoD, Sanji keeps his Nerves of Steel and decides to return to the Straw Hats to fight back, soon finding out Pudding's heartbreaking reasons to be the way she is. And a while later, Pudding is actually falling in love with Sanji, as he was among the first persons who truly treated her well.
    • Big Mom's other daughters, Praline and Chiffon. Praline is head over heels in love with Aladine, and Chiffon and Bege are deeply devoted to each other and their child Pez. The marriages Big Mom arranged for them are so happy, in fact, that they're willing to betray Big Mom for their husbands.
  • An earlier arc in Ouran High School Host Club featured two students in an arranged marriage to seal a business alliance between their families. However, they do already love one another: the boy is an Insecure Love Interest who wants to go abroad so he can be more appealing to his girlfriend, but said girlfriend is hurt because he made the decision without consulting her. Of course, the Host Club can't help but make sure the misunderstandings get cleared up... using the most convoluted means as possible.
  • Juda and Alexandra in Red River (1995)... sorta. When Ilbani sees how well the two are getting along, he checks that Juda's legal spouse died in the plague and then decides to arrange for the two to be officially wed. Side materials confirm that the two were very Happily Married.
  • Shaman King, between Yoh and Anna. She, at least, is definitely in love with him (she comes right out and admits it at least once, although not to Yoh's face). Yoh's feelings, while a little more ambiguous, definitely include affection for Anna (albeit mixed in with a healthy dose of fear). During the Osorezan Revoir Arc -where we see Anna and Yoh's first meeting- it's explicitly shown that it was Yoh who was the first to fall in love. By the second half of the manga we see just how much Yoh cares for Anna; he puts her above everyone else he knows. For example, when the X-Laws tell him to quit the Shaman Fight in exchange for bringing Ren back to life, he starts off by thanking everyone else for helping him get that far, then apologises to Anna and Anna alone, even though there were others who would have been disappointed because one of his reasons to become Shaman King was a promise made to her.
  • The premise of the series Sore wa Totsuzen, Unmei no Aite ga or Suddenly, the Marriage Partner Showed Up. In the near future, a Japanese government organization called the Coupling Center proposes matches based on genetic compatibility. A person has the right to turn down a coupling, but no protagonist has done so yet. The Pilot chapter was about a sibling pair determined to have superior genetic compatibility, and the series seemed determined to address the very real issues of such a system making matches that violated existing social mores and personal psychology; but after that it slipped into more conventional romance fare with other couples, using the Coupling Center as a plot device to shortcut past Cannot Spit It Out territory and other romantic obstacles. (The brother/sister pair are shown still struggling with so much as a kiss in their Distant Finale epilogue of volume 1, at least, making it clear they haven't been able to overcome the Westermarck Effect yet.)
  • In Twin Star Exorcists, Rokuro and Benio are forced to get married because fate says they will bear the child that saves the world. They do not care for this - especially since they're barely teenagers - but understand that the other isn't to blame and eventually fall in love.
  • Subverted for comedy's sake in Urusei Yatsura. Ryuunosuke Fujinami and Nagisa Shiowatari, at first glance, seems like they were tailor-made for each other; they're a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy pairing taken to the extent that they're both Wholesome Crossdressers, not to mention a Bishōnen and a bifauxnen to boot, they both have insane fathers who were so set on having a child of a specific gender that they raised them as the opposite gender, and they're both badass martial artists. The problem? Ryuunosuke hates pretty much everything about Nagisa, because she desperately wants to be a normal girl and Nagisa has gleefully embraced his mixed-up gender. Add in Nagisa's other negative traits, such as his gluttonous appetite and his constant hugging, and Ryuunosuke can't imagine a less appealing spouse. Ironically, Nagisa is absolutely head-over-heels for Ryuunosuke, although he refuses to change who he is to make her more comfortable.
  • In Violet Evergarden, Princess Charlotte and Prince Damian. Charlotte is revealed to have fallen in love with Damian years earlier, well before their marriage was arranged. Part of her hesitation with going through with the marriage is because she feared that Damian didn't want to marry a girl ten years his junior. At Violet's encouragement, Charlotte wrote personal letters to Damian, asking what he wanted, even offering to break the engagement if he didn't feel the same way. He admits that he does love her too. Later episodes showed them being Happily Married.
  • Played with in The Vision of Escaflowne, with Princess Millerna Sarah Aston and Prince Dryden Fassa. She and Dryden are a mild version of Belligerent Sexual Tension as Millerna's put off by his Rich Idiot With No Day Job facade and Dryden is a snarky Guile Hero. (Not to mention Milly has a huge crush on Allen). They grow fond of each other as the series advances, and then they get married - and then the trouble starts. And when it's all solved, Dryden calls off the engagement: he cares for Millerna and might be in love with her at that point, but he feels he still has to work hard to become truly worthy of marrying a girl like her.
  • The Wallflower: Local Bishōnen lady killer Ranmaru has wealthy parents who set him up in an Arranged Marriage. He initially tries to get out of it by making the bride-to-be, Tamao, hate him. Though he could easily just break off the engagement himself, it's pretty clear he has no intention of doing so and as the story progresses it seems he really does develop genuine feelings for her. It helps that she just might be the only woman alive who is willing to love him despite his ladykiller antics. Heck, she might be the perfect match for Ranmaru because she may be too innocent or otherwise strong-willed to be thrown off by Ranmaru's usual antics. Ranmaru himself is affected by this as the only time he ever seems to show any guilt about his womanizing is when he's forced to see how it hurts Tamao.

    Asian Animation 
  • Earlier seasons of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf imply that the main villain Wolffy and his wife Wolnie dated each other before becoming Happily Married, but the third film retcons it into an arranged marriage. In the film, Wolnie works at a canteen before she meets Wolffy. The canteen prepares a horrible-tasting plate of fried rice and tells all the male wolves in the building that if any of them can eat the whole thing, they'll get to marry Wolnie. Wolffy, who misses this announcement, sneaks into the canteen to eat the fried rice. Cue Wolffy and Wolnie getting married and being happy with each other.

    Comic Books 
  • Gambit and his ex-wife Bella Donna Boudreaux met when the two were both eight years old, before they would be betrothed to one another to end the feud between the Thieves' and Assassins' Guilds. The two became best friends naturally and deeply loved each other. Gambit only left her behind because he didn't want to take her away from everything and everyone she loved.
  • Doctor Strange's manservant Wong was betrothed as a child to a girl who wasn't even born yet. Nevertheless, he has no problem falling in love with Imei once they meet, though she dies before they can get married.
  • This happened with the former king and queen Maximillian and Alicia Acorn in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). This was a case of Because Destiny Says So since the Acorn family consulted with The Source of All to decide whom the royal family should marry.
  • In Runaways Vol. 2, Xavin and Karolina are supposed to marry to stop a multi-planet war. It's perfect for the "forced couple love each other" part, it's the political part which ends not perfect at all: war resumes despite Xavin and Karolina's best efforts.
  • Played for drama in Les Légendaires: prince Halan had an arranged marriage with Jadina. She wasn't interested, so when she was demonstrated the arrangement attracted more assassination attempts than it solves conflicts, she ran away to become an adventurer magician, founding the team. Halan, on the other hand, was fond of her and sees the mission as an opportunity to get her again.
  • Seuls: Saul and Camille, per the former's group's rule, ends up being married. As they spend time together, they genuinely fall in love with each other, with Camille being Saul's Morality Pet. Up until Saul ends up being the champion of the First Families and of Good while Camille is the "Midnight-Child", champion of the Last Families and of Evil. And even then, it's clear Saul still loves Camille. It's a bit more unclear on Camille's side of things, though.

    Fan Works 
  • As Fate Would Have It: After seeing Nate prove himself as a Trainer and saving their daughter's life, Yancy's parents offer him the chance to become their daughter's fiance. While initially unsure on whether to accept the offer or not, the young couple eventually accept.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfiction, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise is described as such by the fans of the Austria/Hungary couple. If not, well, either of them will be subjected to Die for Our Ship. (Most frequently Austria.)
  • There are a lot of Éomer/Lothíriel fanfics running around to the tune of this trope.
  • In Blind, a Naruto Fanfic, 99% of arranged marriages with a Hyuga end up this way. How, you ask? Well, the bride and groom are told at the age of 3 who they're arranged to marry but told that the other person doesn't know. They then have the option of trying to win the other person's love but have until they are 15 as they have to tell their spouse about the arrangement and when they're 16 they marry whether there is love or isn't. Many choose the former.
  • While Astrid in Bound (How to Train Your Dragon) was upset when she found out that her parents set her up with Hiccup behind her back, they become friends rather quickly when her mother asks her to get to know him, with Astrid eventually realising that Hiccup is the only person her age in Berk that she would actually want to marry.
  • Child of the Storm has Frigga mention that she and Odin became this, despite the age gap, once she realised that most of the gruffness was a front.
  • Contact at Kobol features an interesting case where the arranged marriage backfired for the people arranging it; the highly religious Spiros family arranged for their son to marry the daughter of the equally religious Contos family, but husband and wife discovered that they each shared monotheist beliefs, to the extent that they basically 'defect' to the Tau'ri to enjoy religious freedom.
  • In Harry Potter and the Restored Legacy, by Crossoverpairinglover, Lucius and Narcissa are described to be this way... unlike most fanfics where it is definitely not.
