Everything's Better with Princesses
Mary Engelbreit gets this trope perfectly.
For a princess is an elegant thing,
Delicate and dainty as a dragonfly's wing.
You can recognize a lady by her elegant air,
But a genuine princess is exceedingly rare!
You've turned on the latest kids' TV program, and look, there's a girl in a pink
, floofy dress
with a wand — and she's got a tiara
and sometimes a pretty cape
trimmed with ermine
. Whether she's The Cutie
, an Action Girl
, a Magical Girl
, The Leader
of La Résistance
, or whatever you can think of, there's one very strong possibility: she's royalty
; specifically, a princess.
After years of exposure to the classical princess
we have this interpretation that princesses have it easy. They don't have to work (that's their parents' job
!), they get everything they want (money and power go a long way) and, in girls' series, they have very marketable wardrobes
(blame the Ermine Cape Effect
). Being a "princess" may not even affect the plot in any meaningful way, and the audience may get the sense that princessdom is just a quick way to give a female character a sense of specialness, with no pesky obligations to a family or kingdom that might get in the way of having adventures.
Usually, if she's got powers, she's The Chosen One
, and it's all because of her lineage
. Her sheltered life has left her ill-prepared to cope with real adversity, so don't expect her to be much of a hero
. She'll likely be the White Magician Girl
at best. This is usually true even if she grew up in a normal family
to hide from her enemies
— perhaps frailty is in the blood.
On the other hand, if she's surprisingly good in a fight
despite her sheltered upbringing, it might be because Authority Equals Asskicking
worth the name has a princess. If that's the case, expect a violent conflict with her Aloof Big Brother
, The Evil Prince
, and/or the Evil Chancellor
By the way do not expect princes to be given anything like the same sympathy as their sisters (more so in modern works). They are very often either outright bad
or well meaning but stupid
. If this princess has sisters, odds are good to see The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry
Note that you rarely see any minor nobles
as lead female characters, nor any young queens
. If she's a royal, she's the princess. Her sketchy genetic makeup
will be avoided altogether, and you won't see a single Habsburg chin around. Though in real life, princesses can be any age, princesses in fiction are usually children or teenagers, and are almost never older than 25, let alone middle-aged or elderly. The perfect age for an Arranged Marriage
plot to kick in!
Oftentimes, she is the 100% ruler of a region
. This is sometimes justified
by the region in question being a principality rather than a kingdom.
Something of a Dead Horse Trope
due to literally centuries
of overuse, and having become firmly recognised as a Common Mary Sue Trait
. Despite this, due to the Grandfather Clause
, teenage girls
, and how easy it is to parody
, plenty of princesses will appear in the pages yet to come.
This is also why many tropes have "princess" in the name, even though a princess isn't required (just a common example).
A Super Trope
to Princess Classic
, Badass Princess
, Princesses Rule
, Politically Active Princess
, Tomboy Princess
, Rebellious Princess
. If your princess doesn't hail from a well-organized kingdom but from a faraway village, she's The Chief's Daughter
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Sailor Moon
- The title character turns out to be Princess Serenity, whom everyone had been searching for. In the manga and The Nineties English dub of the anime, all the other senshi were princesses, too.
- There's Princess Kakyuu in Sailor Stars. One gets the impression that the Sailor Soldiers exist to protect their planet's Princess, because when Kakyuu gives up her life to protect the Starlights from Galaxia in the anime, they go on a suicidal bumrush at the Big Bad to avenge her. Ironically, at the end they are the ONLY characters to survive without the help of Sailor Moon's revival powers.
- There's also Sailor Moon's Daughter, Chibi-Usa, who is heir to both the Moon and Earth Kingdoms, with a name to fit, Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity Tsukino. Though she does not exactly make things better...
- Tower of God: You are facing a giant carnivorous eel in an environment that's thicker than water? Yuri Zahard is here to dynamically enter on your face and give you an ultimate sword. You best friend is dying of blood loss, but the exam won't be stopped because of something as trivial as that? Androssi Zahard is here to kick the examiners ass (a legitimate way of making your team pass the exam)! The team's power houses are about to be humiliated and killed? Enter Yuri Zahard with her Glowing Eyes of Doom. Yes, Zahards Princesses kick ass.
- In several Mazinger Z series there is at least one princess:
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has another princess brigade, with seven nations being ruled by princesses who themselves answer to a spectral queen who rarely shows up. At least they're Royals Who Actually Do Something.
- Fushigiboshi No Futago Hime, starting with the titular twins and encompassing most of the main cast. The marketing was all over this, tiaras and all: the publicity events were even called "Princess Parties" and they gave out kingdom seals.
- Miyazaki has this trope everywhere, seen in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea and The Castle of Cagliostro.
- Mako from Mahou no Mako-chan is the daughter of the King of the Sea.
- Mint from Magical Angel Sweet Mint is the princess of the show's Dream Land.
- Princess Silver from Yume No Crayon Oukoku is the princess of the Crayon Kingdom.
- Magical Princess Minky Momo even has it right there in the title.
- Princess Comet is the princess of Harmonica Star. Unsurprisingly, she dresses all in pink.
- In a variation on the frequent "Magical Girl as princess" theme, Himeko of Hime Chan No Ribon is an otherwise ordinary Magical Girl with an Alternate Universe counterpart who's a pink-wearing princess.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena, while not having any real royalty among its cast, thoroughly explores the stereotype and one of the main plotlines focuses on the titular protagonist trying to decide whether she wants to become "a princess" or "a prince". The series is also famous for postulating that all girls are princesses but there aren't enough princes for everyone.
- Dai Mahou Touge is a twisted, savage, yet strangely hilarious subversion of the stereotype.
- Futari wa Pretty Cure
- In an odd twist, the princess was a typical cute, mostly useless Damsel in Distress... and the mascot creature. Hikari from season two, however, filled this role more traditionally, despite being (somewhat) a Queen.
- Elsewhere in the Pretty Cure franchise, Yes! Pretty Cure 5 added a Princess among an influx of royals. Yes, they were also mascot creatures.
- In The Movie of Yes! Pretty Cure 5, the girls and the mascots visit "Princess Land", a theme park where the female patrons all get to wear ballgowns and pretend they're princesses. As you would expect, it seems to be a very popular place.
- Smile Pretty Cure! gave the second power-up in the series the name "Princess Form".
- Both Suite Pretty Cure ♪ and Happiness Charge Pretty Cure have actual princesses as heroines - Ako Shirabe/Cure Muse and Hime Shirayuki/Cure Princess, respectively. However, while Ako's quite the badass, Hime puts Tsubomi to shame in patheticness. And then there's her mysterious Dark Secret...
- Go Princess Pretty Cure features, as you guessed it, Princess Pre Cures.
- Thanks to the title, Princess Tutu seems like it'd play this trope straight... particularly since the main character Duck (or Ahiru) turns into the eponymous Magical Girl. But the show subverts this with an Aesop that Duck has to accept the person she truly is, and eventually has to give up the ability to become both Tutu and a girl (she's an actual bird). The Dark Magical Girl Princess Kraehe has a difficult home life as well (... to say the least). When Princess Kraehe shows up, Herr Drosselmeyer comments "Two heroines? That simply won't do."
- Averted in Lyrical Nanoha. Like many Magical Girl shows with a fantasy bent, female royals exist, in this case, from Ancient Belka. However, unlike many Magical Girl shows with a fantasy bent, they are not princesses. Instead, they are Kings that possess massive destructive capabilities that make them symbols of power that lead their country to war. Yeah, the title of King seems to be unisex for Ancient Belka. The main character adopts the clone of one of them as her kid. That said, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid reveals that they are still referred to as Princesses before they take the title of King. The Saint family, at least.
- Zero no Tsukaima: Henrietta is the perfect princess... but she doesn't spend much of the story as one, quickly becoming Queen and staying that way.
- Subverted in Berserk. Princess Charlotte should normally fit the trope to a T with her Princess Classic characterisation. But there is no such thing as all good in the series' Crapsack World. Hence, the girl is reduced to being nothing but a Meal Ticket for Griffith who plans to use her to access to the throne of Midland legally. Being the consort of a Dark Messiah, she is very unlikely to have a positive impact on the story.
