An ogre wanders out and observes that he has a castle. Also, he eats cattle and sheep and people, and he has three marvelous horses with suits of armor and swords, suitable for a shepherd hero to use to win a tourney with, and he lives close enough to the king's castle that the king warns his shepherd about him. And he can get this all done in a paragraph. Then he grins.
Tada! Problem solved. even without a prince Why, the (current day) princess even gets to see the suits of armor for a special treat.
Now I can buckle down to introduce the love interest a mere 80% in to the story. . . .