  • While their marriage was political in The Home We Built Together, Astrid has no ill-will towards him while Hiccup respects her as a person and already had a crush on her. As time goes by, they develop a fondness for each other before it escalates to actual romance.
  • Chapter 10 of a Detective Conan fic, 30 Hugs: Heiji and Kazuha. In a slight variation, they had the Slap Slap part down just fine, but it wasn't until after they found out about the marriage that they realized the Kiss part sounded pretty nice too. They still freaked out about it immediately upon realization, but calmed down and came to their senses eventually.
  • A Man of Iron:
    • When he was betrothed to a Frey girl, Robb Stark was understandably nervous but resigned to do his duty. Then he was introduced to Roslin Frey and fell hard AND fast.
    • Jon Snow and Natasha Sand were both bastards, so they never expected to have a spouse picked for them. Until their families - Stark and Martell - decide to ally through their wedding, and the teens realize they do get along quite well. This is later complicated somewhat when it is revealed that Natasha is the Black Widow, answering to the mysterious Council. Jon, unsurprisingly, feels betrayed and believes she doesnt' relly love him - though he still loves her, as she loves him.
  • In the Code Geass Alternate Universe Fic Mosaic, Suzaku married Euphemia for political reasons, but that doesn't stop the couple from loving each other.
  • In the A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Ned Stark Lives, where Ned Stark isn't executed by Joffrey, Robb Stark returns to the Twins to fulfil his marriage pact as part of the agreement made to stop the Lannister siege of Riverrun. He is extremely apprehensive at first, given that the Freys tend to be physically unattractive and that he had no say in the matter, but when he meets Roslin Frey, his squire's sister, he falls for her. The marriage goes along very well, even though the Freys were planning to betray the Starks just moments ago, and only stopped when Walder Frey became aware of the inevitable backlash that would happen.
  • In no matter how bright a torch may burn, Peggy Sue Sansa-in-Cersei, knowing that not all of the royal couple's marital issues came from Cersei, has a painful chat with Robert, who believes this trope was in effect with him and Lyanna Stark. Sansa proceeds to deconstruct this outlook and forces him to acknowledge that in the end he didn't really know Lyanna, and that had she survived, he would not have been satisfied with her either. Her devotion pays off, and later their relationship improves, first in appearance, then in private, until they start moving closer to the trope, with Robert as the gregarious, approachable king and Cersei as the quiet, devout, and clever queen.
  • In Our Blades Are Sharp, Lord Bolton sends his son Domeric at Winterfell hoping for a betrothal with Sansa Stark. They hit it pretty well, which pushes Ned Stark to agree to the match. Of course, they still have to marry, and this being Westeros...
    • Robb Stark and Myrcella Baratheon have shades of this, with Robb trying to write bad poetry to the princess and Myrcella daydreaming about Robb crowning her Queen of Love and Beauty. As with the above, unfortunately, there is no guarantee of a wedding at the end of the line.
  • In Smoothie andLuffy, what starts as Altar Diplomacy so Big Mom can get access to the Revolutionary Army quickly results in actual affection between the two with Smoothie even arguing with her mother to let Luffy merely be an ally rather than a subordinate, citing that Dragon already insisted the alliance wouldn't go through if Luffy wasn't a willing participant.
  • Such a Doting Father depicts Enji and Rei Todoroki's marriage as this (as opposed to canon, where it was most definitely not). Sure, Endeavor's parents were looking for a Quirk Marriage for him and approved of Glacia because her Quirk fit the bill (the reason they got married in canon), but Enji romanced Rei normally, and they're quite Happily Married in the present day.
  • The main characters of Terms Of Engagement have this. Saito realizes how perfect the match is when he finds out his fiance Tokio has spent the fic disguised as two different people, secretly terrorizing him and his best friend, running a spy ring and executing a Batman Gambit.
  • In Through a Diamond Sky, it's implied that Tron and Yori were "bundled" as one of these when their Users decided to team them up. Of course, it kinda helped that their Users became Happily Married.
  • In The Torn Prince, this is the backstory of King Elias II and his first wife Queen Astrid. Unfortunately, their harmonious marriage ended after the queen died shortly after Felix's birth. Later, the king's advisor pressured him into marrying the daughter a duke, who became Hans's mother Ava.
  • In The Young Stag, Steffon Baratheon is put in an arranged marriage with Arya Stark in order to unite their houses at the beginning of the story. While Arya is initially unhappy with the arrangement, she is eventually won over by Steffon and the two make a mutual effort to make the best of things before eventually falling in love.
  • A Rose and a Lion: The betrothal of Margaery Tyrell came from Kevan first, but Tyrion wanted to be sure she would understand what she was entering into. As such, both of them have difficulties putting down their political minds or facades with each other, but they enjoy each other tremendously. Their sharp minds, breaking down the walls of each other, and finding a common connection in their empathy towards others make for a enjoyable if not perfect marriage.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina: The title characters (not their names at the time) were betrothed as babies... Well, that was lucky, wasn't it! They even had a backup just in case one came home but not the other.
  • Brave:
    • Elinor admits that she had doubts about her arranged marriage to Fergus years ago - getting a Flat "What" from her husband. But it's clear that they do love each other very much.
    • This would have been the case in earlier drafts where Merida would end up with one of her proposed suitors - Young Macguffin - but not in the finished film.
  • In Corpse Bride, Victor is apprehensive about being put into an arranged marriage... until he actually meets his bride-to-be Victoria and finds her gentle intelligence very appealing. She likewise is charmed by his excellent piano-playing and shyly genteel manners.
  • The marriage in the end of The Legend of Su-Ling. Su-Ling didn't know that Chang was actually the Emperor's son and was angry about being forced to marry him. Chang also didn't know that his father was forcing him to marry Su-Ling and he returned home so that the peasants wouldn't suffer his father's wrath. When they both saw each other, it worked out just fine.
  • A major case happens in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Queen Whatevra Wa-Nabi wants to marry Batman as a way to merge her kingdom with the LEGO Apocalypseberg - thinking Batman is the ruler of said land. Batman insists he is a permanent "Bat-chelor" and there's no way he's marrying her. Using Reverse Psychology, she says she actually wants Superman and just chose him to make Superman jealous. This causes Batman to try and outdo Superman by wooing her. Though things start off on a non-altruistic note for both, they eventually do end up falling for each other as they spend time together, and they are married at the end of the film.
  • In The Lion King, Simba and Nala both recoil a bit when they're told that they were betrothed when they're children. Simba's initial reaction has nothing to do with not liking Nala (they're best friends, after all), and everything to do with him apparently being at the Girls Have Cooties age. The cubs also bring up the point that, because they're best friends, it would be "too weird." However, neither makes much attempt to foil the marriage, as Simba goes into self-imposed exile for unrelated reasons long before it becomes an issue. When they meet again as adults, they follow the rest of the trope to the letter.
  • Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights: In the gender-flipped version of Aladdin, the Prince was supposed to marry the Princess of Serendibe but she disappeared back when she was a little girl. Aliyah-Din was eventually revealed to be the lost Princess. It's very similar to the Sleeping Beauty example below.
  • Disney's Sleeping Beauty. "Father, you're living in the past. This is the Fourteenth Century!" declares Prince Phillip. Luckily, the girl he met in the woods turns out to be the princess to whom he's been betrothed for sixteen years. It works with the princess herself as well. Aurora (aka Briar Rose) is rather understandably devastated when she finds out about her arranged marriage to Prince Phillip (not to mention that the poor girl has just found out that she's a princess, meaning her whole life up until then was a lie) until she discovers that Prince Phillip and that nice guy she met in the forest are the same person. The True Love's Kiss that Phillip gave Aurora to wake her up certainly helps.
  • The Swan Princess toys with this, as pictured above. Prince Derek and Princess Odette, the heirs of two neighboring kingdoms, are betrothed to each other by her widowed father and his widowed mother, who are good friends and want to unite their realms. Forced to spend every summer together, the two generally dislike each other and have to be physically forced into the same space. Then one day they meet each other after puberty, and it's Love at First Sight. Derek demands that the wedding be arranged, but when Odette asks him why, he replies that she's beautiful... and when she asks "Anything else?" he replies, "What else is there?" (Cue the mass Face Palm from the guests.) Odette promptly refuses to marry him, but they are happily married in the end, so the trope is ultimately played straight.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In a bit of a roundabout way in Catching Fire/Mockingjay. President Snow does not arrange Peeta and Katniss's marriage per se, but they know they will have to play the role of lovebirds for the rest of their lives unless they want the Capitol to punish them (and murder their friends and family), so marriage will be inevitable. Katniss suggests the marriage in the hopes of appeasing Snow a bit and Peeta very reluctantly agrees to it (he's in love with her, but doesn't want her to marry him because she has to). In the end, she marries him out of genuine love, and they live as happily ever after as a pair of deeply traumatized young adults can.
  • In Flower Drum Song (the musical adaptation), in order to get out of his Citizenship Marriage contract to Mei Li, Sammy Fong facilitates an arranged marriage between her and Wang Ta. Although Ta initially wants to marry Linda Low (who wants to marry Sammy himself) he falls for Mei Li for real.
  • Inverted in the fantasy film Krull, where the hero and his girlfriend are the children of two rival kings who choose to marry against their fathers' wishes to form an alliance against the movie's Big Bad; inverted because the kids arrange it instead of the parents. The princess gets kidnapped during the wedding and the hero goes off to save her. Their love turns out to be the final weapon that offs the main villain.
