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->''"Even though the king and queen are totally dead, she still technically calls herself 'Princess'. \\
How does that work? If you're the ruler of a nation, you're a fucking queen."''
-->-- '''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic''', reviewing ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCatTheMovie''

As it says in EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses, occasionally in fiction, a princess is shown to be the absolute ruler of a realm, despite the fact that, logically, that would make her [[TheHighQueen a queen]]. There could be [[JustifiedTrope a few reasons]] ''why'' she hasn't been crowned queen, such as the realm is explicitly a principality, they are waiting until the princess comes of age (although historically this doesn't usually happen), or the princess is only acting ruler, as regent for an incapacitated monarch, or she's ruling a feudal fiefdom granted by and subordinate to her parents (who are still the reigning monarchs overall). However, in fiction-land, this set-up doesn't usually even get a hand-wave. The ruler just is a princess for [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses some inexplicable reason]]. Likely done to avoid associations with [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen evil queens]], as pretty young girls are less likely to be evil than older women. (It tends to be a popular trope in works by and for little girls still in their {{Princess Phase}}s.)

Notably, the word princess (and its spear counterpart, prince) is derived from the Latin word "princeps", which means "first citizen". It was one of the titles of the Roman Emperor. Some real life countries--mostly small nations such as Andorra and Monaco--continue to refer to their leaders as "Prince" in this context. This is what we call a ''principality'', as opposed to a ''king''dom.

[[AC:Note:]] Queens (consort) who are the wives of regnant kings might be referred to as princesses. That does not fit this trope. Nor does [[UsefulNotes/ElizabethI a queen referring to herself]] as [[SheIsTheKing a prince]]. Only a princess ruling as a princess counts.

Contrast GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Compare PoliticallyActivePrincess.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'': Princess Cagalli might count, though she prefers a different title, and she both averts and plays it straight in the series. Neither changes the fact that she's a princess and the highest official in her nation.
* Princess Adina (Mokuba's virtual OppositeSexClone), ruler of Simlow in the virtual world in ''Anime/YuGiOh''
* In ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld'', Princess Rune Venus and Fatora seem to be the co-rulers of Roshtaria (though it's uncertain how much political power Fatora holds).
* In ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'', the Pillar of Cephiro is named Princess Emeraude. Curiously, her younger brother is Prince Ferio. So there may be something else in addition to being Pillar, like a royal family with titles.
* Cornelia and Euphemia of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' both reign as Viceroys of Area 11 on behalf of their father, the Emperor, and it's shown that they're given pretty broad authority to rule as they see fit. [[spoiler:In the second series, Nunally also briefly becomes one, at least until Lelouch's rebellion finally succeeds. And averted in the finale, as Nunally is elevated to the rank of Empress [[FridgeLogic despite being near the bottom of the line of succession]]. Considering her brother Lelouch usurped the throne and became Emperor and died without any heirs, that would make her next in the line of succession.]]
* In ''Manga/SaintSeiya'', Polaris Hilda in the Asgard saga is called princess in many foreign dubs, although she's an orphan and the official monarch of Asgard.
* ''Manga/SailorMoon'':
** In the manga, the Inner and Outer Senshi are revealed to have been the princesses (and also appear to be the main rulers) of their respective planets. This is somewhat offset, and possibly explained, by the fact that they are subordinate to Princess Serenity.
** Prince Endymion is a possible male example, since he appeared to be the main ruler of the Earth during the Silver Millennium. To make it even weirder, he eventually does become King of the Earth in the 30th century, with Neo-Queen Serenity, where he is implied to be a glorified consort.
* Princess Allura from ''Anime/{{Voltron}}''.
* Downplayed in ''Manga/DanceInTheVampireBund'', as while Mina Tepes has officially been [[VampireMonarch queen of the vampires]] for [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld centuries]] she is popularly referred to as 'Princess Mina' in large part due to her [[UndeadChild physical age]] after she kicks the Masquerade over.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Plourr Illo of the ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'' is revealed to be the [[KingIncognito last, lost princess]] of her homeworld, the rest of her family being dead. At the end of ''Warrior Princess'' she is acclaimed as Empress Apparent-Heir--but in later comics she's called Princess or Princess of the Realm.