- The Six Flowers of the Hibiscus Shield (magic fairies living in Orihime's hair clips) became the Six Princess Shielding Flowers in the English dub of Bleach.
- Code Geass
- The show largely subverts the stereotype, seeing Britannian princesses (three, thus far) fight and experience all cruelties of war just like their brothers. Euphie seemed to fit, with her naivety and struggle for peace, which only made her subversion the cruelest of all. Though what they did to Nunnally was pretty sick, too. Cornelia, who doesn't even start off well. She's vicious (and a virulent racist) from the get-go. Even if she does have a soft spot for Euphemia.
- Kaguya also fits, though not literally being a princess, she is the highest ranking of the surviving Japanese noblewomen, delicate, though spirited, with all the personality of a traditional fictional princess, and the head of the NAC, which governs the Japanese "on behalf" of the Britannain Prince/Princess in charge of Area 11. Though she's not said to suffer as much as the Britannian Princesses, all of her family are dead, and by the end of the series, she is the chairwoman of the UFN — composing of the countries of at least half the world - though at the cost of her self-declared husband.
- Vision of Escaflowne has some princesses who fit the stereotype and some who don't.
- Hyatt in Excel Saga is apparently a princess of some alien race, but this is never elaborated further in the series.
- Grenadier contains a notable aversion: its young female royal is a crowned Empress, not a princess.
- Gundam successors like toying with the notion:
- This probably goes back to the original series, whose Sayla Mass (real name: Artesia Som Deikun) is a princess-in-exile of The Kingdom-like Republic of Zeon founded by her father. By the time of MSG, however, the former Republic is taken over by the villainous Zabi family and transformed into a "Principality", so her heritage doesn't do her any favor. Although Sayla doesn't really count considering her father was a democratic leader, and Zeon only became a monarchy after her father died.
- There's also Kycillia Zabi, who subverts the trope in a big way, being more coldblooded & ruthless than all but one of her brothers.
- Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ have Mineva Zabi, the last member of the Zabi family. She also features prominently in the latest Gundam Unicorn novel, and other (non-canon) adaptations. Mineva is just a puppet, though. She's seven years old and ruthlessly manipulated. By the way, how is she considered a princess? She's the last surviving Zabi, she should be queen even if she does need Haman as a regent. She's still a princess because Zeon is principality, not a kingdom. The ruler of a principality has the title of "prince" or "princess", depending on gender.note
- Gundam F91 has Cecily Fairchild, aka Berah Ronah.
- Victory Gundam has Shakti Kareen.
- G Gundam, the first show with a new continuity, also brings the first real princess, the very Moe Moe Maria Louise of Neo France.
- Relena Darlian (real name: Relena Peacecraft) of the Sanc Kingdom in Gundam Wing. Like Sayla, she is exiled, too, and comes with an evil brother. And like Sayla, her brother makes frequent trips through the Face Heel Revolving Door.
- Turn A Gundam: Diana Soreil is not a princess; she's the Queen.
- Gundam SEED has two subversions: Cagalli Yula Athha is a legitimate but Rebellious Princess of Orb Union, while Lacus Clyne is not a real royalty but de facto the most powerful political figure in the entire Earth sphere. She is also much more lady-like than tomboyish Cagalli. Lacus is a real royalty, just too minor for it to matter.
- Gundam 00 drives it to the extreme with Marina Ismail, arguably, an Expy of Relena and Lacus and an elected princess of a constitutional monarchy.
- Fact: it's easier to list those Gundam series without a princess or two, than those with them.
- Murder Princess is yet another subversion. The real princess of The Kingdom of Forland is a weak-willed Ojou but soon switches bodies with the most badass Action Girl in history, who proceeds to kick much ass and become the titular character.
- Pacifica in Scrapped Princess is a subversion as she is a pure-blood princess but must endure very harsh conditions, starting with the small fact that almost the entire world population believes that her head on a stake is a good idea...
- Sakura in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, and side-characters Tomoyo and Emeraude.
- Martian Successor Nadesico spent a whole episode late in the series establishing that Ruri was actually the princess of a cheap imitation (literally The Theme Park Version) of Switzerland. This episode was never referenced again, not even in Ruri's next Previously On narration in which she's too embarrassed to explain it. Also played with in the same episode, when she attempts to research the concept and hits a Magical Girl series with her first search. Her response is to narrow the parameters.
- Lord Genome, immortal ruler of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's pseudo-Empire, sired little human girls just for the sake of having a princess around. Lord Genome's princesses were born naturally from his relationships with girls hand-picked because of their special genetics. The result we see, Nia, hits this trope pretty damn hard in title, attitude, appearance, and usefulness. Except for the fact that she is hot-blooded like NOBODY's business.
- Guess who's a real princess in Mai-Otome? Not Mashiro, who is crowned queen in the third episode. Not even Nina, the real heir to Windbloom's throne (who never claims it). It's actually Mai, whose brother is the prince of Zipang — a fact often overlooked. And Mashiro is a subversion, not just because she's spoiled, but because everyone expects her to be responsible, and when she abuses her power, it never ends well.
- Sasami seems to embody this trope the most in the Tenchi Muyo! universes. Aeka also has her moments, but isn't quite as sweet.
- Dianeira in Heroic Age somewhat averts the trope. She's portrayed as pure and a borderline Messiah, but has a limited wardrobe, plot-relevant powers, and has had to do diplomacy and give people orders.
- There's a few of these in Slayers, with the most prominent being Princess Amelia, a princess of the influential kingdom of Saillune. She's rather klutzy and a bit overzealous and in over her head, but she's an amazing case of Modest Royalty - kind, a willing fighter, and always enjoying traveling with her friends. There's also her opposite, Princess Martina, and her long-lost sister, Princess Gracia, otherwise known as Lina's old traveling companion, Naga the Serpent.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Konoka is technically the princess of Japan, though obviously that doesn't mean very much these days. Still, her heritage combined with the fact that her father (who is from the non-royal line, by the way) is the head of the Kansai Magic Association means that she has a lot of money and influence.
- Arika, the princess of the kingdom of Ostia. She later becomes a Queen.
- Asuna is also revealed to be a princess.
- Flame of Recca has Yanagi, who Recca declares is his princess at the beginning of the series, and this becomes her nickname from then on. Later on in the manga, we learn that she's the reincarnation of a real princess named Sakura, who once knew Recca's father.
- Deconstructed in Rose of Versailles, as Marie Antoinette thinks this trope is how she should live, which adds a lot of Irony to the series. How much she did in actual history is a matter of debate, but let's put it this way: Marie Antoinette liked to go to the countryside. She thought it was lovely and idyllic. Problem: No one was particularly interested in disabusing her of this notion. So when she got there, it would be a sanitized version of the real thing; the cows were scrubbed, there wasn't a pat to be seen, chickens got fresh hay every hour on the hour (for pooping on, I mean), and such peasants as might have been lurking around were pretty clean and well-fed too. So when the news came that the peasants were revolting because they had no bread, it's almost a wonder that she didn't actually say a certain famous, if inaccurate, expression of her belief that the peasantry had access to sugary confections. Also note that this is one of the few series where the lead female, Oscar, is minor nobility.
- At least one of the female Spider Riders is royal, too.
- Go Lion (Voltron) had Princess Fala (Allura), ruler of the planet that Golion protected who'd later go on to pilot the Blue Lion when the original pilot was killed off (or Put on a Bus in Voltron).
- Princess Sapphire, the eponymous Princess Knight.
- Rather disturbing example in Yu-Gi-Oh!, in Kaiba's virtual reality video game there is a princess whose appearance is based on Mokuba. (Probably Kaiba lampshading Mokuba's Damsel in Distress tendencies.) Naturally, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series had a field day with this.
Yugi: Just what the hell are you anyway? Are you a boy or a girl?
Joey: Maybe it's a shemale. You know, like Bakura.
- Kuro in Kurokami is a princess.