  • In the Shaw Brothers flick Heroes Of The East, the protagonist, a Chinese martial artist named Ho Tao, is absolutely disgusted at his father's prospect at marrying him to an unknown woman of a Japanese family who is a business ally of his father... until he saw his bride, Yumiko Koda, who turns out to be absolutely gorgeous. They both end up bonding through their common knowledge of Oriental martial arts, and eventually ends up a happily married couple.
  • Emperor Pu Yi and Empress Wang Rong are described as such in The Last Emperor since Pu Yi says that his dream girl is "a modern wife who could follow the new dances and was educated outside China" and she fits in perfectly. It doesn't last.
  • Not exactly marriage, but in My Sassy Girl the male lead puts off his aunt's attempts to introduce him to her late son's former girlfriend because he is already interested in the female lead. The female lead meanwhile has been putting off meeting her dead boyfriend's cousin at his mother's request because of her budding interest in the male lead. At the end of the movie, it's revealed that the male lead's aunt is the female lead's dead boyfriend's mother. This startling coincidence convinces the pair to give their romance another chance.
  • The first of the Sisi movies with Romy Schneider and Karl Boehm describes Sisi and Franz's love deals as this, as the Lonely Rich Kid Emperor is fascinated by the Manic Pixie Dream Girl lead female who comes as her Proper Lady older sister/his betrothed's traveling companion. She's smitten back with him but is reluctant to accept his feelings because she doesn't want to hurt her beloved older sister, so he plays a small Batman Gambit to get her engaged to him instead and, after Sisi is a bit more comfortable in the imperial court, they get married. In Real Life, however, things weren't exactly that way: Sisi never got used to the strict etiquette and that badly affected her; both had affairs; two of their children died; and even after their relationship was somewhat more stable, Sisi was stabbed to death in Switzerland, and Franz never got over it.

    Literature 
  • Danielle L. Jensen really likes this trope.
    • In Malediction Trilogy human girl Cecile is abducted to marry troll prince Tristan because of a prophecy that their marriage would break a curse. Although distrustful at first, they gradually come to love each other.
    • In The Bridge Kingdom Archives Aren, king of Ithicana, and Lara, princess of Maridrina, get married as a part of the peace treaty between the two nations - which have been fighting for generations. Again, following initial distrust, they fall in love.
  • Machado de Assis wrote a short about a couple falling in love with each other while teaming up to prevent their own Arranged Marriage.
  • In the 1632 series, Prince Ulrik of Denmark and Princess Kristina of Sweden are headed this way. They aren't in love yet (something to do with him being in his mid-twenties and her being only nine), but they are very close. Another example is Ludwig Guenther and Emilie. Despite the disparity in their ages (he is in his fifties, she is 19), they are consistently presented as loving, mutually supportive, and politically on much the same page.
  • Invoked in An Acceptable Time. Klep, destined to be the next chief of the enemy tribe, is captured during a raid and nursed back to health by Anaral, which quickly leads to a seemingly-doomed romance. Later, the "goddess" Polly sets the terms for peace between their tribes and throws in "OH YEAH, this deal will be sealed by Klep and Anaral getting married."
  • In The Belgariad, this crops up frequently Because Destiny Says So... Destiny being a Sentient Cosmic Force of Prophecy who likes to reward cooperation:
    • Garion and Ce'Nedra are foreordained by fate and betrothed by a five-hundred-year-old treaty between their countries. True to the trope, they engage in quite a bit of Slap-Slap-Kiss, but also played with in that neither are told about the arrangementnote  until after they get acquainted and fall in love anyway. As Ce'Nedra notes, Polgara was carefully managing the situation to ensure this happened.
    • Garion's ultimate ancestors Riva and Beldaran are another example: Beldaran's father Belgarath makes the arrangements, somewhat to her trepidation (though she is rather pleased to find out that Riva is, in her words, "gorgeous"), but they fall in Love at First Sight and remain devoted to each other for the rest of their lives. Indeed, her death basically kills Riva, who's a shadow of his former self for the rest of his life, forcing his and Beldaran's son to become Prince-Regent.
    • Another notable case happens in Polgara's backstory. In order to alleviate the Arendish civil wars, it was necessary to marry off two teenage members of opposing houses, who naturally hated each other. Polgara's solution was to lock them in a room together and wait 'til the shouting stopped and the giggling began'. It works; the couple emerges hand in hand apologizing for their previous behavior and stating their rather enthusiastic willingness to do their duty.
    • In general, Polgara has been doing this a lot, mostly because she's making sure that the heirs to the Rivan throne marry the right person (with the Prophecy giving her a helpful heads up as to who that is each time), and notes that she can't just tell them because young people tend to get stubborn about that sort of thing.
    • Barak and Merel are introduced as a subversion: while Barak was thrilled to marry the object of his infatuation, she despised being forced into wedlock, and they turned out not to get along at all. Eventually double-subverted once Babies Make Everything Better - or at least, the third baby is a catalyst for the reconciliation, and they sort out their differences.
  • Every arranged marriage, whether on the Roman or the Indian side, in the Belisarius Series.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow has a particularly good example. Joanna Sedley gets kidnapped from her first arranged marriage by the hero's Wicked Uncle, who intends to force her to marry the hero. The hero, Dick Shelton, ends up running for his life from outlaws with her, except that he doesn't know who she is and vice versa, and it's all very complicated and loaded with UST.
  • A Brother's Price has examples of this, in a unique way, as the marriages in the book are not arranged by the parents (though they are asked for their opinion) but by the brides (plural). One sister may be in love, she will then talk to her sisters, and if the majority of them agree, the wedding takes place. Can result in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage for a sister who was not in love initially, but doesn't always.
  • In Castle in the Air, a former soldier asks Princess Beatrice to marry him as his Standard Hero Reward. She only refuses on the grounds that she's already been engaged to Prince Justin, but decides that the marriage was arranged without her consent and thus she'll go and marry the soldier, for love. In the end, it's revealed that the soldier is Prince Justin under an enchantment. He and Beatrice go on and get married.
  • In The Curse of Chalion, Royesse (Princess) Iselle arranges her own marriage—for rather urgent political reasons—to the crown prince of a neighboring kingdom whom she's never seen, pausing briefly to collect the rumor that he is "well-favored" (which she cynically says people will say about any prince who isn't a perfect fright), before returning to more important practical considerations. When she finally meets him, they've already bonded over their shared love and admiration for the main character, Iselle's heroic secretary, and by the morning after the wedding, he observes that they look like a couple madly in love.
  • King Kelson of Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series has truly rotten luck with his brides. His first marriage is a politically important match to a princess of a rival house who, better still, has been raised to regard him as hellspawn. Kelson is incredibly nervous, but the girl is young and beautiful - and he is seventeen - so by the time the wedding day rolls around he's convinced he's falling in love, and there are indications that the girl may be too. Unfortunately, Kelson is widowed before the ceremony ends. In the next book, he falls in love with a perfectly acceptable princess - who, due to convolutions of plot, is rendered politically impossible as his wife. It is she who arranges for Kelson to marry his final prospect, a cousin who is a really ideal match from the political point of view. At first Kelson, still desperately in love with the other lady, can hardly bear the thought of marrying elsewhere; but as he gets to know Araxie better, the marriage becomes less and less distasteful to him...
  • The Discreet Princess has one arranged by the villain. To explain; the Evil Prince's last wish is for his Prince Charming brother to marry the titular character and murder her as soon as they are alone. Once the misunderstandings are cleared up, the two enjoy a very long and happy marriage.
  • Discworld: Lords and Ladies: It's not an arranged relationship since they're already romantically involved, but it is literally an arranged marriage when Granny Weatherwax basically intimidates Verence into skipping the marriage proposal and going straight to the part where he sets a date for the wedding, sends out invitations, and gets the dress made without even consulting Magrat about it.
    Magrat: It was all arranged! It was all set up before I even got here! I never had a chance to say yes or no!
    Nanny: Well, what would you have said if you had had the chance?
    Magrat: Well, I...
    Nanny: You'd still be marrying the king today, would you?
    Magrat: Well...
    Nanny: You do want to marry the king, don't you?
    Magrat: Well, yes, but...
    Nanny: That's nice, then.
  • In Victoria Ugryumova's Doppelganger for the Jester, a political marriage between The Emperor and a Princess Classic turns out to be so happy for both parties that even his closest advisers wonder whether he is sick or something. His answer? "Gods, I can't believe I've fallen in love with my own wife." It doesn't end well.
  • Dune features one perfectly arranged couple that ruins another arranged couple. Duke Leto Atreides has Lady Jessica as a concubine. He has to stay technically unmarried because he is a noble and might need to link House Atreides to another House; while Jessica is a Bene Gesserit (scheming psychic space-witch), she is not of the nobility. Despite all that, they are very devotedly in love, which may have screwed the other Bene Gesserit over. Leto/Jessica was arranged by the other Bene Gesserit as one of the last steps in a very convoluted plan to produce the Kwisatz Haderach (male scheming psychic space-witch except even more powerful). Jessica, who can control her child's sex, was supposed to have a daughter who could be bred to a Harkonnen son, and their child would be the Kwisatz Haderach. However, Jessica loved Leto so much she chose to bear him an heir, Paul, who as it turns out is the Kwisatz Haderach anyway. That little blip in the plan kicks off the whole epic.
