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[[quoteright:210:[[Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Tiana_rags_to_riches_3205.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:210:In her case, everyone glosses over the frog phase.]]

A classic of {{literature}}, this ChangelingFantasy is as simple as it is sublime: the [[BeautyEqualsGoodness beautiful]], [[CinderellaCircumstances hard working]], [[ThePollyanna put upon]] commoner girl who never loses her hope will be a princess or queen by the story's end. That much is certain, what varies is ''how'' she goes from Rags to Royalty.

* '''Literature/{{Cinderella}} Style:''' A commoner by birth, or with only minor ties to [[BlueBlood nobility]]. Nonetheless, through hard work, perseverance, and the help of some musical animals, she'll swoop into the ball and make the prince her "husband". Other classics of this type: ''Film/BeautyAndTheBeast'', ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' and ''[[Literature/TheBible King David]]''
* '''Literature/SnowWhite Style:''' [[RoyalBlood Legitimately royalty]], but [[NobleFugitive forced into hiding]] to escape those who plot against her or because [[KingIncognito she cannot act as she needs to as long as she is seen as royal]]. Usually part of a FishOutOfWater plot as she tries to hide her royalty and fake being a commoner. May have to prove birthright with bizarre tests or special trinkets only the legitimate Princess would have. Other classics of this type: "Literature/ThePrincessAndThePea", "Literature/DonkeySkin".
* '''Literature/SleepingBeauty Style:''' Like the Snow White, she's [[HiddenBackupPrince royalty and forced into hiding for protection.]] Unlike the Snow White, she has no idea she has a SecretLegacy and is [[ReallyRoyaltyReveal actually royalty]]. Of course, her GenreBlind guardians [[PoorCommunicationKills feel she's safer]] [[LockedOutOfTheLoop not knowing]] her ancestry ''or'' that there are evil forces seeking to harm her, or possibly they don't know either. You can guess how that ends. (''Note: Named after the Disney version of the story only.'') The classic GenderFlip version is, of course, KingArthur. It also features in such fairy tales as ''Literature/TheDancingWaterTheSingingAppleAndTheSpeakingBird''
* '''[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/kingthrushbeard/index.html King Thrushbeard]] Style:''' [[FallenPrincess A spoiled royal daughter who loses her inheritance due to her own actions]] and is forced to live in poverty. Fortuitously, when she comes to realize the value of what she lost, it is restored to her. Often as part of her humiliation she marries a commoner, who turns out to be a KingIncognito whom she had previously scorned.
* '''Literature/TheGooseGirl Style:''' Those who plotted against the princess succeed, and she is forced into [[FallenOnHardTimesJob a menial position]], or [[MadeASlave enslaved]], until her story comes out. Usually, the princess knows who she is, but isn't able to tell the truth, and she may be ignorant.
** A GenderFlip classic of this type, the Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} "Literature/TheLordOfLornAndTheFalseSteward"; it also appears with [[TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Ozma]]
** A common technique is to combine this with Cinderella. The heroine wins the prince, perhaps even marries him and has his child; then her enemies triumph over her, and she must flee until she is restored. BrideAndSwitch is also common, just before the wedding. Such a combination occurs in ''[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/birch.html The Wonderful Birch]]'' and ''[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/armlessmaiden/index.html The Maiden Without Hands]]''

This is OlderThanFeudalism, and has long since gone into being a DeadHorseTrope when used in a serious application. However, sweeten the deal with a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]] or other device, and this will work quite well in a modern setting.

Epidemic in the FairyTale, it often reappears in retellings of fairy tales. This is a common reason why kings who have promised the StandardHeroReward [[DudeWheresMyRespect decide instead]] to assign another EngagementChallenge, and then [[ImpossibleTask another]]. And another. . . (This is usually very unwise in the long run.)

[[TheSevenBasicPlots Christopher Booker]] takes the Literature/{{Cinderella}} version for his second plot, ''Rags to Riches''. According to his scheme, the hero seems to get everything he wants [[YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle very early]], only to lose it through a serious character flaw, which leads to the darkest moment for the hero (e.g., in the original ''Literature/{{Aladdin}}'', when the villain had stolen both the lamp ''and'' the princess). Then, of course, the hero manages to face his flaws and gets an even better prize than the one he would have been content with early on.

May combine with SheCleansUpNicely and LineageComesFromTheFather.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* In ''TowerOfGod'', [[BlueBlood the 10 Great Families]] tend to adopt strong and talented children, among them orphans, to become Rankers and Princess candidates. The reason for this is that the Families apparently don't get it on that much (except for [[DirtyOldMan Koon]] [[HaremSeeker Eduan]]). The way to riches is very hard and dangerous though, as seen with Androssi Zahard's backstory.
* In ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** Usagi/Serena is a Sleeping Beauty, being a reincarnated princess with the forces that destroyed her kingdom hot on her heels. She does find out the bad guys are after her early on, but not that she's a princess until late in the first season[=/=]arc.
** Her boyfriend/future husband Mamoru is a GenderFlip Sleeping Beauty, he eventually finds out he was heir apparent to the Earth Kingdom back in the past.
** And in the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], ''all'' the main senshi are Sleeping Beauties, former princesses of their respective planets. (Except Pluto, who is probably closer to a Snow White since she never lost her memories of the Silver Millennium, and spent her time guarding the Door of Time)
** Chibiusa is a Snow White type, coming back in time to before her mother rose to power to receive Senshi training and having to live like a civilian with Usagi and her family. Subverted in the sense that the Senshi already know she's a princess. [[spoiler: After all, she's Mamoru and Usagi's future daughter, though they don't learn that detail until later.]]
* There's a reasonably clever subversion in ''Anime/MaiOtome''. From the start we're expected to figure out that Mashiro isn't the real princess - meanwhile, the main character, Arika, conspicuously has the same birthday and a [[OrphansPlotTrinket prerequisite necklace]] and all. But as it turns out, that's a RedHerring, and in fact, it's Nina, the RivalTurnedEvil, who unbeknowst to all was the princess. The scene in which BigBad Nagi finds out is ''priceless''. Ultimately thanks to CharacterDevelopment, Mashiro turns out to be the one best suited to be a princess anyway. [[spoiler: ''Anime/MaiOtomeZwei'' hints that Mashiro ''might'' be a legit heir after all - she ''greatly'' resembles the Queen of Windbloom from 300 years ago.]]
** The [[Manga/MaiOtome manga]] has a good subversion as well. The 'Mashiro' we know in the story is an impostor for the real (deceased) Mashiro, that was clear from the first chapter. Then it turns out the real Mashiro isn't dead. [[spoiler: THEN it turns out the impostor was Mashiro's ''twin brother'', secreted away Sleeping Beauty style in case Mashiro went insane and/or died. In a few chapters he went from an impostor to nobody to the sole heir of Windbloom (once the real Mashiro bit the dust, anyway).]]
* Lucia of ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' is a Sleeping Beauty in the manga (though she finds out her lineage very early) and a Snow White in the anime. Hanon, Rina and Caren are Snow Whites as well throughout the series.
** [[spoiler: Kaitou]] turns out to be a Sleeping Beauty, [[spoiler: as the lost prince of a destroyed mermaid kingdom who was adopted by humans as a child.]]
* A Cinderella-type, coupled with a SatchelSwitcheroo and a [[TheDitz complete idiot]] forms the basis for the GagSeries ''HimesamaGoyoujin'' (''Princess Be Careful'').
* The entire Band of the Hawk from ''{{Berserk}}'' are Cinderellas, as they're all common mercenaries elevated to knighthood. Griffith, however, is the biggest example. At his highest point he had a good chance of marrying Princess Charlotte and becoming heir to the kingdom. This is portrayed fairly realistically, though, as Griffith does have to deal with a couple of assassination attempts by disgruntled nobles. Its subverted when Griffith goes through a HeroicBSOD, gets captured and tortured by the King, and the Band of the Hawk become outlaws.
* [[spoiler: Vivio]] of ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' is a Sleeping Beauty, [[CloneJesus being the clone of an]] [[WarriorPrince Ancient Belkan king]]. She probably also wishes that she never found out about who she was considering [[TheyCallMeMisterTibbs how she hates being addressed as "Your Highness"]] and prefers others to just treat her as an ordinary (if exceptionally skilled) 9-year old.
* [[spoiler:Asuna]] and [[spoiler:Negi]] of ''MahouSenseiNegima'' are both Sleeping Beauty types, turning out to both be members of the royal family of the Vespertatia Kingdom in the MagicWorld. It subverts the GenreBlind guardian bit, as they were probably both safer '''before''' they started getting involved with their legacies.
** In the WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, it's revealed that [[spoiler: the Narutaki twins Fuka and Fumika]] picked up a pair of animals which turned out to be princes from the MagicWorld. Within five years they were married and already had their first kids.
** Similarly, [[spoiler: CuteBookworm Satomi Hakase]] is implied to have become a Cinderella. [[spoiler: She's a ''very'' smart student from Earth who's all but stated to have married [[MayDecemberRomance a much older man]] in a ''very'' high position of political power in the Magical World. Said man is none other than governor Kurt Godel.]]
* Somewhat special case in ''Mei-chan no Shitsuji'' as Shinonome Mei whose family is described as 'just getting by' finds out she's actually the heir to the very rich Houga family after her parents are killed in an accident, and her friend and classmate Shibata Kento comes from a family of butlers that serve her family.
* [[ProjectAKo C-ko]] is a long-lost alien princess. Sixteen years earlier, [[HumanAliens her people]] lost her, and she ended up crashing down to Earth. They do eventually find her, leading to this discovery (and invoking this trope).