* An unusual male example, the ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' villain the Joker has declared himself "The Clown ''Prince'' of Crime" but is the leader of his gang, which should make him "The Clown ''King'' of Crime" but then he'd lose the pun.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* This is discussed in ''Fanfic/BadFutureCrusaders'' when Twitch, one of Lightning Dust's wingponies in the R.E.A.F., can't understand why Princess [[AccidentalMisnaming "Celestial"]] went by Princess instead of Queen.
-->'''Twitch:''' So what about Princess Celestial? She was top dog, so why weren't she a queen? Ain't that how it works? I mean, it's king or queen, then prince or princess, then uh... baron, I think...\\
'''Crimson Sky:''' You think too much about the wrong things, Twitch.
* ''Fanfic/TheBridge'', a crossover between ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' and ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'', pokes fun at the former's constant use of this trope. While dimensional transplant Xenilla is able to wrap his head around Celestia and Luna both being princesses via the justification of them being co-rulers, he simply can't understand why Cadance is still called ''Princess'' even when she's ruling the Crystal ''Empire'', asking why she isn't an "Empress". And hilariously, when he points this out, no-one is able to explain it to him; it seems it never crossed their minds as being odd. Doesn't stop him from constantly referring to Cadance as "Empress Cadenza" under the justification of "just because you guys got it wrong doesn't mean I have to."\\\
It's later zig-zagged as a JustifiedTrope since it appears this is a recent development in Equestrian history. When Celestia banished Nightmare Moon she actually ''was'' offered the title of "Queen", but turned it down as not to appear unapproachable by a populace that was scared of her power. The implication is 1,000 years of great leadership by Celestia caused "Princess" to be the de-facto highest royal title for a female ruler.
* In ''Fanfic/EquestriaAHistoryRevealed'', after [[spoiler: [[ItsALongStory Chrysalis is born as a dark Celestia clone as the result of baking gone wrong]]]], she questions why Celestia calls herself a princess when she's the only one ruling. Celestia says its because the title of princess brings up the image of youth and beauty. Chrysalis interrupts and says that's stupid, and chooses to call herself a queen, leading to an argument between the two.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' fanfic ''Fanfic/BookFiveLegends'' pokes fun at this trope with CloudCuckoolander Princess Koko (implied to be a descendant of King Bumi from Aang's era). She downright [[InsistentTerminology ''insists'']] on being addressed as a Princess despite ostensibly being a Queen, and a figurehead of a Queen who answers to a Minister anyway. She's equally insistent on this title being used with [[TheChiefsDaughter Korra]], despite her Avatar title generally superseding mere mortal titles.
* It's implied in ''Fanfic/RainbowDoubleDashsLunaverse'' that Luna and Celestia used to use the title of Princess because they were co-rulers. Especially since when Celestia went off the deep end and became Corona, she insisted on being referred to as a Queen. Presumably Luna refrained from claiming the title of Queen after her sister's defeat to avoid the traumatic associations the title had picked up for Equestria's ponies.
* In ''Fanfic/TheElementsOfHarmonyAndTheSaviorOfWorlds'', Celestia and Luna say that the reason they're princesses instead of queens is because princesses are closer to their people than queens. Though Celestia later admits that in reality, they view themselves as regents holding the throne until Queen Majesty's true heir eventual comes forth. There are hints that Twilight Sparkle may be the one they're waiting on, but there's been no confirmation on that one way or another yet.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Princess Oriana in ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCatTheMovie'' rules the kingdom which is also named Oriana.
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' appears to intentionally invoke this trope with the world of the Sugar Rush game being ruled by [[spoiler:Princess Vanellope]]. It doesn't last long, though, as [[spoiler:she decides she would rather be president instead.]]
* A RareMaleExample may be Prince Eric of ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''. His parents are never shown, but he's still called Prince. In the musical, it's actually stated that he's still a Prince because he was out sailing when his father died and just hasn't been crowned King, but in the movie, he's a ruling prince for no stated reason. Unless his nation is a principality, in which case "Prince" would be the highest possible rank.
* Subverted with [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter Unikitty]], princess of CloudCuckooland from ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie''. While she is the host for travellers to her country, she also states that it doesn't actually have any government or even rules.
** However, in the cartoon that [[WesternAnimation/{{Unikitty}} stars Unikitty]], it is played straight. She is the ruling head of the Unikingdom, doing duties for her people (as much as it bores her).
