[[quoteright:292:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pauper_prince_754.jpeg]]
[[caption-width-right:285:Left: Edward VI of England. Right: Tom Canty. [[IdenticalStranger Or, uh, maybe vice versa?]]]]

''The Prince and the Pauper'' is an 1882 Creator/MarkTwain HistoricalFiction novel about a StreetUrchin named Tom Canty and Prince Edward VI of England switching places. Tom has always dreamed of a better life, and the Prince is fascinated by Tom's lifestyle. When they exchange clothes just for fun, they accidentally end up mistaken for each other, and the boys become forced into each other's everyday situation. Tom has matters of national importance to attend to and has a hard time adjusting to court life, and Prince Edward finds out just how hard an urchin's life is.

The book was adapted to film many times. A 1937 film adaptation starred Creator/ErrolFlynn as Miles Hendon and Creator/ClaudeRains as the villainous Earl of Hartford. A 1990 animated cartoon short of the same name stars ''Disney/MickeyMouse'' (in his dual role) as both the prince and the pauper who exchange clothes and swap identities but one of them was captured by the captain of the guards, ''Disney/{{Pete}}'', along with ''Disney/DonaldDuck'' (just before ''Disney/{{Goofy}}'' rescues them). A 2004 version had Barbie (in her dual role) as the princess and the pauper who exchange clothes and swap identities (the 2004 Creator/{{Lionsgate}} DVD release is long out of print but the 2010 Creator/{{Universal}} DVD re-issue is still available). A 2007 updated version stars Dylan and Cole Sprouse (TV's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) alongside Kay Panabaker (Fame) as their ultra cute versions of Tom Canty and Prince Edward. A most recent version had Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell who accidentally switch places with Garrett Clayton and Grace Phipps, hence the official name of ''Film/TeenBeachMovie'', shown on Disney Channel, as a beach-side adaption of the classic story.

It is the TropeNamer for PrinceAndPauper, and arguably the story is LostInImitation.
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!!Tropes used by the novel:
* AbusiveParents: John Canty is a drunkard and brute who terrorizes his wife, son and daughters. Tom's grandmother is just as bad, often encouraging Tom's father to do it.
* AcquiredSituationalNarcissism: Tom Canty suffers a bit of this as a result of becoming king. Then again, who can blame him?
* AuthorTract: Living in [[TheGildedAge an age when the legal system was under the domination of the new rich,]] Twain dropped a few [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped anvils]] about the dangers of a legal system written strictly to benefit the upper class.
* BarefootPoverty: Tom has no shoes, but his feet have long since hardened on the streets of London. Edward, in his place, soon finds his soft feet bleeding.
* CloudCuckooLandersMinder: Miles Hendon falls in with the Prince and devotes himself to helping the 'poor mad boy'. Played with, obviously, because TheCloudCuckooLanderWasRight.
* DeadlyDistantFinale / ForegoneConclusion: [[spoiler:As mentioned in the epilogue, the real Edward VI died at the age of fifteen. Oh, and cute little Jane Grey was decapitated shortly afterward]].
* DisproportionateRetribution: The book is laden with examples of medieval "justice" - the horror stories that the Prince hears and the other punishments that he witnesses do much to turn him from a nice but clueless IvoryTower dweller into [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething a determined agent for reform and mercy]] once he returns to his throne. Even Tom Canty uses his borrowed power to undo a few bits of legal barbarism.
* {{Doppelganger}}: Seriously, how is it that two kids are exactly alike?
* EmergencyImpersonation: Tom has to pose as the prince. The prince's father, Henry VIII, thinks he's actually the Prince suffering from LaserGuidedAmnesia and commands him to 'behave normally', and Tom Canty wouldn't dream of disobeying his monarch.
* FishOutOfWater: Both Tom and Edward, for different reasons. The former sees what the upper class is truly like, and the latter sees how horrible the underclasses have it.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Tom and Edward's dreams of living each others' lives for a short time.
* GrassIsGreener: Played entirely straight with regard to the Prince, who thinks Tom Canty's life sounds like fun until he has to live it. [[ZigzaggedTrope Zigzagged]] a bit in Tom's case; at first he's miserable and frightened, but he gradually gets used to his new life and dreads having to become a pauper again, until [[spoiler:seeing his mother]] snaps him out of it and he begs to have his old life back.
* HaveAGayOldTime: The text uses 'ejaculated' (in the sense of 'exclaimed') and 'orgies' (in the sense of 'drunken debauchery') often.
* HiddenPurposeTest: Tom conducts one using ReversePsychology to prove an alleged witch and her daughter innocent. Not that he thought it through: he just thought seeing a genuine witch cast a spell would be neat.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Edward, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane... There's a lot. The text even notes the real Edward VI died at the age of fifteen.
* IdenticalStranger: Perhaps not the UrExample, but assuredly the TropeMaker.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Miles Hendon and Edward.
* KingIncognito: Through no fault of his own, but Edward ends up in the role of a street urchin.
* MockMillionaire: Tom really isn't quite sure what to do with all of his newfound money and power. It won't stop him from enjoying it.
* MutualEnvy: This is why [[PrinceAndPauper the prince and the pauper]] decide to switch places in Mark Twain's novel and its retellings.
* PrincessForADay: Actually for a period of a few months.
* RagsToRiches: Tom goes from a street urchin begging for coins to the king of England thanks to a misunderstanding. [[spoiler:At the end of the story, he also ends up as the King's Ward, so he'll never be poor again.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Edward, and Tom in his place. This trope also guides Edward's character development, from a well-meaning yet ignorant prince to a just and noble king.
* StreetUrchin: Tom, who lives in a house among many other mouths to feed.
* SwappedRoles: One of the oldest and most famous examples, where a street urchin and a king swap places out of misguided desires to see how the other side lives.
* UnPerson: Hugh tries to make his brother Miles into this.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: Both Edward and Tom are awfully intelligent young men, the former being well-educated and the latter having good street smarts and empathy.
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!!Tropes found in the 1937 film:

* ActuallyPrettyFunny: Tom using the Great Seal for a nutcracker got everyone, including the Archduke, laughing after a moment.
* AdaptationalVillainy: After the prince is born, Henry cruelly tells UsefulNotes/JaneSeymour she no longer has any reason to exist. Say what you will of UsefulNotes/HenryVIII, it's known that he absolutely adored his third wife.
* MatchCut: Between the Prince of Wales newborn in his bed, and the newborn pauper boy in his.