    • Additionally, the marriage of Count Hasimir Fenring to the Bene Gesserit Sister Margot seems to have been quite happy despite having been arranged for political reasons (not genetic ones, however, as Hasimir is a "genetic eunuch"—sterile due to inbreeding).
  • Not technically arranged, but in Orson Scott Card's Enderverse short story "Teacher's Pest" government agents manipulate Theresa and John Paul together, hoping that they'll get married and produce genius babies. They're smart enough to figure out what's happening, but, as John Paul says "even in cultures with actual arranged marriages, you're not forbidden to fall in love with your spouse."
  • Llewelyn and Joanna in Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons.
  • John Moore's Heroics for Beginners has this with the main character and his love interest; they met and fell in love before her father started looking for a husband for her, and so she intentionally became cold and unpleasant to all other potential suitors to put them off. Mention is also made of another prince whose family refused to let him marry until he was thirty and then betrothed him to a six-year-old girl; ten years later, he is the most envied man on the continent.
  • In the Honor Harrington novels, the Mesan Alignment arranges marriages as part of a centuries-old breeding program. They do make a point of trying to bring about this trope, probably because spousal murder would put a crimp in their plans. They certainly succeeded with Albrecht Detweiler and his wife Eveline.
  • The Hunger Games has the Capitol pressuring Katniss and Peeta into an engagement (and later, Peeta lies that they have gotten married in secret, with the audience buying it wholesale). In truth, they are only together because the government demands it of them. However, by the end of the series they are in love and spend the rest of their lives together, eventually starting a family.
  • Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality:
    • In With a Tangled Skein, as Niobe and Cedric manage to sort out problems such as her being several years older and not fond of the prospect of marrying a man so much younger. With a bit of maturing by both parties and a dash of Rescue Romance, they settle into a happy albeit unfortunately short marriage.
    • In Wielding a Red Sword, this is invoked. Mym and Rapture (prince and princess in India) are put in an arranged marriage by their parents, which allows them to hear each other's thoughts and feel each other's feelings, meaning they can't help but get to know each other. So they stay in different parts of the castle, thinking that putting some distance between them will lessen the effect. Not only does that not work, but they soon find out that there is a spirit/demon/creature thing that will terrorize the princess if she's away from the prince, and due to the castle's first effect, he feels her fear. And worst of all, by the time they finally come around and learn to love each other, the princess's nation falls out of favor with the prince's, and the prince's parents stick another princess in the castle with him so he can do it all over again. This time, he and princess #2 opt to escape.
  • Occurs twice in the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb; in both cases, a Farseer prince was engaged to a foreign princess to secure an alliance and the couple ended up falling in love. The second one ended quite well, the first one less so.
  • In Kushiel's Legacy, Queen Ysandre de la Courcel married Cruarch Drustan mab Necthana because they loved each other. The fact that their marriage saved Terre D'Ange from an invading horde and restored Drustan to his throne is, in fact, coincidental.
  • In the comedic play Leonce und Lena by German 19th century writer Georg Büchner, Prince Leonce and Princess Lena run away from their arranged marriage with each other, by chance meet for the first time in a lodging house, and of course fall in love with each other.
  • The prince in The Little Mermaid is told to marry the princess of a neighboring kingdom, but he wants to marry the lady who helped him at a temple It turned out that said lady was the princess since she had been sent to live in the temple for a while. And ironically, the eponymous Little Mermaid made that happen by not letting him see her before she left, and thus lost the chance to marry him herself.
  • In The Long-Nosed Princess by Patricia Hallowell, the eponymous Princess Felicity is arranged to marry the very handsome prince of a neighboring country, but he rejects her insultingly at first sight. She's heartbroken by this - not because she's fallen in love, but because he's destroyed her self-image. Later, while on his way to court another princess, he is attacked by Felicity's animal friends and she nurses him back to health. Why does he find himself thinking of Felicity constantly while courting the incredibly beautiful princess? And what is he going to do about that grinning fool of a Prince Harry who thinks he's going to marry Felicity?
  • Discussed in the Mary Tudor POV novel Mary Bloody Mary. Mary knows she will have an arranged marriage, and secretly hopes it will be to her governess's son Reginald Pole. Sadly, they become Star-Crossed Lovers, as Reginald is a devout Catholic while Mary's father is setting up his own church. Mary did eventually marry once she became queen (after the end of the book), but the marriage was not this trope.
  • In The Mote in God's Eye, aristocrats Rod and Sally return from their expedition to the Moties to find they are being shepherded into an arranged marriage. Fortunately, they'd already fallen in love.
  • Between Hannah and Daniel in The Queen's Fool, although it is a bit zig-zagged. First, she doesn't want to marry at all and would rather stay at court when Daniel leaves to Calais. They exchange a few letters and she falls in love with him by the time she has to leave the court. They get married, but their relationship is poisoned by Daniel's mother and sisters, eventually resulting in her running away from him, only to realize that she really loves him when Calais is taken by the French, she escapes to England, and he gets captured.
  • In The Riftwar Cycle, Prince Arutha is head over heels over Princess Anita and is extremely lucky that their marriage is also extremely politically beneficial for the Kingdom.
    • Of course, in this case, the marriage wasn't technically arranged. Their fathers had been considering arranging said marriage, but then the Riftwar broke out and they found themselves occupied with that and never got around to actually betrothing their children before they both died. Arutha proposed to Anita on his own initiative after the war ended.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms does this for Liu Bei and Lady Sun (or Sun Shang Xiang in the period operas), despite the fact that it didn't turn out so well in actual history.
  • Does happen a few times in The Royal Diaries:
    • The marriage between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI didn't start out this way, but over the course of the book they start to understand and fall for each other (and in real life they genuinely did fall in love, to the point that Louis refused to take a mistress).
    • Jahanara's mother selects a bride for her oldest son Dara, who is quite eager for the marriage to take place as they have met before and were quite taken with each other. (It should be noted Jahanara's parents were an example as well.)
    • Sadly, while the fictional diary of Empress Elisabeth portrayed her marriage to Franz Joseph as this, the reality was an inversion.
    • Averted, much to her sorrow, with Kazunomiya: she had been in an arranged marriage with Prince Arisugawa, a marriage which both of them eagerly anticipated. Then it was broken off so she could marry the future shogun Iemochi instead. Iemochi, at the least, sympathizes with Kazunomiya's pain (as he himself can't be with the woman he loves because of class prejudice and his upcoming marriage) and is okay with her having an emotional affair with Arisugawa.
  • In Safehold by Schism Rent Asunder, King Cayleb of Charis marries Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm in what was originally a cold-blooded political move to unite their kingdoms. When they finally meet, it is Love at First Sight.
    • Prince Nahrmahn of Emerald and his wife Princess Ohlyvya were betrothed at a young age and eventually ended up falling in love, much to their mutual surprise. (And benefit, as the practically-minded Ohlyvya tempers some of Nahrmahn's... more volatile characteristics.)
    • Done deliberately with Irys and Hektor. They clearly like each other but both are unwilling to make a move due to the circumstances. Sharleyan decides to deal with it by making their arranged marriage a condition of the peace treaty between Charis and Corisande.
  • Signe and Guibor de Barbentain, in A Song For Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay. An unusual example, in that it is not supposed to please modern sensitivities - all nobles are in arranged marriages, most of them polite and civil, some downright unhappy. Signe and Guibor are introduced as a true exception, an arranged marriage that also happens to be a love match. Of course, when they are introduced, Guibor has been dead for a year, and Signe is an old woman left with happy memories.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark and Lady Catelyn Tully. Catelyn was engaged to Ned's older brother Brandon and Ned was (or at least was rumored to be) in love with a woman called Lady Ashara Dayne. Brandon was killed as part of a mass execution that kicked off a civil war, and the marriage between Cat and Ned was hastily set up to keep a Stark-Tully alliance going into the war. They have five children together and are still having good sex and maintaining a loving relationship as the first book starts, despite Cat's resentments about Ned insisting on having his bastard son Jon Snow around.
    • Princess Daenerys Targaryen and Drogo, Khal of the Dothraki horseriders, unexpectedly become very close soon after their marriage and are quickly eager to start a family, though the issues of consent and Stockholm/Lima Syndrome are murky given that Dany was sold to Drogo by her brother Viserys in order to gain an army. In the later books (with Drogo and Viserys now dead and Daenerys a Queen and Khaleesi in her own right), Dany is well aware that she was lucky Drogo came to care for her genuinely and that her fate could have been much less bearable, which is part of why she's campaigning against slavery.
    • Also, Lord Edmure Tully and Lady Roslin Frey genuinely come to love each other, despite the wedding itself turning out... badly. The infamous Red Wedding was a pretext for her family to slaughter his at the feast while Roslin got pregnant by Edmure with the next heir to Riverrun, and Edmure himself was taken captive. Roslin was tearful during the ceremony because she knew what was coming but was under threat by her father and brothers not to say anything.
    • Subverted with Prince Joffrey Baratheon and Ned and Cat's elder daughter Lady Sansa Stark. It's set up when they're preteens and Sansa genuinely falls for Joffrey and imagines him to be the perfect prince charming she always wanted to marry. Then he shows his true colors by executing her father and everything goes to hell, with Joffrey lavishing cruelties on Sansa whenever possible. Sansa now despises him and is terrified when she has her first moonblood because of the prospect of Joffrey forcing himself on her. Fortunately, their engagement is ultimately broken when his family needs an alliance with the Tyrells. Less fortunately, Sansa is then put into another arranged marriage with the Lannisters, being forcibly wed to Joffrey's uncle Tyrion. However, while their marriage is not this trope, it's a huge improvement for Sansa, since Tyrion is the White Sheep of the family and treats her kindly.