* In ''WesternAnimation/MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers'', Minnie is cast in the role of Princess Minnie. Despite this, she's pretty much queen in every other aspect.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbieAndTheSecretDoor'', this is played with, as BigBad Princess Malucia only rules the kingdom while her parents are away.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbiePrincessCharmSchool'', the land of Gardenia is a kingdom, as late monarch Isabella [[spoiler:(Blair's biological mother)]] was called a queen. Still, her niece Delancy is supposed to sit on the throne while being called a princess.[[spoiler:When finally Blair is crowned instead of her, she is referred to as a princess rather than a queen by everyone, certainly to fit the movie's title.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The Princess of Alamut from the ''Film/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'' film.
* In ''Film/TheLastAirbender'' the voiceover explicitly states that the Northern Water Tribe is ruled by a princess because her father was killed. In the [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender original series]] her father, Chief Arnook, was alive and ruling himself.
* In ''Film/{{Cinderella|2015}}'', this is implied to be the case with Princess Chelina, as Zaragoza was historically a principality and the fact that her parents are never mentioned. This could suggest that she is directly involved in her engagement to Kit, and that it is her way of being Queen.

* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'', the ruling system is quite complicated. For one, there are several queens, all sisters. Their princess daughters take over some of the rulership tasks. Ruling is something like a family business in which everyone takes part.
* ''Literature/LandOfOz'':
** Princess Ozma from the ''Oz'' books. ''Literature/TheMarvelousLandOfOz'' calls her a Queen when she takes the throne at the end, but from then on, she is always "Princess Ozma". There's no consistent title for the ruler of Oz, so this could actually mean that she's a princess as a ''fairy'' rather than a princess of ''Oz''. We don't see enough of other fairies to be sure.
** DoubleSubverted later on in ''The Lost King of Oz'' by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Pastora, Ozma's father and the rightful King of Oz, who was declared to be long dead in ''Literature/TheMarvelousLandOfOz'', is discovered still alive. Once he returns to Oz, though, he is quite willing to let his daughter continue ruling.
** Princess Langwidere from ''Ozma of Oz'' is a justified example, as she is only acting ruler until the return of the Royal Family.
* Subverted in the ''Literature/DorothyMustDie'' re-imagining of Oz, by Creator/DaniellePaige. Princess Dorothy now rules Oz, and has made it a thoroughly CrapsackWorld.
* Princess Jenna from the ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'' series. She will, however, become queen. When the Time is Right.
* [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' when Elayne effectively rules Caemlyn (the capital city) for several months as Daughter-Heir (the term princess exists, but is considered old-fashioned). This happens because there's a conflict over who should be Queen.
* Gender-flipped with the lands of Emerald and Corisande in the ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' series. The countries are ruled by their princes, however they are also specifically referred to as ''Prince''doms, not kingdoms.
* Princess Desmia in ''Palace of Mirrors,'' although she is a mere figurehead. By the end of the book, the kingdom is ruled by [[spoiler:a council of ''thirteen'' princesses, all of whom have equal right to rule.]]
* For some never explained reason the monarch of the Fomalhaut system in Edmund Hamilton's ''Literature/TheStarKings'' is 'Princess' Lianna.
* ''Literature/TheBlackCompany'': In the later books, the FantasyCounterPartCulture version of India is ruled by a prince. (At some point in the distant past, it was part of a now-defunct much larger empire.)
* The Princes of Gwyneth (a Wales [[FantasyCounterpartCulture expy]]) in ''Literature/TalesOfTheBranionRealm'' are commonly female due to GenderIsNoObject and SheIsTheKing. For part of the series Gwyneth is independent and has eight Princes at any one time.
* The Rhoynar, including the ruling family of Dorne, are late additions to Westeros in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' compared to the Andals and the First Men, and continue to style their rulers "Princes" after the fashion of their original homeland in Essos. They were allowed to continue this tradition, as well as that of absolute primogeniture (the eldest child inherits regardless of gender) upon joining the Seven Kingdoms by marriage. It is therefore entirely possible, and presumably even common, in Dorne for a princess to rule in her own right. The most recent one was the mother of the current Prince Doran. His own heir is his daughter Arianne, who sometimes rules for her father when he's away from the palace, which is quite often in recent years.
* Princess Glisselda becomes acting monarch and regent in ''{{Literature/Seraphina}}'' after her grandmother becomes incapacitated.