* Youko Nakajima from ''TheTwelveKingdoms'' is a Sleeping Beauty who started out the series as an OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent, became TrappedInAnotherWorld and then discovered that she was actually the appointed ruler of one of the series' titular countries. Unlike many RagsToRoyalty stories, this one doesn't end with her getting the throne--she has to fight wars, consolidate her power and deal with the treacherous nobles and officials who plot to overthrow her.
** Similarly, Naotaka Komatsu aka Shoryuu was another Sleeping Beauty... sorta. He ''was'' a nobleman on Earth, but by the time he found out he was the appointed ruler of the Kingdom of En, [[RichesToRags he had lost everything in a brutal local war]], making him a sort-of Goose Guy. Then he switched to Sleeping Beauty as he was revealed to be the King, and like Youko he had to fight off treacherous courtesans and officers to make sure he wouldn't lose either his power or his life.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' uses this trope in the form of a "Rapunzel Style". Sawada Tsunayoshi is a normal highschooler until the hitman tutor shows up at his doorstep and tells him he's a candidate for the tenth generation boss of a mafia. Hilarity ensues.
* Empress Marianne of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' would be a definite Cinderella case, a commoner by birth who rose to prominence as one of the Knights of the Round, before becoming one of TheEmperor's imperial consorts.
** Her children Lelouch and Nunnally also fit into this trope, as Snow Whites. They know they're royals, but have been sent away to the former Japan and then to a BoardingSchool for rich kids and thus few people (at the start) know who they truly are.
* The title character of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' is a mix between the cinderella type and the sleeping beauty type. First starts as an [[AllTheOtherReindeer outcast]] orphan who was regarded as a no good troblemaker without a future. Slowly grows up into a respectable and eventually idolized figure as his achievements grow. Then [[spoiler: it is revealed that not only is his father the late Fourth Hokage, but that his mother's family was also related to the Senju, making him also related to the First, Second AND Fifth Hokage. In layman's terms, he has the blood of FOUR of the ninja equivalent of kings in his veins.]] But [[ButtMonkey of course]], none of this is actually adressed by anyone in the manga....for the time being anyways.
** Though to be honest, his relation to [[spoiler: the Senju clan is incredibly distant.]] It isn't as distant as his mother's connection was, [[spoiler: considering Mito Uzumaki married the 1st Hokage and is Tsunade's grandmother.]]
* There are three in ''Manga/RoseOfVersailles'':
** [[spoiler: Jeanne de la Motte/Valois]], a Cinderella type (in the [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade very fictionalized manga/anime]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Valois_de_la_Motte Real Life]]). [[spoiler: And the most twisted Cinderella ''ever''. A beautiful peasant girl raised by the seamstress Nicole Lamorliere, she claims to be a long lost Valois princess and manages to get an old noblewoman to listen to her plight, then kills her benefactor to inherit her riches. It gets worse, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affair_of_the_Diamond_Necklace and worse, and worse]]... ]]
** [[spoiler:Jeanne's stepsister Rosalie Lamorliere]] is a sort of Sleeping Beauty type. [[spoiler:Her mother gave Rosalie up to the aforementioned Nicole Lamorliere (who apparently was her former maid) when she was a teenage girl and Rosa was a baby, thus Rosalie has no idea of how her biological mom has gone RagsToRiches in the meantime and considers herself the biological daughter of Nicole for a long while. she later becomes the confidant and companion of Oscar Francois the Jerjays, a very high-ranked noblewoman.]]
** And to finish the thread, [[spoiler: Rosalie's aforementioned biological mother, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabrielle_de_Polastron,_duchesse_de_Polignac Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron aka the Duchess of Polignac]] ]] was a Cinderella, also both here and in RealLife ([[HistoricalVillainUpgrade though the ROV version was... highly fictionalized too]]). [[spoiler: She ''was'' a minor noblewoman born in an ImpoverishedPatrician family and married to an equally impoverished count but she used her beauty, charm, singing talent and manipulation tactics to become MarieAntoinette's PoisonousFriend.]])
* Nadja Applefield from ''AshitanoNadja'' is a big case of Sleeping Beauty. Nadja was raised in an English OrphanageOfLove and always believed her parents died of iillness; when she's about to turn 13 and leave, however, she's sent a trunk with her mom's ''very'' fine belongings and a card that says her mother is actually alive, What is ''not'' exactly explained in the card is that [[spoiler: said mother is a member of an ''extremely'' rich and noble clan in Austria... and that many people want Nadja out of the way since she's the biggest candidate to be the heiress of said clan. Even when she only wants to find her beloved mother.]] From the moment Nadja finds out and leaves her OrphanageOfLove to work with the Dandelion Troupe, she goes from Sleeping Beauty to Snow White: one of her goals is learning more about her mother and her biological family, as well as meeting up with her.
* From ''FushigiYuugi'', we have You Houki. She was a [[CountryMouse poor farm girl]], taking care of her ailing father, when she was asked to join the emperor's harem (much to the ire of her former boyfriend Suu, later revealed to be [[spoiler: Hotohori's half-brother]]). She didn't want to go at first, but her father pressured her saying she'd have a better life. [[spoiler: Hotohori eventually chooses her to be his Empress Consort, and after he dies, she becomes a kind Empress Dowager who supports their son and future Emperor.]]
* [[spoiler: Sumi Kitamura]] from ''SteppingOnRoses''. [[spoiler: She's a Sleeping Beauty because she's Aiko, the sister of her arranged husband Soichirou's rival Nozomu Iijuin; she went lost as a very little girl, and was found by a then teen-aged Eisuke Kitamura in a rose garden.]]
* In ''OnePiece'', in the Dressrosa arc, [[spoiler: the Toy Soldier/Kyros]] was revealed to be a lowly street thug before [[spoiler: marrying Rebecca's mother, Scarlett]] and becoming a member of royalty.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan:'' It turns out that [[spoiler:Historia Reiss]] is royalty. The Survey Corps plan on performing a coup d'état to replace the king (who may or may not be royalty) with [[spoiler:Historia]] so that she can kill off the corruption in the Government.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Ballads]]
* In Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} #89 "Literature/FauseFoodrage," a nobleman's infant daughter is exchanged for the infant prince. After the prince learned the truth and overcame the usurper who would have killed him, he marries the daughter.
* In Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} #106 "Literature/TheFamousFlowerOfServingMen", the heroine was born a lady, became a serving man, and marries the king.
-->''And then, for fear of further strife,\\
He took Sweet William for his wife;\\
The like before was never seen,\\
A serving-man to be a queen.''
* A GenderFlip version, Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} "Literature/TheLordOfLornAndTheFalseSteward", has the young Lord of Lorn confess to a horse while the lady of the castle just happens to be listening.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Justified in ''{{Fables}}''. [[BornLucky Briar Rose]] can ''never'' stay poor thanks to a blessing placed on her at birth so when she loses her entire fortune fleeing the Adversary she quickly recoups it with a few smart business deals. One character notes that if she were to give away her fortune on a whim: "she'd probably win the lottery the next day".
* [[XWingSeries Plourr Illo]], a BoisterousBruiser expy of Anastasia, went into hiding and later became a pilot for the Rebellion after revolutionaries killed her family. She wasn't in rags, exactly, but she lived as well as any of the other pilots and kept her heritage a secret.
* {{Bone}} Thorn was unaware of her royal legacy. Her grandma told her that she is meant to lead a kingdom as the next queen. Thorn becomes Queen in the end.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fairy Tales]]
* In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/books/slavonic/wratislaw/beautifuldamsel.html The Beautiful Damsel and the Wicked Old Woman]]", a prince marries a peasant girl because she is beautiful, weeps pearls and brings flowers when she can smile, and sews exquisitely, but when she is coming to the wedding with an old woman, the woman gouges her eyes out and thrust her into a cave, to replace her with her own daughter. But the girl weeps pearls and buys back her eyes, and when she can see, she sews a handkerchief that the prince recognizes, so she regains him.
* In "Literature/TheBlueMountains", the hero, a soldier, wins the princess. The same happens in "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/asbjornsenmoe/threeprincesseswhiteland.html The Three Princesses of Whiteland]]", where the hero is a peasant boy.
* In [[Creator/TheBrothersGrimm Grimms']] "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/31girlwithouthands.html The Girl Without Hands]]", the miller's daughter marries a king; then the Devil conspires against her, she is driven out to the wilderness, but the king follows her and she regains her place.
* In "Literature/TheGratefulBeasts", the peasant lad Ferko marries the princess and becomes king
* In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/books/portugual/pedroso/maidenwithrose.html The Maiden with the Rose on her Forehead]]", a woman finds a beautiful girl in enchanted sleep in her husband's house. Not knowing she is his niece, she enslaves her, but her husband finds out and restores the girl to her proper station. A similar plot is found in "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/sleepingbeauty/stories/youngslave.html The Young Slave]]".
* In "Literature/TheGooseGirl", the heroine's servant overpowers her and makes her promise not to tell anyone; then the servant passes herself off as the princess and has the heroine turned into a goose-girl. She escapes when she [[ExactWords confesses to a stove]] rather than a person.
* GenderFlip Cinderellas, Cinderlad or Askeladden, win princesses in such tales as "Literature/ThePrincessOnTheGlassHill", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/hopomythumb/stories/bootstroll.html Boots and the Troll]]", and "Literature/TheSevenFoals".
* "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/hanselgretel/stories/molly.html Molly Whuppie]]" does not only win the king's son for herself, but his older brothers for her older sisters.
* In "Literature/EastOfTheSunAndWestOfTheMoon", the woodcutter's youngest daughter marries a [[TalkingAnimal bear]] who proves to be a prince.