    • Weirdly enough, Lord Roose Bolton and "Fat Walda" Frey. Roose was allowed to pick whatever Frey girl he wanted when it came to choosing a bride, with the stipulation that he would receive the girl's weight in silver as a dowry. Based on who Roose Bolton is, you wouldn't expect any marriage of his to turn out well. He even burns Walda's love letters when she writes to him. But by the fifth book, he mentions that he's "become oddly fond of [his] fat little wife," and their marriage actually seems quite happy.
    • Prince Tommen Baratheon and Lady Margaery Tyrell get along famously, although due to the age difference (Tommen is eight and Margaery is sixteen) the relationship is totally devoid of any romance, with Tommen seeing her as more of a Cool Big Sis figure. She was originally engaged to his older brother Joffrey, but his poisoning put an end to that (thankfully, given that Joffrey was The Caligula).
    • So far, Prince Trystane Martell and Princess Myrcella Baratheon. Both are too young for their relationship to be romantic yet, but they are said to be very close and Myrcella is enjoying her life in Dorne and looks up to Trystane's older sister Arianne. Myrcella and Trystane play cyvasse together frequently (a strategy game not unlike chess), and Trystane doesn't mind that she usually wins.
  • In The Swans War trilogy, a marriage is arranged between Lady Elise and Prince Michael by their evil relatives. Both of them like each other very much when they meet and agree to do everything they can to avoid being forced to marry. That is because an alliance of their houses will empower their evil relatives even more and can produce an heir to the mythical, non-existent throne of the country, ushering in a devastating war.
  • Lynn Flewelling's Tamir Triad offers us Duke Rhius and Princess Ariani (parents of the main character); as Rhius put it: "I was in love with Ariani and her brother was in love with my holdings.". Played straight since they deeply loved each other when they married. Then Ariani turned mad after her son was killed right after birth to save his twin sister and started hating her husband since he knew and allowed.
  • In Rick Griffin's Ten Thousand Miles Up all marriages on the Generation Ship White Flower II are bureaucratically arranged, but main character captain Ateri and his wife Jakari are very much in love with each other.
  • Waltharius: Already before the conflict with the Huns, King Alpher of Aquitaine and King Heririch of Burgundy have made a solemn agreement that Alpher's son Walther will get Heririch's daughter Hiltgunt in marriage. Years later, when they are both hostages at Attila's court, they fall in love with each other, elope together, and in the finale, they marry.
  • In Warbreaker, Siri and Susebron fall in love. This is particularly surprising, given that he originally seems like an Evil Overlord and she's been sent to keep him from invading her country.
  • Wax and Wayne: Wax's relationship with Steris becomes this, to both their surprise. Since he's a nobleman-turned-Cowboy Cop-turned-nobleman and she's a coldly analytical society lady who's profoundly uncomfortable in society, they expect it to be purely a Nobility Marries Money partnership of convenience, but come to realize that they complement each other's talents perfectly and make a great couple.
  • The book "When Dimple Met Rishi" is based on this, with the two's parents arranging for them to meet at a summer conference.
  • Lampshaded in Words of Radiance, second book in The Stormlight Archive. Early in the book, Princess Jasnah of Alethekar begins to set up an Arranged Marriage between her student, Shallan, and her cousin, Adolin. When Adolin hears about this, he muses that letting somebody else pick a wife for him might be kind of relaxing, since Adolin is a Serial Romeo who's managed to offend every single girl in the royal court. Once they meet, it turns out they get on pretty well despite their personalities not being an obvious match. Shallan deals with the news fairly well, too: as the only daughter of a minor noble house, she had grown up assuming she'd end up in a political marriage of one sort or another. To find out her groom-to-be is, by most accounts, the most eligible bachelor in Alethkar is not too shabby. Over the course of the book and the next one, they fall genuinely in love with one another, especially with Adolin's stability, earnestness, and kindness helping to anchor Shallan as she deals with her Lightweaving powers and their severe impact on her mental stability.
  • In Wraith Kings: Radiance, the bride and groom are from drastically different races, consider each other ugly, and hate the idea of getting married. But their wit and Brutal Honesty about all of the above bond the two. Before vows are even spoken, they've reached an understanding.
    “We’ll manage well enough together, Ildiko of Gaur.”
    She briefly touched his shoulder. "I believe you, Brishen of Bast-Haradis."
  • In Piers Anthony's Xanth book Roc and a Hard Place, the King of the Nagas and Grossclout, probably the most powerful of the non-planetary demons, arrange for the marriage of Princess Nada and Prince D. Vore. Knowing that both will object to the arrangement, they and Metria come up with the idea of plonking them in a tower of the floating cloud castle where Roxanne Roc is undergoing community service. The two combine their resources to escape, then kill a monster together once they hit Xanth proper, as Vore proposes to Nada. (The monster started the fight.) When Nada and Vore hear their parents had arranged the match already, and set them up, they almost call things off... but decide not to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • George and Susan on Alien Nation, being former slaves, were paired up by an overseer.
  • On Angel. Not exactly a marriage, but Cordelia's objections to her required ritual "com-shuk" with the "Groosalug" get a lot less strenuous once she gets a good look at him, and even less so once they start to talk. A very sweet (if eventually doomed) relationship results.
  • Downton Abbey:
    • Sort of. There is no arranged engagement between Mary and Matthew, but her parents and grandmother seem to think it would be awfully convenient if they fell in love (their marriage would keep the estate in the family), and they do everything they can to facilitate it. They Do, though Mary regards the family's meddling as more an impediment to their eventual marriage than helpful.
    • In the backstory, Lord and Lady Grantham are themselves a quasi-example: although there was no direct arrangement between their families, Robert married Cora for her money and her money alone. Cora loved Robert from the beginning, and Robert quickly grew to feel the same towards her, to the point where he became deeply ashamed of his initial motivations. By the time we meet them, they're clearly happy together.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Myrcella Baratheon is shipped off to Dorne for a marriage alliance, due to her uncle Tyrion's machinations — or rather, to keep House Martell from marching against House Lannister, as well as to protect Myrcella herself from any dangers lurking in King's Landing — and is seen crying as she sails away, with her mother Cersei vehemently opposed to the idea. However, by the time of "Game Of Thrones S 5 E 6 Unbowed Unbent Unbroken," she is very much in love with Trystane Martell, who reciprocates that love, and they cannot wait to get married. Too bad for them that the families' feud isn't over...
      Jaime: You're lucky. Arranged marriages are rarely so... so well arranged.
    • Zigzagged with Daenerys Targaryen's betrothal to Khal Drogo. It's initially subverted, in that she's not happy to go with him at first and their wedding night is consummated against her will, but then played straight in that gradually they get happier; by "Lord Snow," they seem pretty damn happy together and are expecting their first child before happy times go down the drain. It's then double subverted in The Queen's Justice, where a livid Daenerys recounts "being raped" as one of the indignities she suffered to regain her throne, which reveals she never did forget or necessarily forgive Drogo for their wedding night.
    • According to the History and Lore videos, Catelyn Tully believed she would have this with Brandon Stark, to whom she was initially betrothed. She ended up having this with his younger brother Ned when Brandon was murdered; although their marriage was political, they're mostly very compatible. There was a major setback at the beginning when Ned brought home another woman's child, though it later turned out that the child wasn't even his and he wasn't guilty of adultery—but she eventually got over this "adultery" anyway and after that their marriage was pretty smooth sailing.
    • Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey appear to be this at first, but it gets subverted when it turns out the Freys are just invoking this trope to catch their guests off guard.
    • How Sansa initially views her engagement to Joffrey. In Season 3, Sansa thinks that Loras would be an ideal husband for her when they're betrothed.
    • Joffrey likewise thinks of his engagement to Margaery as this, as he grows to like her well before they're married. Too bad he's oblivious to the fact that she knows he's a monster.
  • The Golden Girls: Rose's cousin Sven is scheduled for an arranged marriage, but falls for Blanche instead. When the arranged bride shows up, she's a gorgeous Swedish girl, and he drops Blanche like a hot potato.
  • Merlin.
    • Uther promises Arthur to Princess Elena, who comes with her father for the wedding. She is quite a nice person, even when unknowingly being possessed by a faerie. She and Arthur get along very well but realize there is zero romantic attraction between them, so they mutually agree to call off the wedding and part amicably.
    • After Guinevere is Mistaken for Cheating and banished from Camelot, Arthur becomes engaged to Princess Mithian on the rebound. She's beautiful, charming, and witty. She effortlessly integrates herself at court and proves herself to be quite politically savvy. Their marriage will solve the land dispute between their kingdoms. They get along well and have plenty of things in common. In many ways, she's designed to be a better match for Arthur than Guinevere, and had they met at any other time or place (or in any other story) they probably would have ended up Happily Married. But unfortunately for Mithian, Arthur comes to realize that he's still deeply in love with Guinevere, and can't bring himself to give her up - not even for the perfect woman.
  • The aim of the reality series Married At First Sight, which arranges marriages between strangers based on compatibility. And they don't even meet until the day of the wedding. Surprisingly enough, some couples did stay together after the show.
  • John and Esme are married off to one another on Peaky Blinders in order to bring their families together and stop an all-out war. John is none too pleased when he first finds out but doesn't mind much when he sees that Esme is beautiful. They seem quite happy together after a little while and genuinely love one another.
