Friday, June 01, 2012

A Date With Kate - Royal Romances

It’s June 1st and here in the UK it seems like there is only one topic of conversation – The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – and this weekend – plus the Bank Holidays that follow  it – will be crammed full of events andfestivities to mark the occasion.  There will be parades, carriage processions, a river pageant, a concert . . .  Royal watchers will have a wonderful time with all ceremony, the pageantry, the clothes, the coaches . . .

The ‘royal romance’ is a popular theme in category romance writing – and of course the glamorous royal weddings last year  - William and Kate -  Albert of Monaco and Charlene  - have added to the interest and fantasy appeal of these stories.  But writing  a royal romance needs a special approach. You have to consider so many extra things – details and complications that  will add to and intensify the conflict and the emphasis of the story.

Last year Mills & Boon asked me to run one of the workshops on writing a royal romance and as it seems to me that there is even more interest in the idea of royalty and  their love stories (see the current Santina Crown continuity) I thought I’d mark the Jubilee Weekend by sharing the special ‘20p guide To Writing Royal Romance’ I created for that workshop.  It might give you something to think about if you’re watching all the festivities – or having a street party. Or perhaps  those of you who are going to use the long weekend to do some writing of your own will find it helpful.

Whatever you’re doing – have a great weekend!

20P Guide to Writing Royal Romance
Royals are just people – men and women.
They are subject to the same emotional pressures as the rest of us.
Together with some additional  pressures that come from who/what they are.

1.         Period
-           What period are you setting this story in

-           What would be the conventions of royalty at the time

-           Inheritance/primogeniture?

-           Modern day – what relevance           

2.         Prince
- How did he get to be a prince?

- Did he inherit direct?

-By conquering a country?

-A Sheikh?

- Was he a second son ‘the spare’ who never expected to inherit?

-How did he come to be the heir –death/abdication/rebellion?


3.         Princess
             Was she born a princess?

            - A princess by marriage?

            - Known she’s royal from birth?

            - Just discovered that she is royal?


How does it change the story if:

Hero is a Prince – heroine is an ordinary girl?

Hero is a prince  - Heroine is a princess?

                           - of an enemy country

                           - of  a friendly country?

                         -  a marriage of convenience?

                            -  a dynastic marriage

Heroine is  A Princess – reverse the above

4.         People
-  Royals are just people who are subject to the same emotional pressures that everyone else has.

- But they also have some other pressures that come with being who they are and the position they hold.

5.         Personalities
       - some people will enjoy the position of royalty

     - some will hate it

      - oldest child bred to be king/queen responsible, dutiful – needs lightening up

      -  or a second so – the ‘spare’ who needs steadying?

        - what sort of heroine would they need?

      - and vice versa

How will this affect their relationship?

6.         Protocol

-How will  H&h meet?

- How will they continue to meet?

- If they split up how will the non-royal contact the other?

- bodyguards?

- How would the ‘ordinary’ person feel when involved in all the protocol? Scared, lacking in confidence?  Rebellious?

 - How will the royal help them – or not?

7.         Privacy

        - They will need privacy to continue/develop/deepen their relationship

           - How will they  get this?

          - Only behind locked doors?

      - How will this affect their EMOTIONAL JOURNEY?

8.         Press/Paparazzi

            - Invasion of privacy

            - Force the relationship before it’s ready

9.         Photos

       - stylists -  team of them to create the right image (both male and female)

      - But what would they look like without those stylists to create that image?

10.       Publicity

      -  Life under a microscope The smallest action is watched and interpreted

     - Publicity can push one into making a move when they don’t want to

11.       Power

          - A modern day Royal?

        -  A historical king?

       -  A sheikh

      -‘Lord of all he surveys’  - expects to be obeyed How people handle power is a real sign of who they are.

12.       Place

    - The country you create to set the story in

   -  What sort of a country?

    - Sheikh  and the desert?

     - Historical reality – make it real!

      - an invented country – still needs rules/customs/climate. Etc etc

      - Does the environment drive them apart or keep them together?

13.       Pressure(s)

- Which one will feel them most?

- Each will feel different ones depending on their personality

14.       Priorities

  - The simplest thing changes because of who one of them is  royal

  - Duty vs desire

    - The need to have a child – an heir?

15.       Passion

      - Obviously it needs to be there

     - but where can they consummate their relationship?

       - Is it expected that a Prince would sow his wild oats?

   - Will Princess need to be pure?

  - Scandal if they are found out?

16.       Parents (his and hers)

    - what are the royal family looking for  in a bride/groom?

   - How much influence to they have on their child and his/her choice?

  - Will they welcome a ‘commoner’?

    WHY? (well, you knew I had to bring in that question at some point.)

17.       Palace

   - A beautiful place? Or an antiquated fortress

   - Luxury or a frighteningly alien way of life?

   - along with the pleasures of luxury  there are the constraints, the lack of privacy

18.       Pride

   - Royal pride in who they are

   - Pride in history

  - Pride of the non-royal – not wanting to be bought/ and to stand on their own

19.       Privilege

     - be careful what you wish for

   -  is privilege always welcome, always enjoyable?

20.       Pomp

  - The ceremonial and the ritual –

-           Always having to behave

-           Always being on show

Kate’s latest novel The Devil and Miss Jones was out in Mills & Boon Modern Romance in March and in Harlequin Presents Extra  in .   She also has a reprint of  Bedded By The Greek Billionaire in  Greek Affairs : In His Bed out now.
You can find out all her latest news on her Web site or her blog.


  1. This is fabulous thank you. Food for thought!!

    1. Hi Mary! I'm glad you've found food for thought here - that was the idea!

  2. Oh wow - there's a lot to think about here. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Hello Tora - nice to 'meet' you here. I'm glad you too find lots to think about in this - there's a lot to think about in writing a royal romance - well in writing any romance!

  4. This is great! All these questions have really got me thinking about my story much more deeply, how to take it to that next level.

  5. Great post Kate. A lot of those questions can be adapted to other non royal situations. Power and privilege do have their down sides. Mind you I do have a sudden urge to write a royal story now. Who wouldn't want to make up a whole country if they got the chance?