* In " Literature/TheDancingWaterTheSingingAppleAndTheSpeakingBird " and "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/96threelittlebirds.html The Three Little Birds]]", the king's [[WonderChild children]] are abandoned and grow up in ignorance of their birth, until a magic bird informs the king and children of the truth.
* In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/jacobs/english/fishring.html The Fish and the Ring]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/vasiliiunlucky.html Vasilii the Unlucky]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/29devilgoldhairs.html The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs]]", "Literature/TheKingWhoWouldBeStrongerThanFate", and many other fairy tales, a rich child is [[SelfFulfillingProphecies doomed]] to marry a poor child, and the poor child always succeeds.
* In "Literature/BrotherAndSister", when the king find Sister in the woods, with her transformed brother, he marries her.
* A central portion of the "Persecuted Heroine" fairy tale type.
** Literature/{{Cinderella}} variants, such as "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/hearthcat.html The Hearth Cat]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/maidenfish.html The Maiden and The Fish]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/sheep.html The Sharp Grey Sheep]]", "Literature/{{Tattercoats}}", and "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/birch.html The Wonderful Birch]]".
** Variants which follow Literature/SnowWhite, such as "Literature/{{Catskin}}", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/katie.html Katie Woodencloak]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/rashin.html Rashin-Coatie]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/donkeyskin/stories/bear.html The Bear]]", [[Creator/TheBrothersGrimm Grimms']] "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/donkeyskin/stories/allfur.html All-Kinds-Of-Fur]]", "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/donkeyskin/stories/kingdaughter.html The King Who Wished Marry To His Daughter]]", and "Literature/CapORushes".
* In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/maidmaleen/index.html Maid Maleen]]", after the princess falls in love with a prince [[ParentalMarriageVeto her father does not approve of]], the father imprisons her in a tower. Then he loses his kingdom and is unable to get her out. She and her maid burrow out and live in appalling poverty until she can find her way to the prince's kingdom and win him back.
--->''Oh, nettle-plant,\\
Little nettle-plant,\\
What dost thou here alone?\\
I have known the time\\
When I ate thee unboiled,\\
When I ate thee unroasted.''
* In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/blackcow.html The Story of The Black Cow]]", the hero ends up marrying a princess because of his gold hair.
* In "Literature/CatherineAndHerFate", Catherine, having chosen to be miserable in youth and happy in old age rather than the other way round, ends up as a SculleryMaid -- except that her Fate, being an AnthropomorphicPersonification, is always showing up and wrecking her position for seven years. Finally, however, her Fate gives her a MacGuffin, and when the king needs it, he decides to give her its weight in gold. It takes his whole treasury, he demands the story, and when she is done, he decides to marry her.
* In "Literature/AdalminasPearl", the cruel princess loses her [[MacGuffin enchanted pearl]] and becomes a plain, dumb peasant girl. Thanks to a back up enchantment, her heart however turns good now, and stays that even after she gets the pearl back.
* In ''[[http://www.mythfolklore.net/andrewlang/075.htm The Grateful Prince]]'', the prince goes to rescue [[DamselInDistress a peasant girl who was captive to an ogre]] because his father had promised him to the ogre, and substituted to the girl. After he does, he marries her.
* In ''Literature/TheThreeLittleMenInTheWood'', the stepdaughter marries a king.
* In ''[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/asbjornsenmoe/littleannie.html Little Annie the Goose-Girl]]'', Annie declares early that she means to have the king's son, and gets him in the end.
-->''so little Annie the goose-girl came to have the king of England's son for her husband after all, just because it was written that she should have him.''
* Ironically, despite her TropeCodifier status above, Literature/{{Cinderella}} herself would fall more precisely under "Goose Girl Style." As Creator/JaneYolen has pointed out, Cinderella was ''already'' nobility and/or an heiress, just made to wear rags and work a menial job by her WickedStepmother.
-->"'Literature/{{Cinderella}}' is not a story of rags to riches, but rather riches recovered; not poor girl into princess but rather rich girl (or princess) rescued from improper or wicked enslavement."

[[/folder]]

[[folder:FanWorks]]
* Because of a cough during a reincarnation spell, unlike ''Anime/SailorMoon'' canon where Usagi is the long lost princess, [[LyricalNanoha Nanoha Takamachi]] is the Sleeping Beauty Moon Princess in ''Fanfic/WhiteDevilOfTheMoon''. Also unlike Usagi, Nanoha is ''not'' happy to hear about it, especially when she gets a look at her past self and starts viewing it as a King Thrushbeard situation. [[spoiler: She ultimately declines to revive the Moon Kingdom, preferring her job at the TSAB.]]
* ''FanFic/TangledInTime'' has Fyrus, a male Gerudo born to humble barkeepers. He is a combined Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty example, as Fyrus's mother was not royalty and he didn't realize that being a male Gerudo was a big deal. He became king when he and his family flee Ganondorf's takeover of Hyrule and to stay with his mother's family in the Gerudo desert.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* Don Bluth's ''{{Anastasia}}''. Anya wakes up, eights year old with no memory, and spends the next ten years of her life in an rundown orphanage, hoping her OrphansPlotTrinket means she has a family who loves her somewhere. She takes a chance and follows her one clue to Paris, determined to not rest until she finds out who she really is. This pays off, and she discovers she's actually Her Imperial Highness, the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, and has a grandmother who has long been searching for her.
** Though this trope is somewhat subverted in that Anya/Anastasia goes from Royalty to Rags to Royalty Again to [[spoiler: Not Really Royalty, Seeing As She Was In Love With A Non-Royal And There Is The Whole Matter Of Joseph Stalin Being In Charge, But Presumably Happy And Comfortable]].
* ''{{Shrek}}'': Princess Fiona is a Snow White, kept in a tower until her curse is reversed.
* Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''.
* Rapunzel from ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'' is a Goose Girl type; a princess who was kidnapped as a baby and had her heritage kept secret from her by Gothel, who wanted to use her MagicHair. Also, Flynn is a Cinderella, as he's an orphan and a thief who marries Rapunzel.
** The Barbie version of the story also portrayed Rapunzel as a stolen princess. In the original fairy tale, she is a Cinderella type.
* Pictured above: Disney later subverts this with ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog''. Tiana marries Prince Naveen officially becomes a princess by marriage. But she doesn't get the royal treatment and instead opens up her own restaurant with Naveen.
* The Rapunzel variety happens to Daria in ''WesternAnimation/ThePrincessAndThePea''.
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', it turns out that [[spoiler:King Candy is a usurper, and Vanellope is the rightful, deposed princess and ruler of ''Sugar Rush''. She decides to ditch the Princess title for a presidency instead.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* ''StarWars''
** Han and Leia are a special case in that an insignificant smuggler of no importance ends up with the adopted daughter of a powerful nobleman from one of the oldest and most prestigious human planets, who already had her own career in the highest levels of galactic politics.
** While far from poor, Emperor Palpatine started his life as a member of a small noble family of the lowest rank on the tiny backwater planet Naboo. Instead of working his way up through the political hierarchy of the Galaxy, he instead staged a conflict that made his people look like victims in the power plays of the major powers and showed the face of a humble older man just wishing to save his home, which got him enough of a sympathy bonus to be selected as a trustworthy and impartial caretaker for major reforms in the Galactic Republic.
** If ExpandedUniverse is taken into consideration, Han could be a descendant of the family that ruled Corellia in the distant past. ''Could'' because 1) the claimant to the throne Han's descended from could be an impostor, 2) number 1 could have just been said to make Han's heritage more opaque by his request, 3) Corellia's a democracy anyway at this point, and 4) the whole point of that was to prove that Han had the heritage and credentials to marry Princess Leia... but they weren't going to let anything stop them from doing that anyway, especially since the only real threat to their engagement found love elsewhere.
*** Which if the above is taken into consideration means their three children [[spoiler: and granddaughter]] also are descendants of royalty. [[spoiler: Then again, their granddaughter is already a Snow White, the lost heir to the Hapes Consortium.]]
* ''Film/PansLabyrinth'' has Ophelia as a Sleeping Beauty; she's the reincarnation of a fairy princess, but must pass many tests to prove she is still more royalty than human, and hasn't been corrupted by living among us. WordOfGod is it's all true, not a mere trick or her "escapism" method to try coping with a truly horrid life in the middle of the Spanish Civil War.
* The eponymous ''KingRalph'' is a male Cinderella, though he's not exactly sweeping princesses off their feet. Rather, he comes by his office by accident of birth, after every other member of the royal family dies in an explosion.
* The fantasy film ''QuestOfTheDeltaKnights,'' which may be best remembered as having been shown on ''[=MST3K=]'', had a Sleeping Beauty character. The two young heroes, Tee and Leonardo da Vinci, rescue a prostitute named Thena from having to spend the night with evil Lord Vultare. The trio are captured by a group of warriors from a neighboring country, the leader of whom takes Thena aside for a private interview. She tells him a short form of her life story, and he comes to the (rather incomprehensible) conclusion that she is none other than his own long-lost younger sister, Princess Athena.
* The 1987 Ally Sheedy vehicle ''Maid To Order'' offers a modern King Thrushbeard in the story of a wild spendthrift heiress who is magically banished into the working class to learn humility, compassion and the value of a buck, thanks to her Fairy Godmother.
** ''Film/{{Overboard}}'' had a similar plot, only it was a case of accidental amnesia and the scheme of a lower class workman (that the spoiled heiress had earlier insulted) that sent her to live the life of a poor housewife. [[spoiler: She regains her memory and wealth at the end of the story, and marries the poor workman after dumping the loathsome husband she'd had before the accident.]]