  • Rome:
    • Jocasta's family are killed in a mass proscription set up by Antony and Octavian, leaving her with nothing. She is subsequently married off to Posca, a former slave of Julius Caesar. Posca's relationship with Caesar has left him wealthy and influential, but his ex-slave status (which causes him to still be looked down on in Roman society) and the fact that he is far older than her means Jocasta is scared and in tears at the thought of marrying him. Posca, however, proves to be a doting husband and Jocasta becomes very visibly fond of him.
    • Livia is overjoyed to be matched with Octavian, a member of the triumvirate that rules Rome. She's still pretty enthusiastic after he tells her that he'll occasionally beat her for sexual pleasure. When they first consummate their marriage, it's quite a mutual BDSM affair, and they're happily married from then on.
    • Lucius Vorenus and Niobe- though strained at first it grows into love
      Niobe: Love doesn't come unbidden. You must work for her. Strange marriage it would be if you loved each other from the start.
  • The Shannara Chronicles: Played with in season 2. Princess Lyria's mother suggests she marry King Ander in order to unite their kingdoms (and to give the queen the opportunity to take advantage of a civil war in Ander's kingdom to easily conquer it while being hailed as a savior). Both Lyria and Ander are in love with other people, but they decide to go through with it for the sake of their respective kingdoms. They become fast friends and close allies, working together to undermine Lyria's mother's ambitions. Ander dies saving Lyria before they can actually be married, so Lyria has to settle for a less iron-clad alliance between their kingdoms.
  • The White Queen: Invoked and then subverted with Richard of Gloucester and Anne Neville. They are clearly in deep Puppy Love at the beginning of the series, and Anne is giddy with delight when she thinks her father will arrange their betrothal. This falls through, though, and she has to marry Edward of Lancaster. By the time Richard and Anne do get engaged, they are independent adults who set it up themselves.

    Music 
  • Heather Dale's song "As I Am" is narrated by a man (presumably royal) who is hoping for one of these.
    I'm not looking for perfection, and I'm not offering a saint
    I'm not looking for a pretty bird to put in some restraint
    The only thing I want is that you love me if you can
    And I only ask you take me, you take me as I am...

    Theater 
  • Arthur and Jenny in Camelot have never laid eyes on each other prior to their wedding day. Despite this, they take an instant liking to each other and have a very happy marriage — at least until Lance shows up.
  • In Cinna by Pierre Corneille, the Emperor is stunned when he sees Émilie loves Cinna "already" because he arranged their marriage the same day. She clarifies they actually loved each other in secret for four years (not much of a coincidence, Cinna asked for the arranged marriage).
  • The fathers in The Fantasticks intend for their children to marry, so they fake a feud and forbid the boy and girl to speak to each other. It works... at least at first.
  • In The Game of Love and Chance (Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard) by Marivaux, Silvia and Dorante are engaged without knowing each other. They disguise themselves as servants, meet and fall in love, without either one knowing that the other is their betrothed.
  • In Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume, Kudra's first husband turns out to be more awesome than expected and then promptly dies.
  • In The Tempest, Prospero's plan is for Ferdinand (his rival's son) and Miranda to fall in love at first sight so that they'll marry and reconcile a dispute between their families. Which they do. He makes sure Ferdinand means it by pretending to oppose the match.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech had the marriage of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner. The marriage was due to a political arrangement between Hanse and Melissa's mother, Katrina Steiner, but the couple had extremely strong feelings for each other and succeeded in uniting their two realms into the greatest military and economic power in the Inner Sphere for four decades.
  • Given how common arranged marriages are in Legend of the Five Rings, it's natural that at least some of them would be happy. It's actually an Advantage you can take in-game, called "Blessed Betrothal." Besides giving you a spouse you actually like being around, it also gives certain social and economic benefits (since your spouse is more willing to draw on their family's influence to benefit you).
    Daidoji Kyobu: (to Rekai, his wife) I loved you from the moment of our betrothal. I feigned outrage so that you would not think less of me.

    Video Games 
  • Crusader Kings: It is extremely rare, but possible, for betrothed to fall in love while still underage if they're raised in the same court. It is, however, fairly common for characters who are betrothed to be raised in a way that gives them highly compatible personalities, ensuring the couple have a high opinion of each other and therefore a stable marriage. Doubly so if the player bethroths their children to compatible characters intentionally.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a couple examples:
    • The City Elf origin story can be like this if you choose the right dialogue when interacting with your betrothed, whom you have just met. Of course, then it all goes horribly wrong...
    • Cailan and Anora appear to have been this. They were betrothed when Cailan (who is a few years younger than Anora) was still in the cradle, grew up as intimate friends, and (according to the World of Thedas books) even went on a few adventures together before marrying. It didn't stop him from having mistresses now and then, according to Anora, but they love each other in their own way. Unfortunately, then he gets killed at the beginning of the main game. It's also revealed that he was going to divorce her and re-marry just to become Emperor of Orlais, though documents in the game indicate that he was reluctant to do so and it took an entire year for his uncle to talk him into it.
    • If the Warden is the daughter of House Cousland, romances Alistair, and places him on the throne of Ferelden, she can set up one of these for herself, and all of Ferelden is enamored with the royal romance.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has a roundabout example that almost results in an extremely imperfect arrangement: The kings of Trodain and Argonia agreed to have their children marry if they were the opposite sex. They weren't - both kings had only sons - so the agreement carried over to their grandchildren. Unfortunately, Prince Charmles of Argonia is essentially the trope namer for Prince Charmless, and Trodain's Princess Medea (like essentially everyone else both in- and out-of-universe) hates him. But all is not lost: turns out the Hero, a childhood friend of Medea, is also a potential heir to the Argonian throne - his father was the current king's older brother - and in the Golden Ending (the only one in which the Hero learns of this heritage), even Charmles's father supports Medea marrying the Hero over Charmles.
  • The backstory of Dream Chronicles reveals that in the fairy world, fairies go through politically arranged marriages and that love was an alien concept among them until Aeval and Tangle, betrothed to each other, ended up genuinely falling in love and choosing to live in the mortal world so that their son Fidget could marry for love. Unfortunately, Lilith, the fairy to whom Fidget was betrothed, is not pleased when she finds out that he's married Faye, the human player character. And thus Faye's problems begin...
  • We have a few in the Dynasty Warriors games, namely those between Sun Ce and his blood brother Zhou Yu and the Qiao sisters. Despite knowing very little about their future mates and having completely opposite personalities, both couples are shown to be very happy. Same goes for Liu Bei and Sun Shang Xiang. Historically, the marriage between Lady Sun and Liu Bei went terribly. She never permitted him to spend time alone with her, outfitting her maids with weapons to make sure of this, and the instant he went to war with her family she left him.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy XII has the marriage between Princess Ashe of Dalmasca and Prince Rasler of Nabradia, with the two of them truly in love despite the union being arranged for political reasons. They even lampshade in a cutscene how people are assuming it's all to do with politics.
    • The Final Fantasy XV characters Luna and Noctis were friends before international diplomacy demanded they marry, though they didn't know the other reciprocated their feelings. This was convenient both politically and cosmologically, as Luna and Noctis are also fate's bitches, and the world depends on their ability to cooperate.
  • In Odin Sphere, Oswald 'wins' Gwendolyn's hand — complete with a spell that will make her love him — by Standard Hero Reward. As it turns out, the spell wouldn't have been necessary; Oswald genuinely loved her at first sight and goes through the effort of trying to have the spell lifted, and discovers (after her literally going To Hell and Back for him) that Gwendolyn loves him without it. It's a good thing too because Odin had never added the spell in the first place.
  • Oichi and Azai Nagamasa in Sengoku Basara. Unfortunately, Oichi's brother Oda Nobunaga (who arranged the marriage in the first place) is The Demon King, so all happiness went to hell, literally.
    • Same thing happened in Samurai Warriors, except Nobunaga was less (but still) brutal, thus while happiness still goes to hell, bittersweet tragedy also happens in play between Oichi and Nagamasa (they still love each other dearly).
    • Also in the 4th game and especially its expansion, the first meeting between Sanada Nobuyuki and Inahime is basically the latter trying to shoot him dead and they both get locked in battle. And then Nobuyuki gets offered to marry her and then they realize that they're pretty compatible and loving to each other. They did end up happier than the above, although they did have to deal with the death of their stubborn brother Yukimura...
  • A justified example in RuneScape's "Throne of Miscellania" quest. To become the regent of Miscellania, you are required to get engaged to Prince Brand (if female) or Princess Astrid (if male). The royal is initially unimpressed, having been presented with suitors for this purpose by their father before, so you have to actively woo them, show interest in their hobbies, bring them presents, and prove to them that your interest is more than just political. Once you succeed, they and your character fall enthusiastically in love and agree to the engagement.
  • Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns reveals that Ittetsu and Shizu got introduced to each other at an omiai — a marriage-matchmaking service. Despite their different personalities, the two are happily married and have two sons.
  • Rodrik Forrester and Elaena Glenmore are arranged to be married in Telltale's Game of Thrones, but are clearly in love besides. It's to the point that when House Forrester becomes the enemy of the powerful House Bolton and Elaena is engaged to one of their allies, she becomes a Runaway Fiancé and joins the Forresters.
