14 Incredible London Love Stories To Warm Your Cold Heart

The rest of the world has it all wrong. They see us Brits as buttoned-up and more reserved than romantic. But, they're forgetting that this is the land of Jane Austen and Richard Curtis. We gave the world Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth and Darcy, Lady Mary and Matthew, Will and Kate, Tim and Dawn, Ricky and Bianca. We gave them Hugh Grant rom-coms, for crying out loud. Show some respect, guys.

Seeing as it's almost Valentine's Day, we decided to right the ship and showcase the most lovey-dovey, fascinating relationships — some real, some fictional — our fair capital has to offer. Feel free to refer to this list the next time you're downing martinis and writing off romance in a post-breakup fit. True love may not be just one Tinder swipe away — you never know, though! — but trust us, it's out there. 
OPENER IMAGE: Designed by Mallory Heyer.
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REAL: Linda And Paul McCartney

The Beatle met his first wife at a Georgie Fame concert at London's Bag O'Nails club before reconnecting a few days later at Beatles manager Brian Epstein's Belgravia home. McCartney married the American photographer in 1969 at the Marylebone Registry Office, and they raised three children, plus Linda's daughter, Heather, from her first marriage. The couple performed in Wings together, and it's Linda who is credited with turning her husband to vegetarianism. She died in 1998 at the age of 56, but her passion for vegetarian living and animal rights lives on.
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Photo: c.Orion/Everett/REX USA.
FICTIONAL: Omar and Johnny, My Beautiful Laundrette
This Battersea-set Stephen Frears film from 1985 tackles a number of controversial topics, not the least of which is the relationship between Pakistani Omar (Gordon Warnecke) and former fascist Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). Thatcherism may not seem like a sexy subject, but seeing these two get it on in the back of a launderette makes it so.
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Photo: Buzzfoto.
REAL: Marcus Mumford And Carey Mulligan

Because they were childhood pen pals. Because they shun the whole red-carpet-celebrity-couple thing. Because she wore Wellies on their wedding day.
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Photo: Rex USA.
FICTIONAL: Sarah Miles And Maurice Bendrix, The End Of The Affair

Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes played the star-crossed lovers in the 1999 film version of Graham Greene's 1951 novel. Greene based the book on his own affair with Lady Catherine Watson. If you liked Atonement, you'll love this, but be warned: Love stories set during the Blitz never have happy endings.
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Photo: Rex USA.
REAL: Queen Victoria And Prince Albert

Fun fact: She proposed to him. Victoria also wore mourning black for the remainder of her life following Albert's death in 1861.
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Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros.
FICTIONAL: Hermione Granger And Ron Weasley, Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling may have her doubts about pairing Hermione up with Ron, but we've always had a soft spot for these two. To think, it all started on the Hogwarts Express leaving from Kings Cross platform 9 3/4.
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Photo: James Shaw/Rex/REX USA.
REAL: Gilbert And George

Hang around Spitalfields long enough, and you'll bump into these two similarly suited art legends. The couple met while studying at Saint Martin's School of Art, and have said that it was "love at first sight." In case you were wondering, George is on the left and Gilbert's on the right.
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Photo: c.Universal/Everett/REX USA.
FICTIONAL: Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones' Diary

What can we say? We love a good story that involves two people constantly humiliating themselves until deciding they like each other "just as they are."
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Photo: David Fisher/Rex/REX USA.
REAL: David And Victoria Beckham

#SorryNotSorry. We'll never get off the Posh and Becks love roller coaster.
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Photo: Rex USA.
FICTIONAL: Emma And Dexter, One Day

Amazing book, meh movie. The film adaptation of David Nicholls' 2009 novel failed to truly capture the longing between these two pals. Funny, relatable, and gut-wrenching.
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Photo: CSU Archv/Everett/REX USA.
REAL: George Orwell And Eileen Blair

Proof that very little of George Orwell's life was not tragic. His first wife, Eileen, died from cardiac failure during a hysterectomy in 1945. She was 39, and it took Orwell two days to get home from Paris.
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Photo: Courtesy BBC.
FICTIONAL: Queenie And Michael, Small Island

Nothing like a good illicit affair to get the pulses racing. Andrea Levy's 2004 novel is a must-read for anyone who enjoys historical drama and lots and lots of yearning. Sigh.
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Illustration: Courtesy Ria Brodell.
REAL: Mary East, a.k.a. James How, And Wife

Mary East and her missus (whose name is now unknown) lived as James How and Mrs. How in eighteenth-century London. The pair were blackmailed by a person threatening to expose Mary's true identity. The couple eventually took the blackmailer to court, resulting in a conviction. Though they won the case, the Hows sadly had to give up their Poplar pub and public offices due to the attention from the case.
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Photo: Courtesy Penguin Books.
FICTIONAL: Rob And Laura, High Fidelity

With all due respect to the John Cusack film, let's not forget that Nick Hornby's novel actually takes place in London. Rob and his relationship with Laura may be flawed, but it feels real and, yes, even romantic at times.
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