* ''Literature/FirstSwordChronicles'': after the death of her brother the Emperor, Princess Romana ascends to the throne; however, as she wishes to reinstate the faith of the [[GodEmperor Divine Empress]], Romana rules only as Princess Imperial, mortal steward of the Empress' will.
* In the ''Literature/LafayetteOLeary'' series, when Princess Adoreanne ascends to the throne of Artesia, she remains a princess for reasons which are never explained, but presumably have something to do with the fact that she's still young and beautiful and [[RuleOfFunny subject to various]] common [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses "princess" tropes]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* This would seem to be the case with Princess Mithian from ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}''. She arrives in Camelot for an ArrangedMarriage to Myth/KingArthur, with no sign or mention of either parent. When Arthur breaks off the engagement because he's still in love with Guinevere, he gives her full rights to the lands that were in dispute between their kingdoms, at which point Mithian says: "I would give up ''my own'' kingdom to be so loved." Presumably, she's the ruler of her own kingdom, but is still referred to as a princess. When she returns to the show in Series 5, her background is expanded on and it's revealed that she had a father the whole time. However, the example still stands, as when she first appeared the writers had no plans to bring her back again, nor gave any indication of her parentage. For that one episode at least, she was a straight example of this trope.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': Snow White and Prince Charming are the rulers of their kingdom but are not referred to as king and queen.

* The male variation of this trope is featured in ''Emilia Galotti'' by [[UsefulNotes/DichterAndDenker Gotthold Ephraim Lessing]]. The antagonist, Prince Hettore Gonzaga is the king and regent of Guastalla in all but the title. Lessing probably did that to avert any obvious parallels to the regents of ''his'' time (the piece, albeit set in renaissance Italy, was a warily subtle commentary on the corrupted politics of the then-contemporary 18th century [[UsefulNotes/AllTheLittleGermanies German states]]).

* Riliane in [[Music/{{Mothy}} Mothy's]] [[Franchise/EvilliousChronicles Story of Evil]] series is queen of her country but chooses to be called Princess, out of respect for her late mother. She's not [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen a particularly ''good'' ruler]], though.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* A male example: TheDevil is often referred to as the "Prince of Darkness".
* Inverted male example. Belshazzar, referred to as the King of Babylon in Literature/TheBible book of Daniel, even though he was never officially enthroned as king (a separate ancient text called ''Nabonidus Chronicle'' called him "the crown prince") and was only serving as a temporary ruler while his father, King Nabonidus, was away. As such, Belshazzar was only able to offer the position of "third ruler in the kingdom" to the person who can give interpretation to the handwriting to the wall, because he's not actually the highest authority figure and would not have been able to give "the second highest authority in the land", as was the case with [[Literature/BookOfGenesis Joseph and the Pharaoh]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** Princess Peach in many of the games. [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1 The original game's]] English-language instruction manual referred to her as the daughter of the Mushroom King, but [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse the games never mention him again after that]].
** There are also the Shroobs from ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', who have a Princess Shroob but no King Shroob or Queen Shroob. [[spoiler:She even has an older sister who is ''also'' a princess rather than queen.]]
** Prince Dreambert of ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' is a male example. He is shown to be the leader of the Pi'illos, yet his domain is called the Pi'illo Kingdom, not the Pi'illo Principality.
** The Sprixie Kingdom from ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'' is ruled by the seven Sprixie Princesses. No king, no queen.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' goes all over the place with this:
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'', [[AllThereInTheManual supplementary material]] say that Princess Zelda was about to be crowned queen before everything started going to hell; the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' manual also refers to her as "queen", for what it is worth. In contrast, [[spoiler:Midna, the titular "Twilight Princess" herself,]] seems to have been a straight example before she was overthrown by [[spoiler:Zant]].
** While the Princess Zelda of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'' is technically the ruling monarch, it's implied that she's not old enough to be crowned queen yet, with Hyrule functioning under a regency instead.
** Princess Zelda in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'' is portrayed as the ruler of her kingdom, and the same thing applies to her [[DarkWorld Lorulean]] counterpart Princess Hilda.
** Princess Zelda actually outright averts this in several games:
*** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link to the Past]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda Ocarina of Time]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap The Minish Cap]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild Breath of the Wild]]'', her father is the one on the throne when the BigBad rears its ugly head.
*** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'' is a peculiar example, as there she's just [[spoiler:the descendant of an earlier Princess Zelda and what ''would'' be her kingdom is frozen in time beneath the seas. She doesn't actually become any sort of monarch until after ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass Phantom Hourglass]]'']].
*** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'' also deserves mention, as Zelda in that game is a normal girl attending school with Link. Although she is the headmaster's daughter, there is no royalty to speak of in Skyloft.
** In a few games, like ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'', it's left vague whether Zelda or one of her parents is the reigning monarch.
** ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'' plays it straight with numerous returning princesses. While Zelda is treated as TheHighQueen and developer interviews even call her "queenly", she is still only called a "princess" in-game.
* Princess Gutrune of ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey III: The Drowned City''. In her case, it's stated by locals that the Senatus is seen as holding all the ''real'' power, particularly Senator Flowdia, while Gutrune is seen as a pretty figurehead.
* The hierarchy of the Aristocrat Club in ''VideoGame/RuleOfRose'' ends in the Rose Princess, which is justified considering that these are young girls playing a long-winded game--obviously Princess sounds better to them than a Queen.
* [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' with Princess (and later ''Crown'' Princess) [[spoiler:Melia Antiqua]]. Turns out that even after [[spoiler:her father died]], she wants to become a [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething royal who actually does something]][[labelnote:note]] Not that her father wasn't one already...[[/labelnote]] by [[spoiler:joining Shulk's party]] (she's got her duties covered [[spoiler:via substitute]]); even though, as the Crown Princess, she should be the next ruler of the High Entia. This puts her duties taken temporarily by her brother who, in turn, averts this trope himself by becoming the regent of the High Entia and not the prince.
* Due to her father's insanity, Hilde is this for her nation in ''VideoGame/SoulCalibur IV''. She's technically regent, however, not the monarch.
* Imperial Princess Arlier, the leader of the Tiamat race in ''VideoGame/KnightsInTheNightmare''.
* Discussed in ''VideoGame/YggdraUnion''. Princess Yggdra is the de facto leader of her nation throughout the game, as her parents were both killed in battle with Gulcasa before the narrative actually begins. In all the excitement of getting her throne back (and then rescuing her from the aftereffects of a momentary IdiotBall catch), there just hasn't been time for her to be crowned, and when this is brought up even Yggdra herself is rather nonplussed about it. She officially becomes Queen a little bit later, but personally refuses to accept the title until the war is over--probably for the same inexplicable reasons listed above.
* ''Videogame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'': Soleanna is a duchy, and Princess Elise's father is referred to as the Duke of Soleanna. Elise, despite being the ruling monarch, is referred to as Duchess precisely once. [[DubInducedPlothole In the Japanese dialogue]].
* Until the ending [[EverythingTryingToKillYou (if you live that long)]] Elodie of ''[[VisualNovel/LongLiveTheQueen Long Live The Queen]]'' is titled Crown Princess, as she isn't quite old enough to legally take the throne. Since it's only a few months and everyone knows she ''will'' be Queen very shortly, most of the time it makes no difference.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', where the children of Little Lamplight reject the reign of Angela, who proclaims herself a princess after being elected mayor and is removed after only five minutes.
* In both timelines of ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'', Queen Protea is deposed one way or another, but Eruca continues calling herself Princess. Justified, as there's bigger issues preventing her having time to be crowned, [[spoiler:and Stocke being being her older brother Ernst makes her claim to the throne unclear for a while]].
* ''VideoGame/MonumentValley'' has Princess Ida, leader of the bird people.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/BoundAdventures'' takes place in the kingdom of Boundaria, where a Duchess schemed to become queen. Despite that, the land's current ruler is called Princess Irina.
* Webcomic/PrincessPi rules the kingdom of Piscataway, keeping her princess title even though her late mother, Queen Isosceles, did not. Pi's BigBad, Princess Ip of America, refers to herself as a princess despite actually ruling as a dictator.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Explained and excused in ''WebOriginal/DeviantartExtendedUniverse''. The land they inhabit is intentionally made a principality so the newly appointed Princess Emerald of Gem World does not have to give up her title. Later becomes a ''co-principality'' when her sidekick, [=Antisapien=] the Christian Dinosaur is appointed as prince. His role is more of a mayor than a prince, being a direct surveyor of the land and how the people are working on DA-Land.
