Some day my prince will come...

A new reality TV show follows three aristocrats from far-flung lands on their journey to Britain in search of love
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The Independent Online

Two decades after Eddie Murphy's Prince Akeem travelled from Africa to New York to find a woman to love him for himself and not his riches in the film Coming to America, reality television is set to imitate art.

Three real-life "undercover" princes have taken the lead from Prince Akeem and travelled from India, Sri Lanka and South Africa to Britain to become the stars of a four-part documentary in which they conceal their aristocratic heritage and pose as ordinary bachelors in the hope of meeting their perfect partners.

The men, one of whom is gay, spent a month living in a shared house in Brighton, trawling bars and clubs in search of their elusive soulmate and embarking on an intensive period of internet and speed dating and house parties. They went as far as to take up jobs as a barman, a waiter and a hotel housekeeper in order to be convincing.

At the end of the series, called The Undercover Princes, which begins on 15 January on BBC Three, the bachelors will reveal their true identity to their chosen ones. They will then invite them back to live within the strictures of their royal households in their own kingdoms to find out if their new-found loves can be everlasting.

The three volunteers are Crown Prince Manvendra, 44, a divorced royal from the province of Rajpipla in the Gujarat; Prince Remigius of Jaffna, from Sri Lanka, who is searching for "a woman as sophisticated as Princess Diana"; and Prince Africa Zulu, a 30-year-old bachelor from Zululand in South Africa, who said: "We say in my kingdom that it's good to go far in search of gold, and that the most beautiful stick is one which you go far away to get."

Nick Parnes, the show's executive producer, from Kalel Productions, said the programme is "a mix of the Prince Charming fairy tale and Eddie Murphy's film. There are princes out there in the same situation as Murphy's character, who have status and power and who think this is possibly what leads women to flock at their feet. They may seek the realism of knowing whether the girls are going for the power or the personality and nine times out of 10 they just don't know.

"The original cover story was that they were taking part in a programme called Passport to Love, that they were international bachelors looking for love. They didn't give away their true identity to those who agreed to take part in the show until the end, when they reveal who they are."

Looking for love: The three princes

* Crown Prince Manvendra, 44, from Gujarat, is a member of one of India's richest families. He said he has never known true love, despite marrying in 1998. The marriage lasted for a year. In 2006, he became the first Indian royal to come out publicly as homosexual.

* Prince Africa Zulu, from Zululand in South Africa, 30, oversees one of the Zulu royal houses, which is part of a dynasty reigning over 10 million subjects worldwide. His aim is to find "a good-looking woman, good personality not essential". He said his search would be governed not by race or colour but by how compatible he felt with the woman, who he described as his "Eve".

* Prince Remigius of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, 44, is an exile living in the Netherlands, and is searching for a woman of aristocratic lineage. He was married in 2002 in Chelsea, but the couple separated in 2006.