  • In World of Warcraft, an arranged marriage is suggested by Kurdran Wildhammer to stop two other Wildhammer clans from feuding, at first the man involved agrees just because it would be nice to get the families to stop fighting, but after his bride-to-be gets kidnapped and then kills three ten foot tall ogres with a frying pan, he's so smitten he's left in a stupor, and it's revealed she has an attraction to him as well. Any last doubts get cleared up when a Faceless One attacks the wedding, and bride and groom kick its ass equally, putting them both head over heels for one another.
    • In the backstory, King Varian and his wife Tiffin had an arranged marriage, but quickly fell madly in love. Unfortunately, it didn't last long.

    Visual Novels 
  • The official object of the Summit in Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem is to achieve these between the delegates of the eponymous seven kingdoms, bringing them together for seven weeks to foster familiarity and determine which of them make compatible couples. The success rate is said to be quite high, although at least one background provides hints that this may not be as true as believed. You as the player character can end up in one yourself if you pursue a Matchmaker-approved relationship with someone you admit to having genuine feelings for.

    Webcomics 
  • Cursed Princess Club: Zigzagged. When the Pastel King Jack goes to tell his daughters of their arranged marriages, he's worried they'll be upset. His musings are interrupted by them squeeing over their handsome husbands-to-be (and anticipating the wedding night a little too eagerly for his comfort). While her sisters pair up just fine, poor Gwendolyn's introduction to her prospective groom does not go off rosily.
    • Also, as the story progresses, it becomes apparent that whilst Princes Lance and Blaine might be well suited for Maria and Lorena they are still practically strangers to each other. Interestingly, it is Prince Frederick - despite claiming disinterest in Gwen - who gets to know her a lot more personally by focusing on her personality rather than being satisfied with looks alone.
  • Garanos: The main character had one of these, but her fiance got kidnapped, and her current quest is to find him again.
  • In Girl Genius, the Arguron princess Larana Chroma has fallen in love with dashing hero Jiminez Hoffman, but is scheduled to marry the prince of the mole-people. Who turns out to be Hoffman, whom the Mole King adopted as his son. For most of their arc, he has no idea how she feels.
  • No Need for Bushido: The arranged marriage was an assassination plot on one side. Then both principals skipped, and they look like they're in the process of developing Belligerent Sexual Tension. Eventually, during the siege of the village, they reach this trope. Probably.
  • The Overture: Richard Olsen and Janis Lashway were childhood friends long before their mothers arranged for them to be married. Thirteen years later, the fire between the two is still strong.
  • Red String uses the "arranged couple meet without recognizing each other variant" before it turns out the arranged marriage was set up by the boy's mother so he'd at least have the chance to marry a spirited normal girl instead of a stuffy socialite as per his father's wishes. Then his father called it off.

    Web Original 
  • There is no GATE; we did not fight there: Kell and Adrianna, the parents of the main character, were betrothed from birth after their respective parents (and Kytheus' grandparents) secured an alliance of friendship after defeating a hive of monsters. They had a rough start but grew to love each other after Kell proved himself to her.
  • In the AlternateHistory.com timeline A More Personal Union, Elizabeth of England devised the marriage between Madeleine Stanley and Henri the Cyclops to strengthen Henri's claim to the English throne, nothing more. Henri and Madeleine are happy together anyway, probably thanks to them growing up together.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • According to supplementary materials, Ozai and Ursa had this, though they grew distant later. Subverted in The Search, which reveals that she pretended to love Ozai because the alternative would have endangered her original fiancé and both of their families.
    • Played with interestingly: Pakku and Kanna were engaged when they were younger, but she apparently didn't love him and ran off to the South Pole, having a more or less happy family with somebody else and becoming Katara and Sokka's grandmother. (Meanwhile, Pakku became really embittered towards women as a whole, and didn't get over it until meeting Katara.) They met decades later, and married in their senior years.
  • Subverted in the Bojack Horseman. Beatrice Horseman and Corbin Creamerman were paired off by their parents in their youth. As heirs to their respective companies, a marriage would join them in a strategically powerful conglomerate of Sugarman Cubes and Creamerman Ice Cream. Neither parents cared what their children thought but nevertheless the two grew to respect and like each other and their marriage would become this trope. However, Beatrice ends up knocked up by Butterscotch Horseman and the marriage is called off. To this day, Beatrice bitterly regrets her youthful mistakes.
  • Subverted in the Family Guy episode "Leggo My Meg-o": a parody of Taken, where Meg and a friend are abducted in Paris by human traffickers. As Brian and Stewie go about trying to find and rescue her in Paris, she is sold at an auction to a wealthy Arab sheikh. She ends up on his yacht, and it turns out the Sheikh's son wants to marry her and make her his princess, with full access to all the riches of his kingdom — and he's a nice guy, about Meg's age, and not bad looking — and if she turns him down, he'll be sad but he'll fly her home on his private jet. Meg thinks her dreams have come true and wants to marry him — but just then Stewie bursts into the yacht's stateroom and shoots the prince dead.
  • The Simpsons had it happen with Apu. He spends the entirety of one episode trying to get out of his arranged marriage, but when he meets the woman (Manjula) at the wedding he's instantly charmed. (And, she points out, if it doesn't work they can always divorce.)
  • Winx Club had this, although Aisha's objection to being in an arranged marriage wasn't because she didn't like the guy (in fact, she didn't even know that he was her intended), but because she wanted to have the freedom to choose for herself. Once her parents stop making her be in an arranged marriage, it turns out the person she's been dating, Ophir, is actually the arranged marriage guy, Nabu. This relationship also didn't last: the writers did the unthinkable the following season. Nabu was Killed Off for Real! Poor Aisha.

    Real Life 
  • Certainly the goal, if not the reality, of a huge number of arranged marriages in the past. A marriage alliance will hardly pan out if the linchpin people don't like each other.
  • Behold, Los Reyes Católicos (Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel I of Castile—you know, the ones from 1492, Columbus sailing the ocean blue, turning on the Emir of Grenada because God told them to, those guys), first rulers of united Spain. Following their advisors (and, on Ferdinand's part, the recommendations of his father), they mutually arranged their marriage for purely political reasons—their marriage would unite the Castilian and Aragonese branches of the House of Trastámara and place all the Christian kingdoms of Iberia (save Portugal) under a single royal line. However, they were both young, reasonably attractive, and made a good team, and by all accounts, they got along tremendously. Additionally, at least four of their five children and their most famous grandchild all had marriages like this—with the twist that it never ended well:
    • The eldest, Isabel, was betrothed to Afonso, the heir to the Portuguese crown, through a treaty in 1480. When they met in 1490, they quickly fell in love and had a happy marriage. However, it was short, because Afonso died in mysterious circumstances (he fell from his horse even though he was an excellent rider, and his Castilian valet had disappeared without a trace) that benefitted Isabel's parents. Isabel became grief-stricken, and the only reason she did not enter a convent was that her parents never allowed her to. She would eventually marry Afonso's uncle, King Manuel I of Portugal, but she died giving birth to their child, Miguel (who in turn died less than a month short of his second birthday), to the deep sadness of her parents (and their political disappointment: they had hoped Miguel would unify the Iberian kingdoms). Isabel's younger sister, Maria, became Manuel's next wife; theirs was the only marriage involving the Catholic Monarchs' children that ended up as a boring late-medieval/early-modern royal marriage characterised by neither great love nor great tragedy.
    • Their only son, Juan, was betrothed to Margaret of Austria as part of an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximillian I. The two of them fell in love quickly, and, apparently, spent a lot of time in bed together. However, an illness took him before their first anniversary.
    • Juana, their third child and (after the business with Isabel and Juan) heiress to the unified kingdom, married Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy, through the same alliance that married Juan and Margaret (Philip was Maximilian's only son and heir). The marriage turned out this way... too much. They literally fell in love at first sight,note  and they begged to have the marriage formalized the day they met so they could get it on right away. They had six children (including Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, the ruler of the first "empire on which the Sun never sets"). Eventually, things happened, and Juana started to get jealous—but she still loved Philip deeply. But then he died young, and her grief and her jealousy had some kind of wicked party in her head with a familial disposition towards insanity (in fact, it was something of a minor miracle that both of her parents were sound of mind, given that both were members of the ridiculously-inbred House of Trastamara). Hence the epithet "the Mad" - her father Ferdinand had to become Regent of Castile upon his daughter's ascension instead of ruling jointly until she inherited Aragon upon his death. She also carried around Philip's dead body on her travels, another reason for her to be considered mad. And she had him buried so that she could see his tomb from her bedroom's window. Poor mad girl indeed. Phillip the Handsome's death would require a trope of its own.
    • Perhaps Ferdinand and Isabella's most famous child was their fifth, Catalina—known to history as Catherine of Aragon. Betrothed to the English heir Arthur, Prince of Wales, she went ahead and married him; we'll never know how good that marriage could have been, as Arthur died shortly after the wedding. However, Arthur's younger brother, the new heir Henry, was a well-educated and boisterous-but-goodhearted young man, and Catherine apparently found him charming, at least in an amusing-boy way. The English court (after some hemming and hawing) thus decided it would be best if Henry married his brother's widow—even though this required special dispensation from the Pope. The marriage was very happy for the better part of its 24-year existence (although not happy enough to keep Henry from taking mistresses)—but of course, we all know how it ended...