- Kimi no Kakera, a manga by the same author as Saikano, subverts this trope, stomps on it, drags it through the mud, and shoots it. Icoro, the child princess in the story, has been reduced to little more than a servant to the people of the ruling Politik and Warmonger tribes after a political coup ended the monarchy and her parents disappeared. She bears backbreaking work, little food, and constant cruelty from everyone (including the talking stuffed animal that's supposed to be her companion) so that none of it will be forced on her little brother, the prince, who is also blind. The suffering common people that she meets later don't know about any of this, and on hearing she's princess, scorn her for the privilege they believe she enjoys. It's pretty much to the point that her being the princess is the root of all Icoro's problems.
- Guess who Esther Blanchett in Trinity Blood turns out to be in the end. Yes, you got it: the long-lost heiress to the Albion throne, of all places.
- Gratuitous princesses are taken to their logical extreme in Macross Frontier, where the writers don't let the fact that Princess Alto is neither nobility nor even female get in the way of making him the series's pretty little Rebellious Princess.
- In the first installment of Project A-Ko, C-ko is revealed to be an alien princess.
- Yotsuba&!: When Yotsuba first glimpses tomboy Miura's highrise apartment:
Yotsuba: Miura's house is huge! Are you a princess?!
Miura: Yes. I've been hiding it, but I'm actually a princess. Listen, don't tell anyone, OK? It's a secret.
- The title heroine of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a circus acrobat who performs under the stage name of "Princess Nadia", unaware that her Orphan's Plot Trinket identifies her as a genuine princess from a lost civilization. Subverted in that Nadia doesn't like being called "princess" because the word has bad associations for her.
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- The manga mostly avoids the trope, but does have one character — Mei Chang — who is a daughter of the Emperor of Xing. She's only rarely identified in-story as a princess, however, and almost never acts like one; she's too busy being Badass Adorable.
- In what can only be described as a subversion, there's also Olivier Mira Armstrong, whose mannerisms are about as un-princessy as you can get while still being a regal Lady of War. But in the manga, her men (the Briggs Bears) occasionally refer to her as "the Princess" as a sign of their love and respect.
- To Love-Ru has Lala, Momo and Nana Deviluke, all regularly identified by their titles. And Run Else Jewelria, whose status as a princess comes up less often because she's a less important character.
- Completely inverted in Digimon Adventure in the one episode when Mimi becomes a "princess" (though she's pretty much self-proclaimed). A bunch of Geckomon need her voice to wake up their lord, she seizes the opportunity to the fullest and milks the poor creatures for all they're worth. She becomes spoiled, betrays her friends and overall acts as a total bitch until a terrible nightmare makes her realize her wrongdoings. Notably that when she is reunited with the Geckomon later in the story (after some Character Development), she tells them to stop calling her "Princess".
- In Stitch!, one of Stitch's cousins, Checkers, could sit like a crown on people's heads and give the wearer the ability to hypnotize those around them into thinking they were a beautiful princess to be obeyed (although in the original American series, it just made those hypnotized see the wearer as royalty).
- Bodacious Space Pirates has Gruier and Grunhilde Serenity, seventh and eighth daughters of the Serenity royal family, respectively.
- From Nanatsu No Taizai, there are the three princesses of Liones. From eldest to youngest, Margaret, Veronica, and Elizabeth.
- One Piece has a collection, as well as having a number of princess-esque The Ojou characters (like Kaya or Conis), has had a series of straight-up Princesses as well, with Vivi of Alabasta, Shirahoshi of Fishman Island, and now Violet and Rebecca of Dressrosa. For some inexplicable reason, One Piece princesses (at least crown princesses, since Violet is the exception otherwise) are always 16 when they are introduced. Maybe Oda envisions a Princess Classic as a teenage girl?
- Shogi, commonly known as Japanese chess, is notably lacking in the queen piece that western chess features. However, one variant of the game features a piece called "the princess", which basically acts like a queen. This variant is called Okisaki — which means princess.
- Princess Lolly from Candy Land. Due to this trope, her mother Queen Frostina was demoted to princess, even though she is a wife, mother and presumably Regent of Candy Land in the absence of King Candy.
- The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has Princess Pikeru and Princess Curran, a pair of weak magicians that once they go through a "trial", become considerably stronger and their respective card effects double in power.
- Princess Diana of Themiscyra, a.k.a. Wonder Woman. The only thing she has in common with most on this list is the tiara (though she has been known to break out the dress for formal occasions).
- Princess Projectra (Vauxhall-Wynzorr) of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a fabulously rich illusion caster from the treasure-planet of Orando. (Until her homeworld was blown up.) Though, to be fair, the first incarnation of Princess Projectra did eventually become Queen Projectra.
- To drive the point home, when her husband was murdered by his archenemy, Projectra invoked royal right to execute him, and instead of using her powers to do so, she snapped his neck with her bare hands.
- Runaways: Although she has no royal blood at all, Princess Powerful would like to have a word with you.
- Princess Silvy of Illusitania in the Italian comic storyline Mickey Mouse and the World to Come.
- Princess Iolande of The Green Lantern Corps
- Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has Princess Sally. There's not much princess-y about her, so probably the only reason she got the title in the first place was this trope (though the comics eventually expanded on this backstory). She was princess of the kingdom before it was taken over by Robotnik so it actually makes sense that she's still princess. She won't become queen until they take back the land and she can be crowned.
In the comics, once they did take back the land, her parents were revealed to be alive, the powers that be tried to kill her off but got an Executive Veto, and an older brother popped up out of nowhere. Pretty strong evidence of a conspiracy to keep her a princess. And hilariously, it ended up causing problems down the line when her subjects decided they wanted democracy. It wasn't quite as big a mess as Civil War but it did end up with the leader of the revolution (Tails' father) in a swordfight with the current king (Sally's brother) until Sally came in and told them to act like adults.
- Princess Camille, who is Little Nemo's dream playmate.
- Aleta, wife of Prince Valiant, tends to be more of The High Queen type, despite being married to a prince. However, their daughters Karen and Valeta count as princesses. As would their daughter-in-law Maeve and granddaughter Ingrid.
- Princess Gwen from The Wizard of Id, who is often courted by Sir Rodney.
- A staple of many fairy tales, especially those by the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Madame d'Aulnoy.
- In The White Dove, the dove is really a kidnapped and transformed princess.
- In The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate, the beautiful daughter of the king is fated to marry the young man, a slave's son. She is so taken with him that when she realizes that he carries an order for his own execution, she changes it to one for their marriage.
- In Boots Who Made the Princess Say 'That's a Story!', the princess continually lies, and never declares that anyone else's story is a lie.
- In Soria Moria Castle, Halvor rescue three princesses, all beautiful.
- In The Fire-Bird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilissa, the Tsar will marry only the princess, though he's never met her.
- Averted in The Little Soldier, where the princess, Ludovine, is the main antagonist. She takes advantage of the protagonist, John, by breaking promises, using sleep-inducing gifts, and stealing money from him. John eventually rejects her and settles for an honest commoner.
- Averted with Princess Jody, the Big Bad of Super Milestone Wars.
- Princess Marissa Amber Flores Picard Gordon, heir to the Throne of Essex.
- Several princesses can be found in That Damn Mpreg, ranging from Rebecca Altman-Kaplan, who eventually abdicates her position in favor of her younger brother to Princess Surdani of the Inhuman Royal Family, who eventually becomes Queen due to one brother being insane and the other brother refusing to be exposed to the Terrigen Mists.
- Marina and Magalie, princesses of the Aequori mermaids and Sierra the Princess of Nadir in Keepers of the Elements.
- In Lost Boys, this trope arguably pulls double duty. Kairi is not only a Princess of Heart, like in canon, but adopted princess of Disney Castle. Since the Destiny Islands were destroyed before Radiant Garden fell, the charm Aqua gave her ended up taking her to King Mickey and Queen Minnie, and things went from there.
- In Equestria: A History Revealed, Celestia supposedly argues with Chrysalis on the virtues of being called a princess rather than a queen. Chrysalis quickly disagrees with this on a logical standpoint which leads to an argument.
- As a My Little Pony fic, covering the history of Equestria, many princesses also appear in the fic as well.
- Many Groj Band fans believe Laney, a Tomboy with a Girly Streak, is secretly a modernized fairy tale princess come to life.
