Posted on 15 May 2018 By Rose Mulready

As Harry and Meghan prepare to tie the knot, the world is agog for royal love stories - and the ballet stage is dripping with crowned lovers, although not all of them get a happy ending! Here are some of our favourites.


The ballet version of Cinderella features a Prince who's at odds with his snobbish court, and is charmed by Cinderella's spirit and refreshing lack of pretention. Although none of his sycophantic admirers can quite believe it, the Prince falls in love with Cinderella and stays in love, searching for her all over the globe and, when he finds her, undeterred by her humble home and the prospect of unfortunate in-laws.

HIM: Rockstar Prince who makes the ladies swoon

HER: Downtrodden beauty with big dreams and a magic dress

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: The chime of midnight, mean Stepmother

PEAK MOMENT: A passionate encounter in a moonlit topiary garden

Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello in Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella. Photography Lynette Wills


Aurora has been wooed by princes before - four of them, each saying it with flowers. She's flattered but unfluttered until she's woken by a kiss from Prince Desiré: despite the 100-year age difference, it's love at first sight.

HER: Princess woken from enchanted sleep by the man of her dreams

HIM: Prince, reluctant hunter, fairytale aficionado

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Irate fairy, rat entourage

PEAK MOMENT: Three consecutive fishdives that capture the elation of freshly wedded bliss

Chengwu Guo and Ako Kondo in David McAllister's The Sleeping Beauty. Photography Jeff Busby


The achingly poignant romance at the heart of Swan Lake pits two lovers against a cruel enchanter who has condemned the Swan Queen Odette to bird form, and is determined to prevent the smitten Prince Siegfried from breaking the spell. Their hearts' fulfillment will have to wait for the next life. 

HIM: Melancholy prince with a taste for the otherworldly

HER: Half queen, half bird

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Scheming magician, sassy doppelganger

PEAK MOMENT: A lakeside pas de deux dripping with (short-lived) rapture

Lana Jones and Andrew Killian in Stephen Baynes' Swan Lake. Photography Jeff Busby


Graeme Murphy's update of Swan Lake still has a Prince Siegfried, and he's just as ambivalent about marrying the 'right' woman - not because he'd rather find love but because he already has. The Prince is having an affair with the sophisticated Baroness von Rothbart, and has no intention of giving her up. When his fragile bride Odette realises the situation, she's precipitated into an episode that lands her in an asylum.

Want to know how it ends? Stream the full production on Ballet TV.

HIM: A sensual man torn between two very different women

HER: Stricken innocent losing herself in swan fantasies

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Raunchy baroness, dark impulses

PEAK MOMENT: Siegfried falls in love with Odette all over again - at his mistress' party. Drama ensues.

Adam Bull and Amber Scott in Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake. Photography Jim McFarlane


The volatile Queen of Hearts in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland© has a hair-trigger temper and a penchant for execution, but she can be appeased (at least temporarily) by a good plate of tarts. In one of the ballet's funniest moments, she dances a Rose Adage-style number with her terrified courtiers and the sweet treats.

HER: A dangerously irate queen with a sweet tooth

THEM: Luscious strawberry-jam tarts, desired by all

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Knaves, White Rabbits, Mad Hatters, Duchesses - all are potential tart-thieves

PEAK MOMENT: The Tart Adage

Nathan Brook, Nicola Curry and Joe Chapman. Photography James Braund


Ninette de Valois' 1937 ballet Checkmate pits Love against Death in a game of chess. The contest plays out through the figures of the ice-hearted, seductive Black Queen and the ebullient Red Knight, who lets love in, lets his guard down and gets skewered by the wily Queen, leaving his King exposed to her knives. Death has triumphed over Love - reflecting the grim wartime era in which Checkmate was made.

HER: The most powerful piece on the board

HIM: Valiant knight with bad taste in women

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Trust issues; some pawns

PEAK MOMENT: She kneels helplessly, waiting for the blow of his knife; he cannot bring himself to kill her

Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello. Photography Jess Bialek


The beginning of Firebird holds echoes of Swan Lake. A princely hunter captures a magical bird, and spares her when she pleads for her life. But no romance ensues. Ivan Tsarevich has eyes only for the Tsarevna, whom he finds imprisoned by Kotschei, a wicked magician (more shades of Swan Lake). He frees her with the help of the Firebird and smashes the egg that contains the magician's soul. 

HIM: Adventurous prince. Motto: 'You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs.'

HER: Captive princess

STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Reptilian magician, cage of thorns 

PEAK MOMENT: They team up with the Firebird to vanquish Kotschei and his bewitched hordes

Adam Bull and Valerie Tereshchenko in Graeme Murphy's Firebird. Photography Jeff Busby