    • The aforementioned Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor—son of Juana the Mad and Philip the Handsome—initially selected Isabella of Portugal to be his wife for purely political reasons. When they met for the first time (to finalize the agreement), however, they fell intensely in love with each other almost at once. As a sign of how happy the marriage was, Charles remained faithful to Isabella for as long as she lived, and when she died he was so distraught that he retired to a monastery for two whole months of mourning. (He would later return to the monastery after too many years fighting the Wars of Religion in Central Europe led him to Abdicate the Throne completely.)
  • As with all tropes associated with royalty, the monarchies of the various British kingdoms are rich in examples of this one:
    • Edward I and his wife Eleanor of Castilenote  were famously devoted to each other, having married quite young at 15 and 12 respectively as part of an alliance between his father, Henry III of England, and her half-brother, Alfonso X of Castile. Despite having only met each other the day before the wedding, Edward and Eleanor became virtually inseparable over their 36 years of marriage, and Edward was never known to have taken any mistresses. Utterly distraught when Eleanor died in 1290, Edward accompanied his beloved wife's body back to London and ordered the construction of memorial crosses at every place where Eleanor's body rested for the night, the Eleanor crosses, some of which still survive.
      • Edward was fortunate in having this with both his marriages, as he also had a very happy marriage with his second wife, Margaret of France. Despite a 40-year age gap (he was 60, she was 20), he and Margaret were said to have been extremely happy. She was kind and loving, and was a very Good Stepmother to his children by his first wife. She was known for her unjealous nature, attending memorial services for Eleanor with him and even naming their own daughter Eleanor after her. When he died, after just 8 years of happy marriage and despite her only being 28, she never remarried, famously saying, "When he died, all men died for me". She remained close to her stepchildren though, even attending the births of their children.
    • Richard II and his first wife Anne of Bohemia, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, married basically as the result of a papal schism (the Roman Pope, Urban VI, urged an alliance against Team Avignon), and while the marriage was very unpopular initially — Richard had to lend his new brother-in-law (Emperor-elect Wenceslaus IV) a substantial sum to pay for Anne's journey to England, while Wenceslaus couldn't afford to provide Anne with a dowry — it was a huge success at the personal level, and Richard and Anne soon proved to be inseparable; they didn't even really maintain separate households, as was usual with medieval monarchs. Richard was, unusually for a medieval English king, genuinely interested in his wife's culture and indulgent of her large retinue, and although they were unable to have children, Richard never held it against Anne (the traditional practice at the time was to blame infertility on the woman). When she died, possibly of plague, in 1394, Richard was utterly devastated; he assaulted the Earl of Arundel for being late to her funeral and asking to leave earlynote , and he later had the palace of Sheen, where she had died, torn down. It is likely that Richard's grief for Anne contributed to the general instability he experienced in the final years of his reign, leading to his deposition and murder.
    • Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, parents of Henry VIII, also fell into this. Their marriage was arranged by their politically ambitious mothers, who were jointly eager to oust Richard III; Elizabeth's claim to the throne (being the eldest child of Edward IV) was a mite stronger than the young Tudor heir's (being a maternal-line great-grandson of a legitimised bastard grandson of Edward III), but Henry was a man and the Tudors were better able to raise an army (through their Welsh connections). By uniting the claims, they both had a better chance of success. The couple accepted it without much complaint, and by the time they were a few years into the marriage, it was a genuine love match. It probably didn't hurt that Elizabeth was the World's Most Beautiful Woman of the day, while Henry was shrewd and conniving but kind-hearted and pious; unlike their son, historians can find no indication that he ever took a mistress. Notably, when Elizabeth died, Henry was so devastated that he fell deathly ill. No one except his own mother could get anywhere near him for weeks, and when he finally agreed to consider finding a new wife, his description of what he wanted was basically a carbon copy of Elizabeth. He ultimately did not remarry, and only outlived her by six years.
    • Anne of Great Britain and Prince George of Denmark. The marriage was arranged by Anne's uncle and was a devoted and loving one.
    • The British monarchs of The House of Hanover produced three of these.note 
      • George II and his wife Caroline of Ansbach were Happily Married and devoted to each other. George particularly relied on Caroline's advice in politics, as she was universally acknowledged as a much shrewder player than her husband. They were happy even in spite of his constant philandering—she knew of and cleared all his mistresses ahead of time, vetting them for both personal flaws and potential political entanglements. He never remarried after her death: Caroline begged him on her deathbed to remarry when she was gone, but he was so certain no woman could replace her that he replied tearfully, "Non, j'aurais des maîtresses!" ("No, I shall have mistresses!").
      • George II's grandson and successor George III, despite only meeting Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz on their wedding day, was Happily Married to her. He and Charlotte were absolutely devoted to one another, and he (unlike his grandfather and father—and most of his sons) never took a mistress. Together they had fifteen children (eleven of whom lived past the age of 60).
      • George III's third son William IV was originally reluctant to make a political marriage, choosing instead to live unmarried for twenty years with an unsuitable Irish actress (by whom he had 10 children). However, after that relationship ended, he married the German princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meningen as a political match—and a financial one (he had been deeply in debt before the marriage). The marriage got off to a rocky start: William famously treated the wedding ceremony as a joke, offending the pious Adelaide. However, with time, the marriage proved to be a happy one; William does not appear to have strayed much if at all, and he treated her as a confidante and advisor as well as a beloved wife (much as his great-grandfather George II had treated his great-grandmother Caroline). For her part, Adelaide was happy to treat her husband's illegitimate children almost as her own - especially the youngest ones, as neither of her own daughters with William survived infancy. She also shared her husband's great affection for his niece and heiress presumptive Victoria; Victoria's mother's incessant snubs to Adelaide were the trigger for William's famous announcement that his only mission in life was to live just long enough to allow Victoria to become Queen without a regency. (He just barely did, to Victoria's eternal gratitude.)
    • Princess Mary of Teck (Elizabeth II's grandmother) was engaged to marry Prince Albert, second-in-line to the throne, but he died of influenza six weeks into their engagement. Queen Victoria subsequently set up Mary with the new second-in-line, Albert's shy younger brother George (the future King George V), and the couple were soon pressured into an engagement by their families. Nonetheless, they quickly fell in love and remained devoted to each other throughout the lives.
  • The marriage between Princess Elizabeth of Hungary and Landgrave Ludwig IV of Thuringia. It certainly helped that she went to live with his family when they were both children and got to befriend each other first, thus making them also Victorious Childhood Friends. Ludwig was a staunch supporter of Elizabeth's religious and charitable work, despite the disapproval of the rest of his family; after he died, she ran away from both her in-laws and her own family and preferred to become a nun rather than remarry. She was later named a saint.
  • Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales before it was conquered by the English, arranged a marriage for himself with Eleanor de Montfort, daughter of Simon de Montfort, because the latter was helping him to defend his crown and position. It turned out to be a genuine love match, despite an age difference of more than 20 years; Llewelyn is almost singularly unique among the Welsh princes for never having been known to take a mistress, and when Eleanor went the Death by Childbirth route bringing Princess Gwenllian into the world in 1282, Llewelyn lost it. He was persuaded by his younger half-brother Dafydd to enter a dangerous campaign against the English, something he had been steadily resisting in Eleanor's lifetime, and died in the fight. (Dafydd, who then took possession of the infant princess and claimed regency, is believed by many historians to have been instrumental in luring his brother into the trap which killed him. He was eventually captured and ultimately Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves by becoming the first person in recorded history to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.)
  • The case of Sisi and Franz Josef spawned one of these - but not for Sisi and Franz Josef themselves. While they got along decently for royals, inasmuch as they didn't really fight, and Franz Josef didn't really take many mistresses (probably no more than two or three over the life of their marriage), Franz Josef was way more into Sisi than she was into him; the free-spirited Sisi found the ultraconservative Franz Josef a little stiff and the ultraconservative Habsburg court rather stifling. Instead, it was Helene of Wittelsbach, Sisi's "spurned" older sister, whose Arranged Marriage with Prince Maximilian of Thurn and Taxis turned out to be very happy. Indeed, Nene was the only Happily Married one among the very unlucky-in-love Wittesbach sisters until Maximilian died of kidney failure at the age of 36. Nene never remarried, and turned to philanthropy and managing the family businesses to ease her loneliness. The particularly ironic part of the whole thing is Nene was originally intended for Franz Josef, before he fell hard for Sisi.
  • Pompey the Great married Julia, the daughter of his political ally Julius Caesar, in an effort to shore up their waning alliance. Despite the significant age difference between the two, they were so caught up in each other that many of Pompey's colleagues found it indecent. It is worth noting that Pompey and Caesar's true antagonism to each other didn't arise until after Julia's death, an event that seems to have devastated both men.
  • Vipsania Agrippina, the daughter of the famous military commander Agrippa, was betrothed to the future emperor Tiberius when she was less than a year old. Despite this extremely political start, once they actually got married, they fell in love and were very happy together. Unfortunately, it ended badly, as Tiberius's stepfather/adoptive father ordered him to divorce her for his stepsister Julia, while Vipsania was pregnant with their second child, no less.note  When Tiberius saw Vipsania after the divorce, he actually burst into tears, which is a sign of how much he loved her because Roman men did not show emotion in public.note 
  • Sarah Forbes Bonetta was forced into a marriage with James Pinson Labulo Davies, which she initially refused, citing the fact that she did not truly love him (or even know him). Eventually, she agreed to marry him, and they were Happily Married for nearly 20 years until her death in 1880.

Alternative Title(s): Happily Arranged Marriage

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