Films — Animation
- Princess Snow White — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
- Cinderella — Cinderella (1950)
- Princess Aurora — Sleeping Beauty (1959)
- Princess Ariel — The Little Mermaid (1989)
- Belle — Beauty and the Beast (1991)
- Princess Jasmine — Aladdin (1992)
- Pocahontas — Pocahontas (1995)
- Mulan — Mulan (1998)
- Tiana — The Princess and the Frog (2009): Notably, the first one to be created after "Disney Princess" became an official franchise. Her friend Charlotte seems to be a spoof on this mindset.
- Princess Rapunzel — Tangled (2010)
- Princess Merida — Brave (2012): First Pixar character to be a "Disney Princess"
- Princess Anna — Frozen (2013)
- Queen Elsa — Frozen (2013): Elsa being the first "Disney Princess" to actually be a queen
- The reason the Disney Animated Canon is stuffed with princesses is actually because they draw so much on fairy tales... but as of the 1990s, they centered merchandising on the princess characters, and you know the rest. Actually, only some of the princess characters got in; those that had bit parts, were from unpopular movies, or just weren't as merchandisable were shoved in the back. And they've tried a few times to add non-royals into the line, despite Mulan, Esmeralda, and Alice definitely not being princesses, either to ease concerns that the classic pantheon wasn't dynamic and/or integrated enough (Mulan being the best Action Girl they could use, since they didn't have one) or to fill out various storybooks, music albums, etc. Pocahontas, another honorary member of the group, actually is, but might not have been considered "classic" when the line was introduced. (That, or her clothes aren't considered pretty enough.) Naturally, this was somewhat referenced in Kingdom Hearts, where those who qualified as "Princesses of Heart" just happened to be popular characters on both sides of the Pacific. Alice, a non-princess, was in fact added to the list, with the thin justification that she becomes a queen in the original books (and as foreshadowing that another seemingly normal character is also one). Ariel was in fact removed from the list for Kingdom Hearts, probably because, as a mermaid, she wouldn't be able to leave Atlantica to interact with the larger plot, but she gets to be an Action Girl Guest Star Party Member.
- Other commonly forgotten Disney princesses (or queens) include Eilonwy, Tiger Lily, Kidagakash (who inherits the throne in the denouement), Maid Marian (mentioned in the film to be King Richard's niece), and Nala (by marriage to Simba). If you stretch, you can also include Jane (queen of the jungle), Alice (who becomes a queen in the chess sense in Through the Looking Glass), and Megara (who originally was a daughter of King Chreon).
- Ironically, the Powers That Be at Disney have been downplaying the princess element of its films after theorizing that marketing The Princess and the Frog as a Princess movie turned away the male demographic. This is mainly limited to the films' marketing and not their actual content, however: Tangled upgrades Rapunzel from a commoner into a princess by birth, Wreck-It Ralph turns out to have an unexpected princess in Vanellope, although she decides that she'd rather be president, and Frozen gives a fairy tale that originally didn't have a single princess in it two princess characters (although one of them is quickly elevated to queen).
- Spoofed all over the place in the Princesse franchise, especially the third film. (The princesses from that got their own toy line, too, but this seems to be a further parody rather than hypocrisy.)
- The Swan Princess - Odette actually is a princess in the original ballet and the film adds the Disney Princess touches to her, giving her a beautiful singing voice, becoming a Friend to All Living Things etc. She manages to become a Queen at the end of the film and remains one in the sequels.
- The Flight of Dragons has Princess Melisande, the Happily Adopted foster daughter of the wizard Carolinus. Her being a princess has nothing to do with the story, and probably the only reason she is one at all is so that the hero can win the heart of a princess like in any proper fairy tale.
- Rainbow Brite: Averted here, with one of the very few actively evil princesses. Has a lot of the standard traits (wealth and sovereignty, for starters), but she looks like a punk rocker, acts like a five-year-old and is after a Cosmic Keystone whose absence will send the universe into an endless winter.
- In Rugrats Go Wild! Angelica decides that she will become the island's princess. This time the babies have learned their lesson and ignore her but she ends up passing herself off as Princess Angelatiki to Debbie Thornberry. One must wonder why Debbie doesn't question that the island princess is white and speaks perfect English.
- Similarly in Rugrats in Paris a stage play in Reptarland has a princess as a main character. After seeing it, Chuckie wishes for the princess to be his new mother. Coco La Bouche attempts to exploit this when she hears about it and Chuckie admits that all he wants is a mother who loves him.
- Anastasia - while the real Anastasia was royalty, she is recognised as "Grand Duchess" rather than princess. But the film frequently refers to her as a princess just to avoid confusion. In a twist, she also gives up the title and chooses to elope with Dimitri.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars
- Let's start with Princess Leia. The plot of the series could have been exactly the same were she not a princess (the princess of a planet that is brutally destroyed in the first movie!), and yet she is. It doesn't hurt that she is proof that Authority Equals Asskicking... when Luke comes with Han and Chewie to break her out of jail, she takes charge of her own rescue and gets them safely out of the prison block.
- Padmé from the prequel series was a queen, though, and only that in the first movie. Weirdly, Padmé is specifically an elected queen, even though she's barely in her teens. One wonders what the other candidates must have been like. This seems to be common practice on Naboo; Episode III featured an even younger Queen, and according to the EU most Naboo politicians retire at 20, though both Padmé and Palpatine defied this trend. Well, we do get the impression the planet's supposed to be too idealistic for its own good. The EU also gave Padmé a Princess title in her past; she was Princess of Theed (and governing the place at the age of 12!) before she was elected Queen.
In the Expanded Universe, they explain this as Naboo colonists coming from another world, which had (and continues to have) a hereditary monarchy. While the Naboo gave up the government structure, they kept the traditional titles for head of state and other positions despite their elected nature. Reminiscent of the fact that one of the proposed and rejected titles for the first president of America was "His Elected Majesty".
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there's:
- Jedi Princess Kendalina
- Warrior Princess Plourr, X-Wing Pilot
- One-armed Jedi Princess (later Queen) Tenel Ka
- In the movie Stardust all the princes (save one) are evil, but their sister the princess is as sweet as can be. The book avoided this. She wasn't exactly evil, but growing up surrounded by vindictive princes and later a vindictive witch made her very shrewd and cold-hearted. In both versions, she is the hero's mother. Possibly justified in that the princes were expected to kill each other off until there was only one left to inherit the throne. Since girls couldn't rule the kingdom, there was no reason for the princess to be involved in such scheming. Yvaine also bypasses princess and goes straight to Queen when she marries Tristan.
- Bill & Ted have a time machine in which they can bag any historical babe they wanted. No points in guessing who they pick.
- The makers of DOA: Dead or Alive probably thought of this trope when they made Kasumi a ninja princess.
- A Kid in King Arthur's Court took out Guinevere and gave the widowed King Arthur two daughters, Princess Katey and Princess Sarah.
- The Disney Channel movie Princess Protection Program gives princesses… well, their own protection program should they find themselves in danger. Presumably this trope is the reason why princes are not mentioned as getting the same privileges.
- Neytiri from Avatar. Did she really need to be The Chief's Daughter? (To be fair, her place as the successor to the tribe's shaman gave her statement that there had been a sign from Eywa considerable weight, but still.)
- The Princess in The Thief of Bagdad — she's just "the Princess".
- Princess Tamina in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, who is apparently the princess of a city: one comment by her suggests that for some reason, each woman who guards the time-reversing dagger is called a princess. The movie seems to imply that her city is an independent principality. As such the title of the city’s monarch would be princess, especially if only women ascend to the throne.
- Altogether subverted by MirrorMask: The Dark Princess is the Evil Counterpart of the main character, who is an ordinary circus girl.
- In the So Bad, It's Good children's adventure film Quest Of The Delta Knights, it's revealed that serving wench/implied prostitute Thena is actually the long-lost Princess Athena of a neighboring kingdom.
- Subverted in Snow White: A Tale of Terror. The protagonist Liliana is not a princess but merely the daughter of a nobleman. Notably when she hides with the miners, they mockingly call her princess because of her attitude. Eventually calling her "little princess" morphs into a term of endearment for all of them.
- The Jack Black film Gulliver's Travels certainly has a princess as a prominent character though she's part of the Beta Couple rather than the main protagonist's love interest.