* ''Film/MaidInManhattan'', with JenniferLopez as a hotel maid (Cinderella), Creator/RalphFiennes as a Congressional candidate staying at the hotel (The Prince), NatashaRichardson and Creator/AmySedaris as airheaded socialites also lusting after him (the Wicked Stepsisters), Lopez' coworkers as a collective group of fairy godmothers, and the museum benefit where things come to a head (the Ball).
* In the film ''WorkingGirl'', Tess [=McGill=] starts as an overworked and unappreciated secretary living in Staten Island with a deadbeat boyfriend. By the movie's ending, she pulled off a major business merger, gained a new job and a Wall Street analyst lover.
** Her first boyfriend wasn't a deadbeat, he had a perfectly good blue-collar job and before the movie ended had achieved his aim of owning his own boat. However he had no sympathy with her white-collar aspirations and he cheated on her.
* In ''InTheNameOfTheKing: A DungeonSiege Tale'', [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Farmer]] is a simple [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin farmer]] with no aspirations other than to grow crops and be a good husband and father. When his son is killed and his wife captured by the EvilSorcerer BigBad, he goes to try to get her back and avenge his son. Meanwhile, the kingdom of Ehb is under siege from the sorcerer's mindless horde of creatures called the Krug. [[Creator/BurtReynolds King Konreid]] meets Farmer and is told by his wizard that Farmer is his long-lost son. Farmer neither believes him nor does he care. During the first battle with the Krug, the king is betrayed and mortally wounded by [[spoiler:his nephew Duke Fallow]]. On his deathbed, he convinces Farmer that the latter is his son. Farmer becomes King Camden Konreid.
* In ''Film/TheManInTheIronMask'', Phillippe is literally in rags in prison.
* The whole plot of ''The Prince and Me'' is that American medical student Paige falls in love with the young King Edvard of Denmark, and becomes a Cinderella who must find a way to prove her worth to the people of his country.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/ThePrincessDiaries'' books are a deconstruction -- Mia was as happy as any other teen at first and horrified to discover she was a princess. Being a princess is difficult, and her grandmother is...''trying''...to say the least. However, Mia eventually discovers she has gained fame, which she can use to try and right what she sees as social injustices and wrongs.
* The ''Literature/{{Belgariad}}'' had Garion, a male Sleeping Beauty.
* The original ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' series.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Emberella in ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'' starts out as a parody of Literature/{{Cinderella}}, but turns out to be a more-or-less straight Sleeping Beauty.
** Captain Carrot in the Watch series is a parody of the male Sleeping Beauty; once he learns his true heritage, he makes damn sure no-one finds out. ([[spoiler: Including executing one persistant monarchist for treachery against the Patrician]].)
** ''Discworld/WyrdSisters'' is also a subversion of the male Sleeping Beauty: [[spoiler: Like Carrot, Tomjon doesn't want the job once he learns his heritage, so it instead goes to his half-brother Verence who's actually a half-brother on the ''mother's'' side and so, strictly speaking, doesn't have RoyalBlood at all]].
** The above caveats aside, ''Discworld/WyrdSisters'' also sets up ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'' in making Magrat a fairly straight example of the Cinderella.
* Sergeant Nimashet Despreaux in Creator/JohnRingo and Creator/DavidWeber's ''Literature/PrinceRoger'' series subverts the trope by recognizing that it is not a good idea for [[BodyguardCrush a bodyguard to be attracted to the person she's guarding]]. Also, since she is from a hick planet, she doesn't want to get anywhere near the DeadlyDecadentCourt that plagues the Empire of Man. She actually has to be ORDERED by her CO to have a relationship with the prince because they need to get him out of a depressed funk. Later on, when he becomes heir to the throne, she gets cold feet. She then has to be ORDERED by her CO to marry him so that she can serve as his moderating influence and conscience.
* In the children's novel ''JustElla,'' by Margaret Haddix, the trope is subverted. Having gotten to the ball by her own devices, she is dogged by rumors it was really a fairy godmother. She finds that court life is stifling, the poor are horribly downtrodden, and Prince Charming is stupid and unfeeling.
* Kate Forsythe's Rhiannon o' the Dubhslain (a Sleeping Beauty).
* Thanks to RoyallyScrewedUp, in ''Literature/DeepSecret'', [[spoiler: Maree, Nick, and ''[[InterspeciesRomance Rob the Centaur]]'' are all secretly Princes/Princesses; Nick / Nicothodes is of the Snow White variety, while Maree and Rob are both Sleeping Beauties. While Maree / Sempronia is technically the eldest and next in line, Rob the centaur in the one who ascends to the throne. Sort of.]]
* Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's heroes and heroines are generally of high birth but sometimes feature as Sleeping Beauties or Snow Whites.
** ''Tarzan of the Apes'' turns out to be an English nobleman.
** In ''[[JohnCarterOfMars The Master Mind of Mars]]'', the heroine, Valla Dia, is in flight after the conquest of her city; only at the end she does reveal herself to be the princess of it.
** In ''A Fighting Man of Mars'', the hero meets a slave girl Tavia; only at the end it is revealed that she is a princess by blood. (Even she didn't know.)
** ''The Cave Girl'' was a ship-wrecked child of Spanish nobility.
** In ''Literature/TheMonsterMen'', the hero is revealed to be amnesiac, and an upper-class American.
** In ''The Chessman of Mars'', the hero, a prince, disguises himself as a poor mercenary because he had given the heroine a bad first impression as a prince.
* MercedesLackey adores this trope. Granted, half of Misty's work is retelling of fairy tales, but she really does get a kick out of this particular type of tale.
** Cinderellas: Godmother Elena of ''[[Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms The Fairy Godmother]]'' and its sequels, Talia of the ''[[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Arrows Trilogy]]'', Rose Hawkins of ''[[Literature/ElementalMasters The Fire Rose]]'' Eleanor Robinson of ''Phoenix and Ashes'', and Ninette Dupond of ''Reserved for the Cat''.
** Sleeping Beauty: Marina of ''Gates of Sleep''.
** Show Whites: Maya Witherspoon of ''Serpent's Shadow'' and ''Phoenix and Ashes'' and Winterhart of the ''Mage Wars'' trilogy.
* In John Barnes' ''Literature/OneForTheMorningGlory'', Calliope is secretly the princess of a neighboring country, smuggled to safety. [[spoiler: She ends up [[RightfulKingReturns getting herself crowned]] and then marrying Prince Amatus and being queen, although at one point she does wish that she could marry Amatus as just the nobleman's daughter she passes herself off as; as a princess, the political aspects are a little obvious.]]
* GreekMythology goes a step beyond with the Legend of Eros and Psyche. Although Psyche is actually a princess by right, she goes one scale higher, to get married by the God of Love himself in disguise. Then Zeus makes her immortal.
* Ceddy, AKA Cedrik Errol, of ''LittleLordFauntleroy'', is another example of the 'rags to riches' and 'hidden nobility' part of this trope. His father was the son of a very rich and anti-American Lord, his mother was the orphaned and much abused lady-in-waiting of a RichBitch, they got together despite the ParentalMarriageVeto, after the dad was disinherited they lived a middle-to-poor-class but happy life with little Cedric, and it's only after the father's death that Cedric learns his origins and then goes to England to meet his paternal family.
* Princess Augusta [[spoiler: a.k.a. Mickle]] of Creator/LloydAlexander's ''Literature/{{Westmark}}'' is a combination Sleeping Beauty/Goose Girl type: she doesn't remember her royal heritage thanks to traumatic amnesia, and the country believes that she's dead. Deconstructed somewhat in the sequels, where noble and foreign disapproval of her commoner upbringing sets the plot in motion.
* Also from Creator/LloydAlexander are Taran and Princess Eilonwy in the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain''. Eilonwy is an aversion of the Snow White in that she isn't on the run from her royal lineage, but was stolen as an infant. She's somewhat of a Goose Girl, in that she is perfectly well aware that she's a Princess of Llyr, but when she meets protagonist Taran in the first book, she doesn't bother to mention it at any point - not because she feels like she needs to hide the truth, but simply because ''rank doesn't matter to her''. (This is averted in the [[Disney/TheBlackCauldron animated adaptation]], where she always introduces herself as a princess.) Taran himself, by the end of the series, is a Cinderella who makes a very abrupt transition from assistant pig-keeper to High King.
* In many variants of the medieval ChivalricRomance of ''Robert the Devil'', the hero is living a life of menial labor when he rescues the princess and [[StandardHeroReward gets to marry her]]. Unusually, this is his own choice: his parents had [[WonderChild wished for a child]] -- whether from God or the Devil. [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor The son is therefore born possessed by evil]], and he is doing penance for the evil he did.
* In many {{chivalric romance}}s such as ''Vitae Duorum Offarum'', ''Emare'', ''Mai and Beaflor'', and ''La Belle Helene de Constantinople'', the heroine escapes her [[ParentalIncest father threatening marriage]] and wins the heart of a king. After she has a child, she is slandered and driven out again, only reuniting with her husband after much tribulation. (See "The Girl Without Hands" under FairyTales.)
* In the ChivalricRomance ''Sir Amadas'', Amadas wins the hand of the princess with the aid of a mysterious White Knight, who proves to be [[OurGhostsAreDifferent a dead man whose burial he had secured]].
* In the ChivalricRomance ''King Horn'', Horn, [[MosesInTheBullrushes after being cast adrift in a boat as a boy]], returned to his father's kingdom to reclaim it.
** Similarly with Havelock in ''Havelock the Dane''.
* In the ChivalricRomance ''Roswall and Lillian'', the hero is attacked by his own servant and must promise to never reveal the attack to save his own life. He wins the princess in a tournament with the aid of magical helpers who give him armor and weapons.
