A word of advice, ladies: If you have to work on your birthday, a leisurely Beverly Hills lunch date with four handsome princes is decidedly the way to go. OK, so two were princes, one a baron and one a lord, but when the company — the Season 2 cast of TLC’s Secret Princes — is this entertaining, you don’t sweat the details.
My dining companions were the Honorable Oliver Plunkett, a thoughtful, chivalrous 28-year-old who lives in an ancient Irish castle and creates computer games for a living; Prince Lorenzo de Medici, the free-spirited, flirtatious 37-year-old heir to the famous Italian clan; Prince Alexander, an intensely confident 35-year-old descendant of the Russian Romanoff dynasty who boasts a challenging gaze and an alpha-male rivalry with Lorenzo; and Lord Robert “Rob” Walters, a Season 1 veteran who mentors the new princes. Only Lord James Rennell, a 35-year-old British baron, was otherwise engaged.
For a lively hour, the quartet jested, argued and philosophized about what led them to leave their charmed European lives to try to pass for lovelorn Everymen in Austin, Texas, in order to find a girl who loves them for who they are, not for their royal lineage.
And about the only thing they agreed on is that having to lie about your life right down to your very name is some tough stuff.
“I told them they’re selling a white lie, but everything about them as a human being is true,” says Walters, whose relationship with Jasmine Bishop succumbed to distance and schedules after Season 1 wrapped. “The advice I gave them was just to completely immerse themselves in the experience and don’t hold back.”
Still, it was sometimes the ladies who were wary.
“The biggest disappointment for me was that often the girls I liked just didn’t like the cameras,” says Alexander. “Although our undercover story did actually incorporate why we had the cameras, the more ‘switched on’ girls were a little bit suspect.”
“When I went out there, my expectations were, this is TV and it doesn’t really matter, but then you actually realize that it’s more real than you realize,” says Oliver. “When you start interacting with people, you realize that these are real people. It’s not just a television show; you actually start getting involved with people’s emotions. I think that was the most difficult thing — feeling like I could end up hurting people. And I don’t like hurting people.”
For the sophistication-loving, heavily accented Lorenzo, landing in a town where beer is the beverage of choice and body art is the norm also tested his natural swagger. “Normally as an Italian, I am very proud and very sure about my ability on dating women,” he says, “but this time — in Austin, undercover in the conditions where we were — I lost a lot of my self-confidence. … I met one girl in a dress and then she came for dinner dressed very sexy, but almost all her body was tattoos and it was difficult for me to interact because I was shocked. I was looking at the tattoos; I wasn’t looking at her.”
But that didn’t stop him from doling out wisdom to his castmates. “Lorenzo tried to be the Love God at first, trying to give out advice — specifically to Oliver,” Alexander laughs.
“You cannot give advice to people who don’t have the charm that I have,” Lorenzo retorts. “You cannot give good advice to people who don’t have this talent.”
“I was the most patient one, because I was with Lorenzo the whole time,” sighs Oliver. “I am saintly in my patience.”
As for the show’s doubters, Alexander says, “It would have been much easier had it been [fake]. But we were put in a real-life situation and the only thing that was organized was the accommodations — and obviously we had to have a job, so that had to be set up. Everything else was left to fate. What you see is what you get.”
Are You A Secret Prince’s Perfect Princess?
“I like a woman who drinks wine and not only beer — and in Austin 90-percent of the women drink beer, so already 90-percent are out of the game. I am looking for a woman like a saint. I need a lot of attention. So the woman has to understand that I am not an easy person, but if she knows how to understand me, she gets from me everything. Because for me, the woman becomes the center of my attention. I’m a Scorpio from the south of Italy, so I am giving everything to her — protection, love, emotion, all the feelings that she maybe never had before in her life. At the same time, I pretend that the woman belongs to me 100-percent. And for me, she has to be beautiful and sexy. Intelligence is the first thing. And sexy.”
“My ideal princess is someone I can connect with. I don’t general go for aethestics as much as much as I like the mind. We may have different interests or the same interests, but we have them together. If I’m looking for love, I really want someone I can spend a huge amount of time with, so I want someone with whom I’ll enjoy every single moment when I spend time with them.”
“I have a tripod of a foundation and one is equally as important as the other, so if one is missing, it’s never going to work: She has to be intelligent, with a sense of humor and there has to be an attraction. There’s no gray matter in between that. Just someone who is down to earth and not materialistic.”
Secret Princes airs Fridays at 10/9CT beginning Oct. 25 on TLC.