- In Van Helsing Anna's father is referred to as "King of the Gypsies" which would make her a princess too. The blurb on the back of the DVD case calls her a 'Gypsy Princess'. Though the only time she's explicitly called that in the film is by Aleera in a rather mocking tone.
- Although not to the extent of the books (mentioned below), The Princess Diaries combats this trope a little. Mia discovers she is a princess at age 15 and hates the idea. Her friend Lily also lists reasons why she shouldn't choose to become one. A big plot of the movie is how frequently a princess is in the public eye - and Mia has one of her worst moments being caught by the paparazzi. Ultimately though she chooses to accept the job and her situation has improved by the sequel.
- Elizabeth has people refer to Elizabeth Tudor as "Princess Elizabeth" before she is crowned Queen. In reality she was disinherited at age 3 and was only referred to as "Lady Elizabeth".
- A Brother's Price. Has not one, two, or three, but ten princesses. They indeed make everything better, by being Royals Who Actually Do Something.
- A Little Princess. To clarify, Sara Crewe considers herself to be a princess and looks to various royal women in history as role models. Though her attitude isn't because of her money (she's actually Spoiled Sweet), she considers herself to be a princess because she acts grand and dignified, and would never do something vulgar. In one film adaptation, she makes a big speech about how all girls are princesses.
- Averted in Ella Enchanted. She marries a Prince, yet specifically requests not to be a Princess.
- Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain: The chatty redhead who gets protagonist Taran out of a scrape (and proceeds to irritate him for the rest of the book) in The Book of Three turns out to be "Eilonwy daughter of Angharad daughter of Regat of the Royal House of Llyr." She's the last surviving member of a royal, magic-wielding bloodline. The complications of her ancestry form the plot of the third book in the series. Justified, somewhat, in that Prydain is based on ancient Wales, which did have a number of sub-kingdoms united under the rule of a single High King. So finding a stray princess wandering around Prydain was less contrived than it might be in another fictional country. Taran was pretty startled by the revelation, though. He was still getting used to the idea of royalty not always looking (or acting) how he imagined. (There's also the fact that they'd spent most of the book together, and he didn't find out she was a princess until literally the last page because Eilonwy never thought it was important enough to mention.)
- From Edgar Rice Burroughs's works: A Princess of Mars. Thuvia, Maid of Mars. Tara in Chessmen of Mars. Valla Dia in The Master Mind of Mars. And many others. Not always evident at first.
- Averted with the ruthless, patricidal/fratricidal Idaan Machi in The Long Price Quartet.
- The Princess Diaries seems to embrace this, so say the pretty covers and The Film of the Book. Actually, the books go into a lot of politics and how "I Just Want to Be Normal" is not such an odd complaint if you happen to become a princess. The protagonist's grandmother especially is used to dash the princess dream; besides the ridiculous self-preserving measures she uses on the titular princess, dear old Grandmere also refuses to let her ex-daughter-in-law invite her own friends to her own wedding, feeling embarrassed by them, and instead invites the likes of Martha Stewart and Coco Chanel. Mia's Soapbox Sadie friend is used in contrast to say that the monarchy is outdated and its glamour far too overrated.
- Several feature in The Runelords, most prominently Iome Sylvarresta and Erin Connal.
- In the eleventh book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, spoilt brat Carmelita Spats dresses up as a "tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian."
- You want a princess? There's, like, hundreds of princesses in War and Peace. There aren't even that many princes. Justified because in Imperial Russia, the title could (and usually did) mean the top rank of non-royal nobility. There were princ(ess)es of Imperial blood, who were actually related to the Tsar, and there were the noble-but-not-royal kind. Royal princesses were usually titled Grand Duchess rather than Princess, the implication of the title being that they ranked higher than a regular princess. Since other princesses were non-royal, this was accurate. Grand Duchesses were the direct relatives of the Emperor. Indirect ones were titled prince(ss)es of imperial blood.note
- Interestingly enough, while The Lord of the Rings features royally-connected ladies like Galadriel, Arwen, and Éowyn, the title "princess" is never actually used, though "prince" is.
- Land of Oz series: Oz's Princess Ozma and Princess Dorothy.
- Averted in The Wheel of Time. Elayne is the daughter of a queen and presumptive heir to the throne of Andor, but though the word "princess" appears exactly once, referenced as an archaic title that had long ago fallen out of use, "Daughter-heir" is used with the same frequency and arrogance.
- In the third Book of Swords, Mark rescues a young woman from a cage in Vilkata's camp. No, he was not sent to rescue her nor did he have any idea who she was. Both are seriously wounded, but thanks to The Power of Love (quite literally by summoning Aphrodite) they both survive. And inexplicably, the woman turns out to be the Princess, though she is the top Royal and is obviously in charge, of the lands Mark was sent to. Though neither of them knew it until her people cheer her.
- Princess Marjorie Bruce from Girl in a Cage. She, of course, is the girl in the cage
- Averted in The War Gods series. Although the main character is technically a prince, he's way way down the list to inherit the throne and Word of God states he won't be king. Further he's the son of a king, but the king was chosen from all the tribal chiefs of their people. It gets further complicated with many different cultures and a rash of history that leaves the king of as least one good size country using the title of baron due to the historical king being long dead and no noble above king surviving the Godamerung. So far most of the women saved in the series tend to be lower class being abused by evil royals. And the badass female warriors all have lower class backgrounds.
- Averted in The Council Wars by none of the good guys having true royals. The government is a republic modeled off Rome.
- Subverted in the book Summer Knight of The Dresden Files, where the Big Bad turns out to be Aurora, the effectively-princess of the usually-nicer half of The Fair Folk.
- Princess Irene, the title princess of George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie.
While the princess stared bewildered, with her head just inside the door, the old lady lifted hers, and said, in a sweet, but old and rather shaky voice, which mingled very pleasantly with the continued hum of her wheel:
"Come in, my dear; come in. I am glad to see you."
That the princess was a real princess you might see now quite plainly; for she didn't hang on to the handle of the door, and stare without moving, as I have known some do who ought to have been princesses but were only rather vulgar little girls. She did as she was told, stepped inside the door at once, and shut it gently behind her.
- Princess Saralinda in James Thurber's The 13 Clocks.
- Quite literal in The Phantom Tollbooth, with the Princesses of Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason, of the Kingdom of Wisdom. They are apparently high enough in authority that their brothers King Azaz and the Mathemagician, rulers of their own respective countries, appeal to them when there's a dispute... and once they're banished, Wisdom goes to Hell in a handbasket. It's only after they're rescued in The Quest that the Kingdom becomes sane again... everything is, in fact, better with them in charge.
- In Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell at Sealey Head, sometimes Emma opens a door and meets up with the Princess Ysabo; they talk, but Emma never dares go into the room for fear the door won't open for her.
- Forgotten Realms: Liriel Baenre. Of course her kingdom is evil, so she's fleeing it.
- The Belgariad has, of course, Princess Ce'nedra. The same author also has Princess Danae, who's really the Child Goddess Aphrael in the Sparhawk novels.
- Ranger's Apprentice has Princess Cassandra, who eventually becomes a Rebellious Princess Action Girl.
- Brandon Sanderson seems to like princesses. Elantris has Sarene of Teod, a highly competent politician and diplomat (and part-time Action Girl). In Warbreaker we have Siri, a happy-go-lucky free spirit who gets forced into a marriage with someone everyone thinks is an A God Am I Evil Overlord. The truth is rather more complex. Her older sister Vivenna is highly intelligent and poised but has her illusions about the moral superiority of herself and her nation pretty much torn up during the course of the book though she becomes a better person for it, gaining sympathy for the lower classes she never had before. They have a middle sister too, a member of the national religious order who doesn't do a whole lot to advance the plot.
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- Averted when the two Pevensie girls, Susan and Lucy, become Queens of Narnia in the first book, bypassing Princess altogether.
- We get two quasi-princesses in The Horse and His Boy. Aravis and Lasaraleen are daughters of high ranking officials in Calormen, so they're not technically princesses (their title is "Tarkheena" - female equivalent to "Tarkhan") though Lasaraleen indeed acts like a stereotypical princess. Aravis eventually marries the heir to the throne of Archenland, making her a princess in the classic sense and presumably eventually a Queen.