* Aragorn/Strider, of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', is somewhere between Goose Girl and Snow White. He's the heir to ''two'' dynasties (one a dynasty and people without a proper state, the other a land without a king), lives with his identity hidden for safety reasons, and was kept ignorant of his heritage during his childhood in Rivendell (which was nowhere near "rags" territory). As an adult he takes on the leadership of his people, and spends most of his time away from home fighting the horrors of the Enemy, whether to protect unwitting hobbits and Men in Eriador or as leader in the armies of Rohan and Gondor under the name Thorongil. Additionally, his line has been living this way for more than a dozen generations before their kingdom is finally restored.
** Aragorn's early life is a lot like that of King Arthur, who was placed for adoption by Merlin to keep him hidden and safe from his enemies until he could claim his throne.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/CitizenOfTheGalaxy'' uses the Goose Girl: Freed slave Thorby goes through most of the novel with a variety of foster parents until he finally reaches a point where he can be identified by his footprints. He discovers that he's Thor '''B'''radley Rudbek, long-lost heir of the [[{{Fiction500}} obscenely wealthy]] Rudbek clan, sold into slavery as an infant when his parents were attacked by {{Space Pirate}}s.
* Lessa of the ''{{Dragonriders of Pern}}'' series is a grown-up Snow White/Goose Girl ragged princess (albeit a {{Tsundere}} with emphasis on the Tsun) whose family was destroyed when Fax took over her Hold. She changes her goal -- instead of taking back leadership of Ruatha Hold, she becomes a queen dragon rider and Weyrwoman (an even higher social rank).
* By the end of the ''Seventh Sword'' trilogy, this happens several times. The first of which is Katanjii, a minor character who breaks his arm early on, but discovers that he has a strong business sense that enables him to make business deals that always benefit him, despite his small stature, young age, and seeming innocence. The trilogy concludes with:
** Nanjii, (Katanjii's older brother [[spoiler: becoming the world's greatest swordsman, when he had started out as a poor protege]]).
** Sonshu, the main protagonist [[spoiler: becomes a king who is well-loved]] despite spending most of the story being despised by everyone.
** Jaa, Sonshu's love interest and a slave [[spoiler: becomes Sonshu's queen]].
* [[spoiler: Octavian]] in the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' series is a male in the Sleeping Beauty style, and [[spoiler: his mother Isana]] was a Cinderella in the backstory and is a Goose Girl during the events of the main plot. [[spoiler: Octavian]] only reveals his birthright after he has proven himself a brilliant military commander.
* Jame, the heroine of P.C. Hodgell's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' series, is a Sleeping Beauty type; she believes herself the outcast, ragtag daughter of a minor Lord, but she turns out to be the sister of the Highlord of the Kencyrath -- a situation that doesn't make her all that happy, because she chafes under (and eventually rejects) the restrictions of the role.
* In Creator/CSLewis' ''TheHorseAndHisBoy'': [[spoiler: Shasta is Prince Cor, heir to the Archenland throne. He's a Sleeping Beauty type as he didn't know about that until the end, and only escaped because neither he nor Bree wanted to be MadeASlave. At the end, Cor grows into TheWisePrince and a ReasonableAuthorityFigure as King Cor of Archenland.]]
** Likewise, [[spoiler: his {{foil}} Aravis was a Snow White: she ran away from her noble home after being badly shaken by the death of her much loved older brother ''and'' not wanting to be the TrophyWife to a high-ranked and much older SmugSnake (which was [[ArrangedMarriage arranged]] by her WickedStepmother). She becomes Cor's girlfriend, then wife, and with time, the Queen Consort of Archenland.]]
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's "Literature/TheScarletCitadel" ConanTheBarbarian is proud of his going through this as a SelfMadeMan.
* In JosephaSherman's ''Literature/TheShiningFalcon'', Maria is reduced to a peasant's life before gaining Finist's love.
* In ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'', Hrothgar's queen is described as queenly and wearing gold, but her name is "Wealhtheow," which means "[[MadeASlave foreign slave]]."
* In the Literature/BookOfEsther of ''Literature/TheBible'', [[GuileHero Esther]] is chosen to be [[TheHighQueen queen]] (to replace Queen Vashti after her husband Ahasuerus/Xerxes banished her from the empire). Esther is an ordinary young girl, and at that one of the Jews living in exile in Babylon, but she is chosen by the king himself out of a harem on account of [[TheBeautifulElite her beauty]].
* Princess Jenna from the ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'' series grew up in a poor Wizard family before being called to become Princess at her tenth birthday.
* In Fred Saberhagen's ''Literature/BookOfSwords'' trilogy, or rather, its backstory, Yambu, the Silver Queen, was the rightful ruler of...Yambu, after her parents, the previous king and queen, were killed. Unfortunately, the people who killed them had somehow gotten the idea that they should be in charge now, so Yambu had to go on the run as a [[NobleFugitive fugitive]], where she was helped by a mysterious stranger who called himself the Emperor. Despite appearing to be a clown, he turned out to be a great warrior and a powerful wizard, and saved her repeatedly and became her lover, and ultimately led a successful military-diplomatic campaign to put her back on the throne. It was at that moment that he asked her to marry him, [[FaceHeelTurn but]]....
** Subverted with Yambu's daughter (by the Emperor), Ariane. Yambu, fearing her as a rival to her power, sells her into slavery. She is rescued from slavery by Baron Doon and his companions before anything really bad happens to her, but she is never put on the throne, and never returns to a state of royalty.
** Played straight, though, with Mark: he grows up as a peasant, but becomes Prince Consort of Tasavalta after he marries Princess Kristin.
* Bria in ''Literature/TheLastDove'' is the Sleeping Beauty Style.
* Wendy in the ''Literature/TrylleTrilogy'' is a Sleeping Beauty Style. She finds out that she is actually a [[ChangelingTale changeling]] troll who replaced her host family's original child, and she is actually the princess of the Trylle kingdom.
* The Daenerys plot from ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' is of The Goose Girl type.
* Ani/ Isi of ''[[Literature/BooksOfBayern The Goose Girl]]'' is [[CaptainObvious Goose Girl Style]].
* The protagonist of ''The Bitterbynde'' undergoes an ''extremely'' dramatic Cinderella transformation. At the start of the first book, she's a deformed, nameless, spurned, and hated scullery servant in a noble house. By midway through the second book, [[spoiler: she's won a name, a title and land, and is engaged to the King-Emperor, although this does not last.]]
* In Creator/JohnMoore's FracturedFairyTale, ''Literature/TheUnhandsomePrince'', Caroline ''knows'' she's destined for this. It was hard work finding the right frog to kiss. The only problem is that the standard deal is for a ''handsome'' prince. She knows that ''she's'' beautiful, and she'll be damned if she's going to settle!
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/TheHermeticMillennia'', one Chimera comments on how the lower class have cheap literature concentrating on Rags To Royalty RescueRomance.
* In Creator/SeananMcGuire's ''Literature/OctoberDaye'' novel ''Rosemary and Rue'', Toby observes that as a duchess, Luna looks like a goosegirl raised to her position.
* Alaric in ''Literature/TheQuestOfTheUnaligned'' is a Sleeping Beauty with a bit of a twist. He was never in any danger, rather he was sent to live in the city-state of Tonzimmiel instead of his native land of Caederan in order to ensure that he grew up magically balanced, away from the disruptive wind magic influencing the court. The original plan might have worked, but Alaric's Tonzimellian caretakers died when he was still fairly young, before they'd told him anything about his heritage, and he was sent into the orphanage system and only found just in time.
** His LoveInterest Laeshana is a fairly straight Cinderella. She is born into the white-sashes, the small caste of peasant mages despised by Caederan's nobility. However, her hard work, native brilliance, and loyalty to Prince Alaric conspire such that by the end of the story [[spoiler: she is the second most powerful mage in the world and Crown Prince Alaric's bride.]]
* The Cinderella variant is played with, gender switched, and ultimately averted in ''[[Literature/{{Temeraire}} Crucible of Gold]]''. Captain John Granby was born the third son of a Newcastle coal-merchant and his commission in the [[DragonRider Aerial Corps]] is if anything a step ''down'' by British standards. However when his dragon goes behind his back and gets him presented as a prospective political match for the Empress of the Inca he is anything but pleased [[spoiler: and would not have been even if he were [[StraightGay terribly interested in women]].]] His joy at the arrival of Napoleon is palpable.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* Guinevere does it Cinderella style on ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' going from serving girl to Queen of Camelot by becoming Arthur's wife.
** [[spoiler: And in the final episode becomes Queen Regnant when Arthur bequeaths Camelot to her.]]
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'' has several instances, which is fitting, given that the characters are the fairytale characters.
** The series protagonist, Emma, is a Sleeping Beauty style. She thought she was abandoned and left to die by callous jerks of parents, growing up with a [[DepartmentOfChildDisservices hellish set of foster homes]]. Finding out her parents are Snow White and her Prince Charming is a shock to say the least, and the series merrily deconstructs it.
** [[spoiler:Prince Charming]] undergoes a Cinderella version, but more complicated: he's one of two identical twin brothers born to a poor woman, with one of them being sold to a childless king. When the sold one dies, [[spoiler:Charming]] is forced to take his twin's place.
** ◦Rumplestiltskin went FromNobodyToNightmare. A poor sheep farmer and weaver, he was willing to do anything to prevent his son from being forcibly conscripted into a pointless war. It ended with him making a whopper of a DealWithTheDevil, then ''killing'' said devil, [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt only to become the next Dark One]], with all the wealth and comfort he can imagine. Only when his DrunkOnTheDarkside actions cause his son to run away does he start reconsidering things.
