7) The ‘I’m Actually a Secret Royal/Billionaire’

5) The ‘Belated Love Epiphany’

As Joni Mitchell sings in “Big Yellow Taxi” – “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” That’s the whole idea behind the popular Belated Love Epiphany: the protagonist loses, or is at risk of losing, someone they overlooked. And only in their absence does the protagonist begin to realize what the other character meant to them.

(Bonus points: the epiphany leads the protagonist to run through an airport, train station, or similar in order to stop the other character leaving by declaring their love).

Example: In My Fair Lady, Professor Higgins makes a bet that he can turn Eliza Doolittle “into a lady” with six months of elocution lessons. He wins the bet but loses Eliza, having only regarded her as a means to an end. Only once she’s gone does he realize that he had “grown accustomed to her face.”

6) The ‘Friends to Lovers’

Two childhood friends go through the trials and tribulations of adolescence together, counting on one another. Fast forward to their adult lives: they haven’t spoken in decades but think of one another every so often. Brought back together for some reason, they reignite their friendship. For a while, they may see each other as just friends, but ultimately realize that – despite all the years apart – they were meant to be together.

Example: Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park begins with young Fanny going to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle. Once there, she becomes best friends with her cousin Edmund. As they grow up together, Fanny falls in love with Edmund; a fact she fiercely conceals, as Edmund makes it clear he does not feel the same. Eventually, Fanny is sent away and Edmund very nearly marries the wrong woman. Years later, the two are reunited, and Edmund sees what was in front of him all along (making this example also a Belated Love Epiphany).

Members of the monarchy – they’re just like us, eh! Or at least, that’s the case with this romance trope. A royal figure or billionaire is tired of being in the public light. They just want to be treated as a normal person for a while, so they adopt a disguise or go somewhere they won’t be recognized. Then they meet someone who doesn’t give them the preferential treatment they’re used to. In fact, this new person likely treats them with casual disregard. This intrigues the secret royal/billionaire, who looks to get to know the other character better. The two form a relationship which blows up when the unsuspecting character finds out their love’s true identity, and feels betrayed by the lie. But then they get over it, one way or another, and the two end up together.

Example: Played to a T in The Prince and Me. Edvard is Denmark’s Crown Prince. When he sees a commercial showing American coeds lifting up their shirts for the camera, Edvard decides he wants to flee his life of royal responsibilities to attend the University of Wisconsin college (charming). There he meets Paige, a pre-med student who, initially, is not a fan of Edvard. The two eventually develop a relationship at the coffee shop they both work at, and romance ensues. When Paige discovers Edvard’s true identity, she leaves him. But the two eventually reconcile and end up pledging to be together.

8) The ‘Destined To Be Together’

While a lot of these examples of romance tropes have to do with two people slowly realizing their feelings for one another, the Destined To Be Together involves couples who know right from the start that they are in love. Their intense immediate bond is what maintains their resolve that they’re meant to be together while the universe, typically, conspires to separate them.