- In Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (maybe) when the children are telling their individual stories, both Gerard and Beverley add princesses into theirs. Gerard admits his would work without a princess and says she could just be an heiress or some woman of property. Beverley's story serves to subvert Standard Hero Reward so including a princess was definitely intentional with her.
- Definitely The Faerie Path series by Frewin Jones, where seven main characters are princesses.
- Another aversion comes from Mary deMorgan's ''The Necklace of Princess Fioremonde" about an evil princess who traps her suitors' spirits in the beads of her necklace.
- The Honor Harrington series has its fair share of princesses.
- The first member of the Manticorian Royal Family adopted by a treecat was Princess Adrienne, later Queen Adrienne I of Manticore.
- Princess Ruth (the stepdaughter of Queen Elizabeth III's brother Prince Michael) was the first member of the Royal Family to become a spy.
- Lieutenant Abigail Hearns of the Grayson Space Navy is, in all practical terms, a princess, although her actual title as the daughter of a Steadholder is the far less assuming Miss Owens.
- The book The Shadow of Saganami centers on a ship whose officers included Miss Owens and Midshipman Helen Zilwicki, the stepsister of Queen Berry of Torch (Helen's dad adopted Berry before she was royalty). Their captain observes with a bit of humor that they appear to have a surplus of princesses embarked on this mission.
- Averted in the Safehold series by David Weber. The lead female character is beautiful, headstrong, and most importantly, spunky, but she's an actual queen.
- Miriamele in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is the Rebellious Princess version, fleeing the Arranged Marriage her Jerk Ass father attempts to force upon her and becoming part of the desperate struggle against the Storm King's power. She's not bad in a fight, being the archer, and plays a significant role in the redemption of the monk, Cadrach. True to the trope, she's also The Hero Simon's Love Interest and becomes his queen after his Moses in the Bullrushes reveal.
- Invoked in Seven Ancient Wonders, when the heroes are given cutesy nicknames by a 5-year-old girl. Naturally, she calls her "Princess". Heavily inverted in the sequels, when they meet a real princess.
- In The Princess Series, the three main characters are the princesses Cinderella, Aurora and Snow White. Also in the second book they fight against Princess Lirea (Ariel the little mermaid).
- Buttercup, in The Princess Bride, was a commoner elevated to the status of Princess to be able to wed Crown Prince Humperdink. She proved a quick study in expressing the Royal attitude.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Black Colossus", Yasmela.
- There has been a recent trend in religious books geared towards young girls (toddlers to teens) to remind them that they're "God's Special Princess!" Boys are not told they are princes. They are "God's Mighty Warrior!" Make of that what you will.
- Cheerfully played with in the novel The Ordinary Princess. The title character is the youngest child of a king and queen whose daughters are all named for jewels; she is Amethyst. When her fairy godmother gives her the gift of being ordinary, she becomes perfectly plain-looking and prefers to go by the name of Amy.
- Miya Black, Pirate Princess isn't JUST a pirate.
- In Cry of the Icemark, Thirrin starts as a princess, interestingly, we first encounter her out hunting. She does go on to be a warrior queen so your mileage may vary.
- The warlord Manzai from Chorus Skating evidently believed this in-universe, as he collected princesses abducted from neighboring countries. The party that freed his collectibles found this trope subverted when their five rescued charges prove to be quite a handfull.
- Presumably in a parody of the many stories featuring a princess as a Damsel in Distress kidnapped by some sort of monster, the Mediochre Q Seth Series mentions that dragons like to collect beautiful virgin princesses, along with gold and shiny things. Of course, nowadays most monarchies have long-since disbanded, but it appears that no-one has told the dragons this: the dragon Deep Ocean in the first book has a kidnapped French girl with no idea that she's technically the first in line to some non-existent throne somewhere.
- In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs series, the Princess derives her superpowers from the collective notion of "princess" as held by the little girls of the world.
- The whole purpose of the series of children's books The tiara club
- Tara Duncan exaggerate this trope with all female prominent characters being princesses more or less officially; Tara is an heiress of the imperial category (along with her long-lost sister)while her friends Sparrow and Fafnir are respectively non-heiress princess and The Chief's Daughter. The female dragon Charm is later revealed being a princess too.
- The Apprentice Rogue: Deconstructed. This story shows what a real life princess could expect; cloistered to preserve her chastity and then married off for political alliance without her input.
- The Pennykettles from The Last Dragon Chronicles are all dragon royalty descendants. Technicalities. What can ya do?
- The Rainbow Magic series have the Princess Fairies.
- In The Underland Chronicles, the crawlers refer to Boots as "the princess", and she spends almost all of Gregor and the Marks of Secret in a princess costume.
- Christina Von Eerie, seen working with AAA, SHIMMER, WSU and other promotions, uses the Red Baroness, "The Punk Princess."
- In the Wrestlicious promotion, there were two characters - Maui the Hawaiian Island Princess and Autumn Frost the Ice Princess - presumably because their characters wouldn't be complete without the title.
- Misaki Ohata, seen in Pro Wrestling Zero 1, Michinoku Pro Wrestling and SHIMMER, among many others, is the Princess of Submissions.
- Aida features one secret princess as the slave of another princess.
- Princess Winifred the Woebegone from Once Upon a Mattress (see the page quote) can swim the moat, scale the castle walls, lift weights, arm wrestle, drink you under the table, sing like a sousaphone, and dance everyone in the palace to exhaustion ... but just one little pea can ruin her evening.
- In the Broadway adaptation of The Little Mermaid, Eric decides to hold a singing contest in an attempt to find the woman whose voice he fell in love with, which is doomed to failure because that woman is Ariel, who sold her voice. The contestants are, according to Grimsby, "Every princess in the kingdom", which begs the question of, if they're princesses, why Eric isn't related to them or at least already familiar with who they are.
- Disney believes firmly in the truth of this trope, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. They even have the "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique", in which little girls who are visiting the theme parks can get a "princess makeover" that includes tasteful makeup, getting their hair done, and dressing up in a gown themed after their favorite Disney Princess.
Little boys who want to dress up as the heroic princes (who, if one remembers, were also a part of the action that made the Disney princesses famous) were, to coin a phrase, "shit out of luck" for many years. The stylists didn't offer any treatment for them, because (as one ten-year-old boy was overheard saying, outside of the Magic Kingdom's "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique", "Disney doesn't care about little boys. They only like little girls.") The Boutique eventually did start trying to attract both genders by offering a knight-themed makeover for boys.
- Barbie plays a princess in some of her movies. Plus some of the dolls are named as though she is a princess, like the "Winter Princess" line.
- Ever After High has a number of princesses running around, with two official princesses in the initial lineup (Apple, successor to Snow White, and Briar, successor to Sleeping Beauty). Raven and Ashlynn should technically be princesses, but are not treated as such, because of Ashlynn's Rags to Riches narrative and the nature of Raven's deposed mother. Even in-universe, the school believes that "everything's better with princesses"; only princesses (and possibly princes) can be on the Legacy Day planning committee, they staff the student council exclusively until Maddie decides she'll run for president, and they get first pick of the classes. Raven mentions that it's rare that she's allowed to take music, her favourite class, since it usually only goes to princesses (unless, presumably, your fairy tale requires you to take it).
- All the Generation 3 My Little Ponies are princesses. Something Positive isn't entirely sure how that works. The Direct-to-Video special The Princess Promenade reveals that making everyone a princess was just a way for Wysteria to get out of being the (rather arbitrarily chosen) princess herself.
- The game "Pretty Pretty Princess".
- The Princess is a class in the Sega RPG 7th Dragon. It appears to be exactly equivalent to the bard-type class in similar games, supporting the other units in the party.
- In A Witchs Tale, every land except for Queen Alice's is ruled by a Princess.
- There's Princess Olivia Von Roselia in Battle Fantasia, who is very much what you would expect out of a princess, kind-hearted and putting her kingdom above all else! Although she does cross the Rebellious Princess line a few times, as she does leave the castle, without her father's permission in order to solve the mystery of a bad omen, as well as consistently denying to return to the castle after being asked by one of her father's best friends, the Bunny Wizard, Watson. Also, considering it's a fighting game, she doesn't seem to mind solving some disputes with violence, despite her kind personality, and she does it well too.