** Cora (the evil queen's mother) is an ''extremely'' pitch black take on the trope. An impoverished miller's daughter, she was humiliated publically (and cheated out of her payment for the flour shipment) when the princess tripped her, causing her bag to spill. She went out to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] this trope out of pure ''rage'' and desire to get even. Cora learned a ''lot'' more magic than spinning straw to gold by Rumplestiltskin (becoming his lover in the process), marrying a minor prince with absolutely no backbone that she openly held in contempt, cheating Rumplestiltskin when he tried to claim her end of the deal, and then giving birth to a daughter (Regina) ''just'' so the daughter could be used as a tool to get Mommy Dearest even ''more'' power. Oh, and she ''murdered'' the princess who humiliated her by using magic, part for revenge for being tripped and part to force her daughter to marry the widower.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Opera]]
* Many times in the works of Creator/GilbertAndSullivan:
** ''Theatre/TheYeomenOfTheGuard'': Elsie's marriage to the Colonel.
** In ''Theatre/HMSPinafore'', Josephine's marriage to Ralph, since he is really the Captain.
** In ''Theatre/{{Ruddigore}}'', both Hannah and Rose marry baronets.
** In ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance'', Major General Stanley's BackStory -- he even bought an estate and its contents, which included the buried ancestors. His daughters proceed to marry the pirates when they are revealed to be noblemen.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare. Some of these are dukes rather than kings or princes--but sovereign ones.
** ''Theatre/AsYouLikeIt'': The duke is forced into exile in the BackStory, and in the play, Rosalind his daughter has to follow him. They are restored at the end both to each other and to their rightful titles.
** ''Theatre/{{Cymbeline}}'': The young princes are raised as shepherds but identified at the end.
** ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure'': Isabella marries the duke at the end
** ''Theatre/PericlesPrinceOfTyre'': The prince is shipwreaked and only restored at the end.
** ''Theatre/TheTempest'': Prospero's deposition means both he and Miranda are this.
** ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'': Viola ends up marrying the duke.
** ''Theatre/TheWintersTale'': Perdita is raised as a shepherdess, although a princess.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' had a version of the Snow White. [[spoiler:Princess Zelda is concealed among the Sheikah people to hide her from Ganondorf for seven years.]] %% No references to Sheik's biological sex, please.
** Tetra of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' follows the Sleeping Beauty version of this trope, [[spoiler: though in a partial subversion, she doesn't get to really return to her status as royalty because the entire Kingdom of Hyrule pulls an Atlantis and stays forever sealed at the bottom of the Great Sea. This doesn't really bother her much, though, because she hates being called Princess Zelda anyway.]]
** [[spoiler: Midna]] in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' is another Snow White example.
** The Zelda in ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' is a rather literal Sleeping Beauty.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves'', where one of the villains is a tiger crimelord named Rajan, who [[RagsToRiches climbed up from poverty]] through a life of crime . While presenting himself as royalty (via the self imposed title "Lord of the Hills" and his "newly purchased "ancestral palace""), he's a thug in king's clothing with no real title or royal blood.
-->'''Sly''' While (Rajan) goes to great lengths to convince others of his royalty, he's really trying to convince himself.
* In ''VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice'', [[spoiler: Almaz]] is a Cinderella example in two of the endings. [[spoiler: In the Good ending, he ends up marrying Princess Sapphire Rhodonite. In the more jokey "Almaz Ending," Mao's father deems him Overlord of the Netherworld, much to his own dismay.]]
* Lyndis from ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword]]'' is a mix of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. She knows she's the princess of the Lorca tribe since her DisappearedDad was the chieftain... but she certainly does ''not'' know that her MissingMom was a former princess of the ''Lycian'' royalty. The first part of the game is dedicated to her finding out about her mom's origins, taking off to meet up with her still-living grandfather ''and'' defeating her [[EvilUncle Evil Great Uncle]].
** Even more so: if Lyn marries either Eliwood or Hector, she can become the co-ruler of either Pherae or Ostia and reassure her Snow White traits. She's not the only potential Cindy, either: both guys have brides who are either mercenary Pegasus Knights (Fiora, for Eliwood; Farina and Florina, for Hector) or a travelling dancer [[spoiler: and half-human, half dragon]] (Ninian, for Eliwood).
** The same game has two Cinderellas: Louise and [[spoiler: Hellene.]] They're two childhood friends who are also members of very minor noble clans, who marry into much-higher families: Louise is HappilyMarried to Pent of Reglay, while [[spoiler: Hellene becomes the Queen of Bern via marrying King Desmond... and it gets worse for her.]] At the same time, we meet ''three'' Snow Whites: [[spoiler: Priscilla and Raymond of Cornwell, whose clan was overthrown due to their supposed corruption; and Rath from the Kutolah tribe, banished away from his tribe BecauseDestinySaysSo.]]
* In the prequel ''Sword of Seals'', some of the girls that KidAnova Roy can marry aren't exactly your average noblewomen: the GenkiGirl dancer (and adoptive daughter [[spoiler: of an Etrurian general]], but still) Lalum, TomboyPrincess Sue from the Kutolah tribe [[spoiler: aka Rath's daughter]], ActionGirl and mercenary Pegasus Knight Shanna, and the [[DarkIsNotEvil druid]] Sophia [[spoiler: who's also a half-dragon]].
* [[spoiler: Cigyun and Deirdre]] in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Fire Emblem 4]]'' were both Sleeping Beauties.
** The first [[spoiler: was a young woman with [[HeroicLineage minor Lopto blood]], which was a ''very'' bad thing as her children would either become vessels for the Dark God Lopto or be the parents of a possible vessel. Cigyun escaped her home in a Verdane forest to see the world, married the Lord of Velthomer (from the also noble Fala clan) and had a son (Alvis) with major Fala blood ''and'' minor Lopto blood; however, she was mentally broken due to how much her husband cheated on her, so she cheated back on him with Prince Kurth, who belonged to ''another'' HeroicLineage (Narga). When the Velthomer lord found out and killed himself, the despaired Cigyun escaped back into to the Forest while pregnant with Diadora, and died giving birth to her.]]
** The second is a young girl living in a secluded forest, who was always told to not leave the tiny village, but didn't know ''why'' she should be in complete isolation. [[spoiler: As she is Cigyun's daughter, Deirdre has minor Lopto blood too ''and'' from her dad's side she is the long lost crown princess of Grandvale with major Narga heritage, but her caretakers refuse to tell her the truth. She leaves the Forest too and marries Sigurd, living happily with him (and having Seliph) until MagnificentBastard Manfloy kidnaps and brainwashes her... to become her half-brother Arvis's wife. And yep, their incestuous child Julius ''does'' become the vessel for Lopto, and kills Deirdre once possessed. Good thing Deirdre manages to spirit her and Alvis's ''other'' incestuous child, Julia, and she ultimately joins her half-brother Seliph's rebellious group.]]
** Also, [[spoiler: Deirdre's eldest son]] Seliph and his friends aka the kids of the first generation characters belong to different cathegories, depending on their backstories. They're most commonly Snow Whites (Seliph, Leif, Oifaye, Shanan, Lester and Lana, Ulster and Larcei, Patty, Ares, Arthur, maybe Altenna, Phee and Ced, Delmud and Nanna), but we also have some Sleeping Beauties (Leen and Corpul) and Goose Girls/Guys (Faval, Teeny). [[spoiler: Additionally, Lewyn is a subversion: he ''is'' the King of Silessa and should be in the throne, but he rejects his heritage (to the point that he gets pissed off when Seliph calls him "King") and prefers to be the TeamDad for Seliph's group so he can fight for the freedom of the empire. ('Sides, if he DOES have kids with Forseti blood, the son will be crowned at the end of the game.)]] Oh, and [[spoiler: the aforementioned Deirdre's daughter/Seliph's half-sister Julia]] is a Snow White, [[spoiler: amnesiac and away from her noble family - thus unable to recall that she's the Imperial Princess of Grandvale and the current holder of the Narga major blood.]]
*** If you don't get the kids of the first generation charas, they're replaced by [[ExPy expies]] who are generally commoners. The exceptions are the stand-ins for Arthur and Teeny, Amid and Linda, who are Snow Whites related by blood to the characters they're "replacing".
** In Thracia 776 we get some more of these. Leif, Nanna and Miranda are Snow Whites fighting to get their kingdoms back, to start. [[spoiler: Evayle turns out to be an amnesiac Seeping Beauty since she's the long lost Princess Briggid; her adoptive daughter Mareeta and Mareeta's father Galzus are a Goose Guy and his Goose Girl daughter, thrown out of the small kingdom of Rivough when it was conquered years ago.]]
** Not to mention, in both the second part of Seisen and in Thracia, we're told that [[spoiler: Ced and Phee's mother Ferry ultimately became a Cinderella. Despite being only a Pegasus Knight in service of Silesse, Lewyn's mother Rahna trusted her enough to let her succeed the Silesse throne, even if she's not married to Lewyn, and so Ferry became the [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure very kind and hardworking]] Queen of Silesse from being a non-noble Pegasus Knight. The downside is that she died few before the events of Seisen's Second Half and Thracia took place, which left Silesse open to attacks and occupation.]]
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius'' gives us a mixed Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in [[spoiler: Micaiah, who goes from a cute fortuneteller on the streets to a JeanneDArchetype-like leader of LaResistance to general to Queen of Daein... in the meantime learning that she is in fact the rightful heir to the empire of Begnion... which she does not end up ruling, and her little sister Empress Sanaki remains in power.]].