* {{Discussed|Trope}} by WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic in [[http://channelawesome.com/nostalgia-critic-editorial-whats-with-the-princess-hate/ this editorial about princesses in media]], noting that he was ignorant of this trope for years until having an epiphany while watching a film adaptation of ''Literature/BridgeToTerabithia'' (which he later reviewed).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** Princess Bubblegum rules over her kingdom. {{Justified}} as Princess Bubblegum did not inherit her title from a king- she is an EmperorScientist who [[CreatingLife literally created]] her kingdom and all her subjects, and chose the title "Princess" herself.
*** Interestingly, a tie-in comic about time travel shows her as "Queen Bubblegum" in the future. What exactly causes this change of title is uncertain.
** Most of the other princesses seem to be this way, too (as we see a huge gathering of them discussing political matters). Lumpy Space Princess seems to be an [[AvertedTrope aversion]], though, since we actually see her parents.
** Things get complicated with [[spoiler:Flame Princess, who deposed her father and seized the throne herself. She officially now uses the title [[SheIsTheKing Flame King]], but is still referred to as Flame Princess by characters outside the kingdom and the show's credits.]]
** A self-styled King of Ooo has appeared in the show, but he acts more like a cult leader and petty confidence trickster than a monarch, and most of those who accept his authority are overtly naive individuals. During his reign over the Candy Kingdom, he designated himself Princess King of Ooo.
* Princess Starglo from ''Franchise/CareBears: Share Bear Shines'' is described as "the mother of all stars," yet is only a princess [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses for some reason]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', all [[WingedUnicorn Alicorns]] are given the title of "Princess" and assigned different areas to govern: Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are the rulers of Equestria (also an ExaggeratedTrope since their power is close to that of deities, moving the sun and moon each day and night), while Princess Cadance retains her title when she becomes ruler of the Crystal Empire, which was once overseen by her ancestor, Princess Amore[[note]]once referred to in-show as [[TheHighQueen a queen]], making for the series' first (if brief) aversion)[[/note]]. The show makes an InUniverse explanation that the "Princess" title isn't exclusively passed down from a bloodline, but is handed out based on talent and worthiness. Still, WordOfGod says the decision to use the title in the first place is due to ExecutiveMeddling dictating that little girls think princesses are good but [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen queens are evil]].
* Princess Berrykin from ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures''.
* {{Justified}} in ''WesternAnimation/DaveTheBarbarian'': Candy has been put in charge of Udrogoth until her parents come back from destroying ''all the evil in the world.'' (It's taking a while.)
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/CaptainNTheGameMaster''. Princess Lana is the only ruler in Videoland, but her father is still alive, he's just trapped in another dimension.
* Similarly, Princess Sally from the ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' series would be ruler if Robotnik hadn't taken over. Instead, she leads the resistance movement.
* ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'': Prince Uncouthma of Odiferous rules his people and there's no mention of a King or a Queen.
* Graciella the fairy princess in ''WesternAnimation/BarbieAFairySecret''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Gawayn}}'', Princess Gwendolyn is portrayed as the rightful ruler of her kingdom. Her parents have never even been seen or mentioned.
* The first episode of ''WesternAnimation/ElenaOfAvalor'' explains that the title character can't become queen until she comes of age according to the laws of their nation. As such she is crown princess with a council to help her rule until then.
* Princess Allura of ''WesternAnimation/VoltronLegendaryDefender'' is much the same as her ''Voltron'' counterpart, save for one little fact-- most of her kingdom (as she knew it) has been dead for thousands of years. She is still ruler and does have definite subjects to rule over at present, but it seems like she kept her princess title out of respect for the late king her father.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This was historically a perfectly accurate description of the title "prince". It was often just used as a general term referring to a ruler (i.e. Machiavelli's ''Literature/ThePrince''), and did not specify their actual rank or even their system of government. Any ruling individual was a "Prince". Given that female rulers are far more common nowadays (and were tentatively accepted in certain cases in other societies), that means that there are many "Princesses" who rule today, from Queens Regnant to female Presidents or Prime Ministers (although the male/gender neutral term "Prince" might be ''technically'' more appropriate). This concept can easily explain female ruling princesses seen in this trope, at least the historical fictional examples.
* There are actual principalities amongst some of the smaller states of Europe (such as Monaco and Lichtenstein) whose head of state is referred to (or translated as, in Lichtenstein's case) as "Prince", instead of another title like "King", so it would be reasonable that any woman inheriting the position would, if possible, be referred to as "Princess".