- Monica in Dark Chronicle is a princess. Considering that the first thing we see her do is chopping up Emperor Griffin's men, we can tell she's far from helpless.
- Dark Souls has not one, not two, but three different princesses. Rhea of Thorolund is the princess of The Theocracy. Dusk of Oolacile is the last of her kind after her kingdom was destroyed an untold number of years ago. Princess Gwynevere is the daughter of Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight and ruler of the world.
- Disgaea gives us demon princess Rozalin in the second game and human princess Sapphire Rhodonite in the third. Of course, Rhodonite has a (not unfounded) reputation as an unflinching berserker while Rozalin has a bloody history as Xenon, the "God of All Overlords".
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, the game is about Disney Princesses, your character turns out to be the lost princess, and the villain, Zara, is an ex-princess.
- Eternal Sonata has Princess Serenade, who is said to be a princess of Forte, even though the region is ruled by a count.
- The third Etrian Odyssey game has Princesses as one of the playable classes. While Princes exist, Japanese preview media focuses on the Princess as the "default" of that class, featuring her prominently in most advertisements and throwing in her male counterpart almost as an afterthought.
- Need an excuse for over-the-top bloody cartoon violence? Rescue the Fat Princess.
- Final Fantasy
- Final Fantasy I has Princess Sarah, not to be confused with Final Fantasy III's Princess Sara. And in Final Fantasy II, there is the original Princess-slash-La Résistance leader, Princess Hilda.
- Final Fantasy IV has King Giott of the Dwarves and his daughter, Princess Luca (and her terrifying doll collection).
- Final Fantasy V has three: Lenna, Krile, and Faris, who is Lenna's long lost older sister. By about the halfway point of the game, they constitute three quarters of the playable characters, making Final Fantasy V probably the most princess-heavy installment of the series.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, Rinoa leads La Résistance, and the others refer to her as a "princess." She's later revealed to be the daughter of a high-ranking member of the occupying country's government.
- Final Fantasy IX has Garnet/Dagger, who has a Heroic BSOD around the same time she's crowned queen. Also add that to the fact that she's revealed she wasn't born into the royal family. She washed up in Alexandria and happened to look a bit like the deceased princess.
- There's an in-universe example. The popular play "I Want To Be Your Canary" features only one female character. She is of course a princess.
- Final Fantasy XII's Princess Ashe is a Deconstruction. She's the leader of La Résistance, all right, but can hardly be said to have it easy. She's stuck in a surprisingly realistic depiction of the burdens of a real leader, and is the one who has to make all the hard choices.
- Final Fantasy Tactics also heavily deconstructs this trope with Princess Ovelia, who, in addition to not actually being the real Ovelia, spends much of the game being kidnapped, narrowly avoiding assassination, and being used as a political tool by pretty much every major power in Ivalice. And things only gets worse in the ending. It's safe to say that Ovelia's life as a princess is a thoroughly miserable one.
- Also subverted in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life As A Dark Lord, in which the playable princess is a dark, um, lady.
- Both averted and played straight in the Fire Emblem series. Put briefly, the series loves its royalty, especially princes and princesses who actually do something.
- Guinevere in Fire Emblem 6, who becomes a Rebellious Princess and joins Roy in his quest to stop her embittered and disenchanted older brother, King Zephiel.
- Fire Emblem 8 has three princesses. One of the main characters, Eirika, is a Lady of War Princess and swordwoman from Renais. Her best friend, the Pegasus Knight Tana, is the princess of Frelia. And another friend of hers, L'Arachel, is the princess of Rausten.
- Elincia is only a princess in Fire Emblem 9; in Fire Emblem 10, she's The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, and is crowned at the end of the game. She's surprisingly competent at it given her mostly passive role in Path of Radiance. Sanaki, on the other hand, is both the legitimate empress and the false apostle of Begnion.
- Fire Emblem 1 features a veritable cavalcade of Princesses working in Marth's army, including his sister Elice, the princesses of Macedonia Minerva and Maria, the princess of the Divine Dragons Tiki, and Caeda, Princess of Talys. The third game subverts this with Princess Nyna, while its side game, Gaiden, gives us Celica, who turns out to be the long-lost princess of Zofia.
- Awakening once again gives us a slew of princesses; there's Emmeryn and Lissa, who are Chrom's older and younger sisters, respectively, and there is his future daughter, Lucina. If he marries Sumia or Sully, their daughters, Cynthia and Kjelle, will also be princesses. Finally, the Big Bad Validar becomes the king of the Theocracy of Plegia during the game, so this would technically mean that the Avatar, if female, would be a princess as well. Finally, we get Say'ri, the sword-wielding princess of Chon'sin.
- Hyper Princess Pitch stars a princess, who's also a demigod apparently. Rather then concern herself with affairs of state, her only goal in life seems to be bringing an end to Christmas and causing gratuitous explosions.
- Infinite Space has Princess Glorinda and Katida. Glorinda borders on Lady of War given her capabilities as a fleet admiral, and having her as a crew member will increase the damage done by your fighters. Katida, on the other hand, is a more classic example of this trope, most notably for filling the role of Damsel in Distress and has shades of Royal Brat. She can ultimately subvert this trope if you don't recruit her, which gives FAR worse impact for the storyline.
- Jables's Adventure features what we can only assume is a parody of the standard "rescue the princess" plot. Specifically, the princess isn't even mentioned until the game is almost over. Then, after you defeat the final boss, said princess shows up out of nowhere.
Jables: If we've found a jet pack, then we're probably nearing the end of the game.
Squiddy: Oh, I guess you're right.
Squiddy: On the bright side, you'll get to meet the princess soon.
Jables: I didn't know there was a princess.
Squiddy: Neither did I...
- Kingdom Hearts have the "Princesses of Hearts", Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Alice and Kairi, six young women who have a heart of pure light. Despite the use of the word "princess" being royalty is not a qualification. Later games in the series explain that they're called princesses because their power can be harnessed to "reign over all worlds".
- King's Quest IV: The Perils Of Rosella : One of the oldest video game examples (and Action Girl to boot!) is Princess Rosella of Daventry!
- Mega Man Battle Network has Princess Pride who deliberately averts this trope, as she is working for Gospel. She gets redeemed later though.
- In Mitsumete Knight, Princess Priscilla Dolphan fits the bill. She's a Princess Incognito Genki Girl who longs for a life as a normal commoner girl, and is only Wearing The Queenly Mask in important receptions for pleasing her beloved father. She of course sports a lot of Princess Tropes (and nicely subverts or plays with some of them, see her entry in the game's Character Sheet), and is a Nintendo Hard character to get the ending of, due to being a Princess.
- Kitana from Mortal Kombat.
- Princess Kumatora in Mother 3. Both straight and subverted - the only reason she's a "princess" is because some people decided that everything's better with them.
- All of the female PCs in Odin Sphere are princesses, although none of them are useless. The only one who actually resembled this trope is Mercedes, who grows out of it and takes a level in badass after she becomes queen.
- Ogre Battle takes this trope literally: a Princess is one of the (if not the absolute) best soldiers in the game, mostly for the fact that every soldier in a unit led by a Princess gets an extra attack. The Princess herself has a powerful, hit everyone, white magic attack, which is also subject to getting an extra by the previous ability.
- The original Phantasy Star actually has Alis Landale, who spends the game traipsing around the world in a pink dress with her adorable Musk Cat friend, and doesn't find out she's actually the rightful princess of Algol.. and then immediately subverts it, because her father's been dead for ages, rightfully and explicitly making her a queen (if she wants the throne, anyway).
- Phantasy Star III has a lineage system, where each chapter ends with the option for the hero to marry one of two potential brides, and the next chapter centers on their offspring. The final chapter includes a character named Kara, who is one of the few female characters to join the party without actually being a princess, but because there are two potential versions of her depending on the player's marriage choices, the delicate, more-feminine one with healing techniques is still referred to as "Princess Kara" by the fanbase.
- In Robopon, there's Princess Darcy in the first game and Princess Juliet in the second game.