** It also both subverts and averts the Sleeping Beauty type with [[spoiler: Pelleas and Soren. Pelleas, a poor orphan who got the power of charming spirits, suddenly found himself the lost prince of Daein and became king - but it turned out to be a mistake, and he wasn't royal at all - and, in his case, being thought of as the Prince ''[[BreakTheCutie completely destroyed his life]]'' [[KillTheCutie and caused his death]]. (Unless you gather the requirements to recruit him into your group, that is - if he lives through he becomes an advisor to the aforementioned Queen Micaiah, which places him in a more Cinderella-like position.) Soren, the true prince, never learned of his heritage and remained a commoner -- but considering how things went with Pelleas (and [[ArchnemesisDad who his birth father is]]), then it was ''much'' better he remained this way.]]
* A very, ''very'' twisted Cinderella shows up in FireEmblemAwakening: [[spoiler: Gangrel, who started as a poor dude from the slums and [[SelfMadeMan became the King of Plegia]]... as well as TheCaligula.]]
** If a female Avatar marries Prince Chrom, she will become the future Queen of Plegia and a Cinderella type. Or she can marry the nobleman Frederick and remain as Chrom's [[NumberTwo close friend and advisor]], or get together with Basilio aka one of the Khans of Regna Ferox, [[spoiler: or marry one of Chrom's potential sons (Brady or Inigo)]], or marry Virion and [[spoiler: help him recover the Duchy of Rosanne]]. If a male Avatar marries Chrom's little sister Lissa [[spoiler: or his older sister Emmeryn if you recruit her via Spot Pass]], he will also be Cinderella'd into the Ylissean Royal Family; alternatively, he can marry Lissa's best friend Maribelle and be the husband of a future countess, or marry [[spoiler: any of Chrom's possible daughters (Kjelle, Cynthia, Lucina)]]... or marry the ''other'' Khan of Regna Ferox and Basilio's rival, Flavia, or marry close retainers and minor noblewomen like Cordelia, Sully and/or Sumia. [[spoiler: Since the Avatar's ArchnemesisDad Validar is the King of Plegia after Gangrel's fall, the Avatar of either gender is actually a Sleeping Beauty... and the "vessel" of Grima as well.]]
*** The female Avatar can also subvert it if she falls for either [[spoiler: the post HeelFaceTurn Gangrel and/or Walhart (neither is a ruler anymore), or Yen'fay (he's a Fallen Prince from an alternate timeline).]] Same goes to the male Avatar if his bride is [[spoiler: Say'ri (as Yen'fay's sister, she's a FallenPrincess - though she ''might'' have a chance to get Chon'sin back in the future.)]]
* ''VideoGame/FableII'' gives us an interesting example. TheHero is a pauper as a child, but then his/her SecretLegacy is discovered, which is that he/she is descended from a badass master of strength, marksmanship/litheness, and magic. After the tragic death of his/her sister at the hands of the BigBad, he/she grows up, masters the aforementioned skills, and defeats the BigBad. However, rather than marry into royalty, he/she forms his/her '''own''' monarchy, and because he/she is a Hero (master of said skills), he/she and his/her children, the main characters of ''VideoGame/FableIII'', are referred to as nobility, and having royal blood.
** Which comes back to bite said family in the ass in the ''VideoGame/FableIII'' DLC "Traitor's Keep", when a general who was imprisoned by the Hero's despotic son stages a coup, and argues that the royal family is tyrannical and unnecessary, with no real claim to rule Albion besides its magic powers.
* [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/mystery-talara "The Mystery of Princess Talara"]] from the ''[[Franchise/TheElderScrolls Elder Scrolls]]'' universe features a magnificent subversion of the Sleeping Beauty type; the plot even has ties to the main conflict of ''Arena''.
* It's strongly implied that [[HelloInsertNameHere the main character]] in ''{{Suikoden}} [[SuikodenIV IV]]'' may, in fact, be [[spoiler: Prince of the Kingdom of Obel]]. This isn't a straight example, though, because said main character comes into his own independantly of royal lineage. (In fact, assuming the title would've been a ''drop'' in status by the time it comes up.) It does cast the fight with [[spoiler: King Lino]] in a [[FridgeBrilliance new light]], though, doesn't it?
** In ''SuikodenTactics'' this continues, with [[spoiler:King Lino]] indicating he plans to name the ''Suikoden IV'' hero as his successor, without ever knowing [[spoiler:that the kid is his biological son and thus already the crown prince]].
* In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIII'', the slave Gwydion [[spoiler:is actually the long-lost Prince Alexander of Daventry]].
** He's not the only one who gets this landing on his plate. In [[VideoGame/KingsQuestI the first game]], Graham was a Cinderella style--son of a minor knight who worked his way up the ranks, returned the kingdom's lost treasures, and was given the crown by the childless King Edward. Edgar in the [[VideoGame/KingsQuestIV fourth]] and [[VideoGame/KingsQuestVII seventh]] game was under a situation closer to Gwydion's. Cassima was put into a Goose Girl situation in [[VideoGame/KingsQuestV the fifth game]] by Mordak. {{Fanon}} speculates the Cinderella route comes full circle with Connor after [[VideoGame/KingsQuestMaskOfEternity the eighth game]]. That depends [[ContestedSequel on whether or not]] you want to [[FanonDiscontinuity acknowledge the game even exists]].
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has [[spoiler: Alistair, bastard son of the late King Maric]] as a Snow White type. He doesn't care about his RoyalBlood, and when the plot demands that the RightfulKingReturns, he'll only do it kicking and screaming unless the player talks him into some CharacterDevelopment earlier in the game.
** The player character him/herself can also undergo this in a RichesToRags to Royalty fashion if the Warden is of the human noble origin. If that's the case, the Warden is the younger son/only daughter of the Cousland family, who are second highest in precedence only to the royal family themselves, but the events of their origin story have caused them to become a Goose Girl/Guy. [[spoiler:This Warden can become Prince Consort (if male) by marrying dowager Queen Anora, or Queen-Consort (if female) by marrying the hardened Alistair.]]
** The Dwarven Noble origin has a similar path: Exiled for killing their elder brother and heir to the throne (either truly or due to being framed by the younger brother), the Dwarven Noble later ends up being declared a Paragon; essentially riches to rags to deification.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', [[spoiler: Hawke may become a viscount if s/he side with the templars at the end.]] Ruling a whole city is a pretty big step from being a penniless refugee.
* A bizarre one from [[BioWare the same family]] goes the Sleeping Beauty route. Turns out the [[KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Jedi Council]] was pulling a massive amount of FromACertainPointOfView in regards to your PlayerCharacter...
* ''StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has a few of them. The Republic culture doesn't support royalty per se (unless it's ElectiveMonarchy like the Zeltrons or Naboo), but Alderaan is their exception. All Republic players can be knighted by House Organa (yes, Leia's adoptive family) in the world quest. The Jedi Consular steps up to represent a minor house of nobility at a peace conference, and a Dark Side choice can net them a title of "Lord of Alderaan" by ruining one of the rival houses. Imperials, ever more inclined to royalty and its trappings, can do better; the Sith Inquisitor goes from being plucked off the auction block due to Force Sensitivity and sent to Korriban to the Emperor's [[CoDragon co-dragon]] (with the Sith Warrior). The female Bounty Hunter can also get this if they take an offer to marry an Imperial-aligned Alderaanian noble, becoming a Baroness.
* The ''TotalWar'' series has version of this. If a peasant, generic army captain leads your forces to victory in a battle, he may be adopted into the royal family. Then if he marries the right princess, and the right people die, he could end up leading your faction as emperor of the known world!
* ''LostOdyssey'' has Jansen as a Cinderella type where he was a commoner until the end of the game where [[spoiler: he marries Ming and became king of Numara.]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'''s protagonist. [[KidHero Common kid]] --> [[MadeASlave slave]] --> [[WalkTheEarth wanderer]] ---> [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething King of Gotha]]. It's just that he doesn't know it until he reaches his hometown. [[AllJustADream Not that we]] [[OrWasItADream don't see this coming.]]
* Deconstructed in ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria''. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Queen Protea]] was a commoner who the king married for her beauty... and then he died and she ended up on the throne, where she quickly proved to be [[TheCaligula stupid, vain, incompetent, and completely lacking in any appreciation for the responsibilities of her post]].
** Also played with later- [[spoiler:Stocke is the [[DeadAllAlong resurrected]], [[IAmWho amnesiac]] crown prince. The main thing this qualifies him for is not ruling the country, but ''[[TargetedHumanSacrifice dying]]''.]]
* In ''Elite 2: Frontier'' and ''Frontier First Encounters'', you start out as a freelance space pilot with no particular social status. However, if you become a very successful mercenary for the Duval Empire (and grind a ''lot'' of missions), you will be rewarded with noble titles culminating with "Prince".
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Quain'tana of ''{{Drowtales}}'', who went from starving commoner, to mercenary, to leader of a group of mercenaries, to leader of ''larger'' band of mercenaries and from their ended up the founder and leader of one of the single most powerful clans in the city of Chel'el'Sussoloth, controling a military force ten times larger then the next most powerful clan.
* Villain example: In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', the demon lord Horribus (as well as his siblings Deplora and Terribus) were originally the demon equivalents of rednecks, with the simple names Horb, Plorb, and Terb, until Horribus's role in conquering the Dimension of Pain earned them all aristocratic status.
** The same occurs for long suffering member of Horribus's QuirkyMiniBossSquad [[spoiler:Psyk]], who is made the new demon lord [[spoiler:Psykosis]].
* While not a princess per se, Agatha Heterodyne in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is a Sleeping Beauty type, the long-lost daughter and only survivor [[spoiler: besides her mother, who happens to be the BigBad, sort of]] of the powerful Heterodyne family. Raised by {{Parental Substitute}}s and protected from her heritage as a [[MadScientist Spark]] by a locket her uncle made for her, she grows up having no idea she's heir to one of the most important families there is in a world run by {{Mad Scientist}}s.
