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Set in an alternate 21st-century reality where Korea possesses a royal family, since 1945 to present, this show revolves around the lives of the Crown Prince (Hwangtaeja) Yi Shin, and his new bride, Chae-kyeong. The depicted royal family in the show is modelled after the last royal family of Korea, which in reality reigned until the start of the Japanese Occupation in 1910 and was not reinstated after Japanese surrender in Second World War, 1945. The series starts off with the news that the King, Shin's father, is very ill. With the grim outlook on the King's health, the royal family scrambles to find a wife for Shin, so as to allow him to take over the royal throne if the situation requires. Despite being in love with another girl, the ambitious and talented ballerina Hyo-rin whom Shin initially proposed to (she rejects him to pursue her ballet dreams), Shin eventually marries a commoner to whom he was betrothed by his late grandfather in an old agreement with the girl's grandfather. Shin marries the headstrong yet lovable Chae-kyeong after Hyo-rin's rejection. Despite initially feeling nothing for Chae-kyeong, love eventually blossoms between the couple. In the meantime, however, matters are further complicated with the return of Yi Yul and his mother Lady Hwa-Young, who was once the Crown Princess (Bingoong) before the death of her husband, the late Crown Prince, older brother of the current King. Yul and his mother were chased out of the palace some time after the death of his father, and it is later revealed that this was due to the King's discovery of an affair between Yul's mother and the current King who was his father's younger brother. Yul's mother had returned with a sinister motive in mind; to restore her son back to the throne, which would have been his eventually, if his father had not died. A series of events befall the palace with the schemes Yul's mother carries out, and is further intensified by the various scandals involving the royal family, which are inclusive of the Shin's continuing relationship with his old flame Hyo-rin, and the budding love Yul develops for Chae-kyeong, his cousin's new-found bride.
Shin Chae-Kyeong (신채경)
Portrayed by Yoon Eun Hye, Shin Chae-kyeong is a very creative and outgoing, normal high school girl. She attends the same school as Lee Shin, the Crown Prince of Korea. Her grandfather was best friends with the previous King. To honor his friend, the previous King dictated that Chae-kyeong is to become the Crown Princess, which means that she is to marry whoever is the Crown Prince at the time of the marriage (Lee Shin) . Although she often seems immature and irritating, she is a kindhearted, innocent, honest person. Often called "Pig" by her younger brother, Chae-kyeong marries the prince because of the promise made between her grandfather and Shin's. Her initial reaction to Lee Shin is one of irritation but she falls in love with him in the earlier part of the series, not knowing that he, in return, feels the same way, until the last few episodes. Although she regards Lee Yul only as a friend and cousin-in-law, he falls in love with her.
Lee Shin (이신)
The crown prince of Korea, Lee Shin, as portrayed by model and actor Joo Ji Hoon, is seen as a smug, indifferent, insensitive young man. After getting rejected by his girlfriend when he proposes to her, he decides to go along with his elders' arranged marriage with Shin Chae-kyeong. At first, he was irritated by her naivete and enthusiasm, but as he recognizes how genuinely sweet she is, he begins to open his heart to her, and falls in love. Throughout the series, it becomes obvious that inside, he is just a lonely, sensitive, warm and kind young man. He also owns a teddy bear, Alfred, the only thing that he can let his guard down for, which is used as a focal point throughout the series. As his cousin re-enters the picture after being forced out of the country many years earlier, the prince quickly butts head with him, as Lee Yul is a contender not only for the throne, but for the crown princess Chae-kyeong's love. Chae-kyeong does not realize this until later on in the story.
Lee Yul (이율)
Kim Jeong Hoon plays Lee Yul, Shin's cousin. He returns from a long stay in England with his mother, the widow of the former crown prince. He is the opposite of Shin, he is warm, kindhearted, sweet, romantic, and charismatic—an instant hit with the girls. Interested in Chae-kyeong, their friendship grows to love on his side, while she remains innocently unaware of it until much later. Although the position of the Crown Prince originally belonged to him, it was given to his cousin when Yul's father died in a car accident and his mother was found to have had an affair with his uncle, who she was originally in love with, but she decides to marry his brother, the crown prince, wanting her son to inherit the title of crown prince. Originally uninterested in the throne, Yul decides to follow his mother's wishes and compete with Shin for the throne after falling in love with Chae-kyeong. In the end, after realizing that Chae-kyeong and Shin truly love each other, and after discovering his mother's affair with the King, he passes up both the chance of being King and having Chae-kyeong as a wife.
Min Hyo-rin (민효린)
Portrayed by Song Ji-hyo, Hyo-rin is a skilled ballerina. She is beautiful, intelligent, accomplished—basically, perfect in every way possible,but she is also poor. Prince Shin and her ballet instructor paid for her tuition fees at school. In the beginning, she is Shin's girlfriend, and he proposes to her. However, she rejects him, not only because she thinks he is joking, but also because she does not wish to give up her dreams of becoming a star ballerina. When she sees Chae-kyeong and Shin's wedding and how Chae-kyeong is loved by the people (similar to Diana, Princess of Wales), she regrets her hasty decision, and does everything she can to oust Chae-kyeong from her position. Hyo-rin finds ways to draw Shin back to her, including a "chance" meeting in Thailand, but simply ends up hurting herself, resulting in attempting suicide by a pill overdose. Later, however, she decides that Shin does truly love Chae-kyeong, and she ultimately gives him up and decides to just concentrate on her ballet.