- Invoked as part of the game's Fairytale Motif in Rule of Rose, as the ruling rank in the Red Crayon Aristocrats is the Princess of the Red Rose, who is supposed to fulfill all the stereotypical princess-tropes. Since the Aristocrats are a Deadly Decadent Court consisting solely of young girls, she doesn't quite hold up to them, even if she wasn't an inanimate china doll or appeared to be one, in any case. There's also the game's insistence of calling every single female character save for the protagonist a Princess in the narration.
- Princess Satera from Shining Wisdom. Not only does she get kidnapped she also gets turned into a swan!
- Twin princesses Teri and Tina in Snow Brothers, whose kisses cause the snow to melt from the heroes.
- Sonic 2006
- Subverted with Princess Elise, who decidedly did not make things better. Even those who did like the game had some inconvenience with it.
- Blaze, though she's more the Defrosting Ice Queen type, and also one of the few new characters not hated by the fanbase. It might also be because she was originally shown to be a queen, rather than a princess, and that she debuted in Sonic Rush.
- Hildegard "Hilde" Von Krone of the Soul Series. Her main outfit consists of a full suit of armor rather than anything vaguely Princess like (though her alternate outfit is a dress, but it's Not pink) and duel wields a spear and sword in battle. She's not actually stated to be a princess directly however, rather she's said to be the Daughter of the King of Wolfkrone, who has been driven mad by the Evil Seed, and has since been leading the kingdom in his stead. Her alternate outfit pieces are listed as "Princess ___" however hinting this is her title even if she is acting ruler.
- Compiling a list of all the princesses in the Suikoden series would take some time, and comparing them would take fair longer. Consider, though, Lady of War Chrodechild; the young, innocent, and feisty Lymselia; and the archer Flare, who stands directly between those extremes in terms of personality (and combat efficacy).
- Super Mario Bros.
- Princess Peach is always a princess, even when she's the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. Some adaptations add on a father, but he's mysteriously absent otherwise.
- There's also Princess Daisy. She was kidnapped by Tatanga in Super Mario Land for Game Boy, so she actually has her own kingdom. It's called Sarasaland. Unlike Peach though, Daisy is a Tomboy Princess.
- Rosalina plays with this. While she shares the princess design of Peach and Daisy, she's never referred to by any kind of royal title, and her characterization and role fall squarely on that of The High Queen.
- Inverted by Princess Shroob of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, an Evil Counterpart to Peach who is the Big Bad of the game.
- Taken to extremes with Princess Shine in Super Robot Wars. She's not only a ruling princess of the nation of Riksent, but the rest of the world is one nation! It's handwaved by saying that Riksent is a special area, but why don't we see any other leaders except for the President of the Federation?
- There's Catiua in Tactics Ogre. Not only is Princess one of the best classes in the game, she gets three unique classes, more than any other character.
- There's also Estelle from Tales of Vesperia, who meets Yuri and follows him on an adventure in order to warn Flynn about danger. Oh, and also to discover a world outside of the royal palace.
- The Legend of Zelda
- Princess Zelda seems to suffer similar Parental Abandonment. Although, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past he was somehow removed by Agahnim and "recovered" during the ending sequence. In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time he was just off camera in the scene where Link and Zelda spy on Ganondorf during their first meeting; god knows what happened to him after that.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess plays with this.
- While Zelda retains the title of princess through the story, it's only because Zant's invasion occurred right before her coronation ceremony. Weren't for him, she would have been formally known as Queen Zelda, which explains why Zant goes to her to get the surrender.
- The titular Twilight Princess is apparently the absolute albeit recently deposed ruler of the Twilight Realm. Of interest is the fact that Midna was apparently elected by the people to serve as the Princess, instead of Zant. A democratic monarchy. Note that while "Princess" is not the correct title for the female ruler of a kingdom, it is correct for the female ruler of a principality.
- Something similar applies to The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: Zelda is not the queen, because she's just a child yet and therefore actually only second-in-command to her Minister, Cole. It's unclear if she became Queen by the end of the game or if a new Minister was named, due to the original one being killed in the final battle, along with Malladus.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, she's the only known survivor of the royal line, although her ancient ancestor, the antediluvian King of Hyrule, is still alive. Not that this makes much difference, since when he dies and leaves her the throne, he takes all of Hyrule with him!
- An aversion actually occurs with Zelda's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (the very first game in the series on a chronological sense) incarnation, who is not a princess or royalty, but still an important figure in the story. Makes sense, seeing as the Kingdom of Hyrule doesn't exist yet.
- Subverted in The Witcher. Princess Adda is evil, power hungry, and spoiled. She tries to kill her father and usurp his throne, murder the hero to cover it up and at the end of the day she gets away with it all because of her social standing. She also started her life as a stillborn infant that was turned into a flesh eating monster and still has some leftover personality traits from that time including a taste for raw meat and an aggressive sexual appetite.
- The Touhou series, having an Improbably Female Cast and Loads and Loads of Characters, naturally includes a number of princesses, including Yuyuko (princess of the spirit world), Kaguya (former princess of the moon), the Watatsuki sisters (current princesses of the moon), and Shinmyoumaru (princess of the inchlings). A couple of other characters may also qualify: fanon has it that Alice may be the daughter of the God Queen of the demon realm, for instance. However, only the Watatsuki sisters really behave in anything even remotely resembling a princessly manner; Kaguya, despite being a gracious hostess, is more of a sheltered Ojou; Yuyuko is, depending on who you ask, either The Ditz or one Obfuscating Magnificent Bitch, and Shinmyoumaru's princess-ness is so downplayed that you wouldn't know she even was a princess if it wasn't stated outright. From the long-forgotten PC-98 era there is also Kotohime, but she thinks she's a cop.
- Valkyria Chronicles has Princess Cordelia, a figurehead ruler who has passed off responsibility for her nation to the regent Evil Chancellor. Her parents, strangely enough, were an Archduke and Duchess: both positions outrank a princess (and, somehow, the Duchess isn't an Archduchess, so their marriage must've been morganatic). Furthermore, Gallia maintains a Royal Guard, which should only apply in a kingdom, not a principality.
- Princess Yggdra from Yggdra Union is an interesting example. Her parents the king and queen were recently killed in the invasion of her country, and as she's on the run, she doesn't have anyone to coronate her properly. Until midway through the game, where she does become queen. And the accompanying class change makes her much more kickass.
- Feena Fam Earthlight from Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na is a princess, despite the fact that matriarchal monarchy seems to be an unlikely government type for a country that was founded by humans who had colonized the moon. Royal politics do come into play later in the story, however.
- While Pokémon doesn't have traditional princesses, There is the mythical Pokemon Diancie, a Rock and Fairy type that has a dress and hair made out of diamonds and is able to produce diamonds instantly. Although it has been referred to as such a princess, it's technically genderless despite its very feminine appearance.
- The title character of Tsukihime (literally "Moon Princess"), Arcueid Brunstud, is the princess of the True Ancestor vampires. Though she follows hardly any of the usual tropes, her title actually makes an odd amount of sense, since she was created by the nobility and had extremely limited freedom and a particular defined purpose in life (well...to hunt down and kill fallen True Ancestors, that is). Of course, Princess is still her formal title, despite being possibly the last (and certainly the last royal) True Ancestor still alive (having killed the other ones herself). Her title of Princess (and more importantly, Brunstud) comes from the fact that she's the closest thing the True Ancestors were able to make to a clone of their progenitor, Crimson Moon Brunstead, the Type spirit of the Moon, and that her ability to summon Castle Brunstud is proof that one day Type Moon will revive in her body. Unless her pseudo little sister Altrouge Brunstud, who can also summon Castle Brunstud, does it first.
- Justified in Decades of Darkness, since the first part is in the time when royal marriages were real diplomacy.
- Though she is technically a chief or queen, Boudicca is referred to as a Warrior Princess.
- Prinsesstĺrta (PRIN-sess-TOHR-tuh), otherwise known as Swedish Princess Cake, was originally called Grön Tĺrta (Green Cake) when it appeared in Prinsessornas Kokboks in 1948. It is said that the three young princesses loved the cake so much it was named after them.