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Politically-Active Princess

The Politically-Active Princess is a princess that takes active interest in and plays an active role in politics. Naive courtiers and commoners alike might view her only as a figurehead, but in truth, she discreetly uses her position and guiles in order to achieve her ends. Skilled in diplomacy, she will usually attempt to solve conflicts via conversation or bargaining, rather than combat. Her defining trait is her involvement in politics or diplomatic matters, without letting herself serve only as a bargaining chip. That, however, does not mean she cannot be a Lady of War or a Badass Princess at the same time.

Although historically neither princes nor princesses were expected to involve themselves in such matters, in fiction, this trope is Always Female, as male royals are typically expected to act, while females... not so much.

A Sub-Trope of Royals Who Actually Do Something.

A Sister Trope to Princesses Rule.

Compare Rebellious Princess, Spirited Young Lady, Silk Hiding Steel, Badass Princess.

Contrast Princess Classic.

Examples:

Animated Film
  • In Brave King Fergus and the Scottish lords on the verge of war when Princess Merida brings the four factions back together and declares that one should choose who he marries according to his heart. Her suitors agree, stating that their arranged marriage was their fathers' idea. Thus, the clan leader agree that their sons must win Merida's heart before winning her hand.
  • In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Rose Wilson gives off this vibe, though she's actually The President's Daughter. This is somewhat awkward for her father, since specifically she speaks out against his policy of appeasing the Crime Syndicate.

Anime and Manga
  • Code Geass:
    • Actual Pacifist Euphemia li Britannia offers her own way to solve the problem with the Japanese peacefully. Lelouch even says she has won everything in a single move. At least until Lelouch's permanently active Geass forces her to go on a massacre...
    • Princess Cornelia is very active in both politics and the military, though her personality is closer to The Baroness than a typical princess.
    • In R2 blind and crippled Nunnally gets involved in Schneizel and Lelouch's games, despite the best efforts of her "advisor" to keep her just as a figurehead.
  • Princess Henrietta from The Familiar of Zero is very active politically. For example, at one point she hires Saito and Loise to spy on a village to confirm her suspicions about corruption within the nobility, because she doesn't trust the usual sources. However, it appears that not only is Princess Henrietta the heir to the throne, when her father dies, she really has been running the country, as her mother "did not have the heart to continue to rule Tristain after her loss".
  • The Gundam franchise is fond of this kind of character:
    • Kycilia Zabi of Mobile Suit Gundam is the franchise's first example acting as a political and military leader, and eventually seizing control of the Principality from her brother Gihren after discovering that he murdered their father.
    • Audrey Burne (aka Mineva Lao Zabi) of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn who wants to reform the Zeon remnants.
    • Relena Peacecraft from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing serves this role after undergoing some character development. She is a pacifist, but that does not stop her from using her political clout to try to stop the war.
    • Lacus Clyne and Cagalli Yula Atha from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny are the political face and muscle of the Three Ships' Alliance and Terminal. Lacus wages a propaganda war against Patrick Zala and then Gilbert Durandal, while Cagalli leads the nation of Orb as president and commander-in-chief. While Lacus isn't a literal princess (PLANT is not a monarchy), as the daughter of the nation's beloved founder she gets treated like one by the people. Cagalli on the other hand is an actual princess, and though the United Emirates of Orb is a constitutional monarchy it has no problem with someone simultaneously being the reigning monarch, the elected president, and the top general of their military. By the age of 18.
    • Marina Ismail from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, although she's not very good at it, generally being labeled a weaker-willed version of Relena. While phrased as a compliment, her closest adviser tells her outright that she's far better at charitable work and being a good will ambassador than she is at politics and ruling.
  • Princess Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun from the Slayers series, when not out adventuring with the rest of the gang, often acts as Seyruun's envoy to other kingdoms.
  • The role opf Tawananna from Anatolia Story is a mix of this, Hot Consort and The High Queen. It also drives the plot since the main character, Yuri Suzuki, decides to raise in power and become this to counter the plans of the current Tawananna, Queen Nakia, who actually murdered the former one (Kail's mother Henti) to get her place.

Comic Books
  • Princess Diana of Themiscyra, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, is her country's ambassador to "man's world". The nature of superhero comics, however, leads to there being far more focus on punching supervillains in the face than on political activity.
  • In Xanadu: The unicorn Empress Alicia is notorious for her ribald antics, but she also has a keen political savvy as well, whether it is making sure that a politically ambitious colonel is no threat to her throne, or subtly dismantling her land's unjust caste system in a way that will be permanent.
  • After retaking the throne, Plourr Illo of the X-Wing Series is considered Empress Heir-Apparent and basically the ruler of her world, though she takes time off now and then to fly missions with her old fighter squadron. She is shown here and there handling the difficult nobility.

Fanfiction

Live-Action Film

  • Princess Leia Organa from Star Wars is a senator (until Palpatine disbands the Senate) and then an important member of the Rebellion. In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, she goes onto become one of the Alliance's top diplomatic leaders before eventually becoming President of Outer Space.