* In ''{{Erstwhile}}'',
** Maid Maleen is a Goose Girl,
** All-Furs and the prince in "Iron Hans" are Snow Whites,
** the farmer's clever daughter is a Cinderella.
* Played around a ''lot'' in ''KevinAndKell''. Lindesfarne (the adopted daughter of Kevin) is believed to be the lost heir of the British throne. Determined to get the paparazzi off her back, she seeks out and finds Chertsey, another hedgehog that was in the orphanage the same time as her. Finding her through her handprints and a police record, Lindesfarne gets paparazzi-in-training Fiona to leak out that Chertsey might be the lost heir. DNA tests prove that Lindesfarne was the actual heir, but she conspired to put Chertsey in her place because it made a better RagsToRoyalty story and she wanted to stay with her family.
** And ''here'' is where it gets interesting. [[spoiler: It turns out years later that Chertsey's DNA matches Lindesfarne's...because Domain runs parallel to a universe where humans are the dominant species, and every animal in Domain has a counterpart in the human world, proven because if they cross over, they turn into their counterpart, DNA match and all. Lindesfarne, it turns out, originated from the human world and crossed over to Domain as a baby by accident, making her Chertsey's counterpart. So in short, ''both'' Lindesfarne and Chertsey are Sleeping Beauty types. Not that Lindesfarne ever intends to go back to the human world or stake her claim-she'd much rather be a scientist.]]
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[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Prince Zuko and his uncle General Iroh spend the second season as outright fugitive Snow Whites. Iroh [[DefectorFromDecadence seems to prefer this]] to the RoyallyScrewedUp [[TheEmpire Fire Nation]] [[DeadlyDecadentCourt court]], while Zuko... has a harder time coping for [[WellDoneSonGuy various reasons]]. [[spoiler:Zuko not only gets his royal life back, but he gets the throne too.]]
* Lampshaded in an episode of ''MuppetBabies'' where they begin an fantasy where Piggy is a queen, but she notices she's wearing a peasant outfit.
-->'''Piggy''': I guess this is one of those "rags to riches" stories.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' [[spoiler: the commoner Twilight Sparkle creates new magic, which causes her to become an alicorn, and is coronated as a princess as a result of that, making her a Cinderella. ExpandedUniverse revealed that Cadence had done the same thing to become a princess.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SofiaTheFirst'' and her mother thanks to the latter's marriage to King Roland the Second.
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[[folder: Real Life]]
* Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, was the first ever commoner to marry a British monarch; she had aristocratic ancestry but at the time they met she was the penniless widow of a defeated minor soldier. Their fairytale happy ending was slightly ruined by the UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses, though.
* [[BritishRoyalFamily Prince William's]] wife Kate Middleton, the current Duchess of Cambridge, was described as a commoner as she is only upper middle class rather than nobility.
** Prince Edward's wife Sophie Rhys-Jones, now the Countess of Wessex, was also an upper-class commoner, as was Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Prince Andrew's ex-wife.
* Ditto [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frida_Lyngstad Anni-Frid Princess Reuss of Plauen]], better known as Frida Lyngstad, the brunette from {{ABBA}}. Her late husband's country was absorbed into the German state of Thuringia after WorldWarOne, meaning she has no real power, but it's still a long way to go from her childhood. (She was the product of her mother's affair with a German soldier during the [[WorldWarTwo occupation of Norway]], and was raised by her grandmother to protect her from [[HumansAreBastards the abuse war children received in Norway.]])
* Princess (now Queen) Letizia Ortiz, married to the Spanish heir Felipe de Borbón -now ruling as Felipe VI-, was a commoner HotScoop. She studied in a public school and high school and her parents are a nurse and an unknown journalist. The Prince fell in love making this story a Cinderella type.
* King Rama IV of Thailand (you know, from ''The King and I'') spent twenty-seven years in a monastery after an usurper stole his father's throne. He was a devout monk who insisted on strict observance of the Southern School Buddhist monastic rules, which included things like chastity, moderation and poverty (a Buddhist monk is permitted a small number of robes, a begging bowl, a fan and very little else.) Upon the death of the usurper he became king, and inherited a whole load of palaces, servants and concubines.
* In a real-life "Goose Girl" example, King Clovis II of France (7th century) married an Anglo-Saxon noble who'd been sold into slavery.
* King Charles XIV John was born as Jean Bernadotte and came from a lower-middle class family in Pau, France. He joined the army early on and eventually became Marshall of France under emperor Napoleon, the 1st Sovereign Prince of Ponte Corvo and also married Napoleon's ex-fiancee Désirée Clary. Later on, because of a number of strange circumstances, he was adopted by the childless king of Sweden and made successor and founded the house of Bernadotte which still rules Sweden to this day.
** Also of Swedish royalty, but of a later stripe: Prince Daniel, spouse of Crown Princess Victoria, was born in a rural Swedish town as the son of a social worker and a postal employee.
* [[Creator/GraceKelly Princess Grace of Monaco]]. Not exactly rags, since her father was a self-made millionaire, but she still was a descendant of Irish bricklayers, and became a princess by marriage.
* Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby was a common single-mom before she married Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and became Crown princess.
* King Jaja of Opobo in what is today coastal Nigeria was born the son of peasant farmers further inland in the 1800s. He was kidnapped and sold as a slave to King Pepple of Bonny. He eventually ran the king's trading business so well that Pepple freed him, and made him Chief of his own War Canoe House. Later, Jaja led a group of disenchanted War Canoe Houses in a trade war with the town. They left Bonny, founded another port town, Opobo, and Jaja was proclaimed its first King. His War Canoe House is still the ruling House in Opobo today. (Jaja himself later got into a trade dispute with the British over rights to buy palm oil from the hinterland, was abducted, imprisoned in England, and died off the Gold Coast on his way back home).
* Every biography of a famous conqueror is this. Many times it is an [[TheEpic epic]] rather then strictly based on truth.
* Theodora, the daughter of a bear trainer and a dancer/actress in 6th century Constantinople, went from prostitute to empress of the Byzantine Empire through her marriage to Justinian I.
** Justinian himself was born a Thracian peasant and engineered the rise of his uncle to the throne before inheriting it himself.
* Basil I, founder of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, was born to Armenian peasant parents and eventually became Emperor, proving to be competent enough to establish his dynasty.
* Temujin was born to Mongol nobility, but was driven into exile with his mother and for a time he was even enslaved by his family's enemies. He later conquered most of the world, making him an extremely successful Sleeping Beauty type. For the non-scholarly types, you might know him as Genghis Khan.
* The Roman Emperor Diocletian, was born to parents who were former slaves (some sources even say he himself was born a slave). After joining the Roman Army, he eventually climbed the ranks to become one of the emperor's top generals. After the death of both the emperor and his son during a battle in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor. He would go on to make reforms that would bring the Roman Empire out of the Crisis of the Third Century.
** While Diocletian was an extreme case, the office of Roman Emperor ''technically'' was not hereditary, as the emperor was elected by the Senate. The situation of being ''de facto'' hereditary came from the reigning emperor's ability to force the Senate to elect a chosen heir as a co-emperor, who at his death would automatically become the only emperor. But, sometimes, the emperor would pick a competent general and have ''him'' elected as successor.
* While ''not'' exactly royalty, more than one [[ThePope Roman Catholic Pope]] started his life in poverty or as mere middle-class and ended up as the highest authority in Catholicism. Some examples are: St. Pius X (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, CountryMouse and son of a post office worker in a tiny village), Saint John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli, doubling as CountryMouse and an ImpoverishedPatrician since his sharecropper family descended from a secondary noble branch) and Saint John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla, son of a Polish ex-military officer, thus as much urban middle-class).
** The actual Pope (as of 2014), Francis, is one of these too. Son of Italian immigrants who lived in Argentina, graduated from schoool with a chemistry diploma and worked as a chemical technician, a bar bouncer and a janitor before entering the Jesuit Order and ascending in the hierarchy until he was made Pope.
* Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark began her life as an accounts manager for several advertising agencies, and later a realtor specializing in luxury properties. Cue the Sydney Olympics, Crown Prince Frederik and a pub, and let the fairytale begin.
* Emperor Hongwu, founder of the Ming Dynasty of China, was born as a peasant, lived as a beggar after a plague wiped out his family, and spent some time as a monk before becoming a warlord and eventually emperor.
* Liu Bang, founder of the Han dynasty, was also born as a peasant.
* A lower-class woman named Martha was born ca. 1684, became the maid of a Protestant cleric in Livonia, before marrying a Swedish dragoon. When the town she lived in was conquered by the Russians, she first lived with the Czar's friend Menshikov before becoming Peter the Great's mistress. Peter persuaded her to join the Orthodox church under the name Yekaterina (Catherine) and, after she had given birth to three daughters, married him in 1712. When Peter died, she became Russia's first reigning empress, Catherine I.
* It was somewhat common for Sultans and other Muslim kings to elevate their favorite concubine to a de-facto Queen status.
* UsefulNotes/ToyotomiHideyoshi. Born a normal peasant Kinoshita Tokichiro and eventually got drafted as a sandal-bearer for UsefulNotes/OdaNobunaga, he proves himself to be crafty and resourceful enough that Nobunaga promotes him to general, and eventually he avenges his lord's death, unifies Japan and becomes the most powerful and richest man in there.
* The Bonaparte family, including Joachim Murat, Napoleon's brother-in-law. The Bonapartes were impoverished Corsican aristocrats (making them foreigners in the eyes of the traditional French aristocracy) before Napoleon rose to the throne of France, while Murat was the son of an innkeeper - and mostly got his crown because he married Caroline, the youngest of the Bonaparte siblings.
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