Created By: Heart on June 17, 2012 Last Edited By: Heart on June 25, 2012

Royal Bastard

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(How Did We Miss This One??! Seen It a Million Times! Needs More Examples and Needs a Better Description.)

When a character is an illegitimate child of a royal or noble. Usually a monarch, but on occasions the royal parent can be someone of lesser rank, and can be of either sex (though it's usually the father).

Is extremely common in historical and medieval fantasy settings.

Expect such characters to be very, very angsty about their royal heritage, even if they've been aware of it for a long time. If they've been kept in the dark about it, this will likely be a part of The Reveal. If Succession Crisis fe, anoccurs, it will cause this character even further angst and a ton of drama in their lid may force them into a difficult position, even though they've likely been told they could never inherit anything from their royal parents because of their illegitimacy. Could lead to Luke, I Am Your Father or Luke, You Are My Father.

Truth in Television, of course. People like this were overwhelmingly common in Real Life in historical times, especially during Medieval times and the Early Modern period.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • June 17, 2012
    • Several in A Song Of Ice And Fire. Lord Eddard Stark's son Jon Snow (Snow being a surname given to bastards born in the north, with other regions having similar traditions) for instance.
      • King Robert sired many illegitimate children who help Eddard realize that Prince Joffrey isn't Robert's son, rather the product of an incestual affair between the Queen and her brother.
  • June 17, 2012
    We should put something in this description about this trope tending to have spoilers.
  • June 17, 2012
    Note that we do have Heroic Bastard; there's probably a lot of overlap.

    • In Dragon Age, Alistair, the second grey warden you meet is revealed to be a royal bastard when the question of succession raises its ugly head.

    eta: this does seem like a potentially spoileriffic trope. :)
  • June 17, 2012
    Merlin Morgana, though it took three seasons to be officially revealed.
  • June 17, 2012
    Any of Henry VIII's children could meet this trope, depending on where your political and theological allegiances fell.
  • June 17, 2012

    Anime and Manga

    • Queen's Blade: Hide & Seek: Claudette is the eldest of Count Vance's daughters, and is half-sister to both Leina and Elina since she was born from one of her father's concubines. As such, she's ineligible for succession to the throne, which makes Leina the rightful heir. While it's true that Claudette feels some resentment towards Leina over it, that isn't the only reason....
  • June 17, 2012
    I guess this'd be a Missing Supertrope to Heroic Bastard and Bastard Bastard.

    • Grand-bastard: In King Ralph Ralph's father was the bastard son of the Duke of Warren; since Ralph is the last surviving heir to the House of Windham he becomes king of England.
  • June 17, 2012
    ^ maybe a supertrope to Bastard Bastard, but only a sibling trope to Heroic Bastard, I believe. (Either that, or we're still missing a broader Child Of Unwed Parents trope.)
  • June 24, 2012
  • June 25, 2012
  • June 25, 2012
    Real Life:
    • Before he earned the "Conquerer" part of his name, William the Conquerer was literally known as "William the Bastard".