Literature

  • Expected, in A Brother's Price, largely because males who survive birth are so rare in that world. Of course the princesses, taking over from the retiring queens, are expected to take a very active role in governing Queensland.
  • In Deryni:
    • Araxie Haldane is clearly this, particularly in the period just prior to her marriage to Kelson in King Kelson's Bride. When presented with a plan to evacuate the family to the safety of Rhemuth, her mother and sister raise many objections over the incomplete wedding preparations, and Araxie steps in to get them to cooperate. She later makes a diplomatic suggestion to resolve Kelson's difficulties with his prospective Ramsay in-laws (for which she gets a relationship-changing kiss from Kelson), and leads the negotiating team to convince Rothana to take the scola position Kelson offered.
    • Morag Furstana is sister to King Wencit, but cannot rule under Torenthi laws and traditions. Even so, she serves as a regent for two of her sons in succession, and she is depicted as an equal participant in the family deliberations. Later still, Liam asks her opinion on what to do with Teymuraz directly after the failed coup d'etat.
  • Sarene from Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. By age twenty-five, she's been serving for a long while as an (apparently highly-ranked) member of her father's diplomatic corps, and both she and others note her appreciation for (and skill at) political games.
  • In the Firebird Trilogy, Princess Phoena Angelo of Netaia is very politically active. After the Federacy takes over Netaia, she heads the resistance group and spearheads research into a biological Weapon of Mass Destruction capable of wiping out an entire planet, which she intends to use to threaten the Federacy into withdrawing. She contrasts with her Princess Classic older sister, Carradee, and her Badass Princess younger sister, Firebird.
  • In the Montmaray Trilogy, Veronica is the driving force behind their campaign to get Montmaray back from the Nazis, gives a speech at the League of Nations that is applauded and wins unanimous votes for a condemnation of Germany's behaviour and ends up as one of the first women working as a diplomat at the British Foreign Office.
  • In The Royal Diaries none of the main characters are expected to participate in politics because they're all under age. Many of them will never be expected to be political since they're supposed to just be the wife or sister of the king. Those who defy expectations are Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile who stands up for her father and country, in Latin, to General Pompey the Great, Kristina: The Girl King, and 'Elisabeth: The Princess Bride''.
  • In The Seven Realms Series, Princess Raisa invokes this trope with the Briar Rose Ministry, a charity she founded and funds.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has many female nobles of different rank who are actively involved in the incredibly complex power games. Which ones actually count as princesses depends on who you ask, since various characters recognise different kings, but the ones who consider themselves princesses are Daenerys (who considers herself queen after her brother's death), Asha Greyjoy (once her father declares himself a king), and Arianne Martell (who is from a land where she can actually inherit from her father, the reigning prince, and rule as princess in her own right). This is not counting the various queens and noble ladies who are at least as active as their male counterparts.
  • Thayet jian Wilima, wife of King Jonathan in the Tortall Universe, is very patriotic and is willing to fight for her people and country. At one point she left a court function to respond to a call of the Queen's Riders.
  • Elayne in The Wheel of Time, although there is considerably more gender equality in that world's version of Medieval Stasis.
  • Princess Josetta of Elemental Blessings is an interesting example, almost a deconstruction. She's the king's eldest daughter and most likely heir, since he has no sons, so she was certainly raised to be this. The deconstruction comes from the fact that she loathes politics, and has no real talent for them.
  • Sister Fidelma, a religious sister of 7th-century Ireland, is sister to the King of Muman (Munster). Because of her detective skills, she often acts as his troubleshooter, since many of the series' mysteries have political implications.

Live Action TV
  • Princess Michelle Benjamin of Kings, who campaigns to get her father to pass a healthcare bill.
  • Merlin:
    • Lady Morgana (who is a princess in every other respect) spends the first season of the show constantly arguing with Uther about his treatment of those with magical abilities.
    • A central part of Guinevere's Character Arc involves her gradually integrating herself into the politics of Camelot, and proving herself incredibly good at it.

Video Games

  • Ashe of Final Fantasy XII tries to reclaim her kingdom by bargaining with The Empire and other factions for most of the game. Although she's a Badass Princess and would rather fight against the Archadian Empire, she slowly understands that to achieve peace, she needs to take the diplomatic route.
  • Princess Natalia from Tales of the Abyss, despite her initial brattiness, is very much one of these. Luke even refers to her as a "wannabe queen" at one point. She mainly uses her influence for the benefit of her people or engaging in international diplomacy, to the point where she's already almost universally considered a much better ruler than her father, the king. The people in fact, are so fond of her that they choose to protect her even after her lineage is revealed, even though she is not a real member of the royal family.

Web Comics

Real Life
  • In 1507, Catherine of Aragon, Princess of Spain and Dowager Princess of Wales, became the first European woman to act as ambassador to a foreign court. This didn't last very long—she married her second husband, Henry VIII, two years later. (She incidentally later became a Lady of War, and a good one too—it was she (with the Earl of Surrey) who led the English forces in the Battle of Flodden Field, a major victory for England over Scotland in their then-interminable feuding. Henry VIII, who hadn't had any successes at that scale, was a bit grouchy about that one.)
  • Princess Marie of Orleans (1860-1909), the daughter-in-law of King Christian IX of Denmark, is widely credited as the one who finally persuaded the old, conservative king to accept parliamentarism in Denmark and appoint a liberal Prime Minister in 1901.


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