Rebel Prince

King Francis: I will simply deny you the crown... ...and... live for ever!
Prince Henry: Good. Agreed. I don't want it.
Ever After

Charming or not, he's the spear counterpart to the Rebellious Princess; born to privilege as the Heir apparent of a kingdom, company, or some other sort of organization who does not want to assume whatever his princely responsibilities are. Always Male because kings and C.E.O.s tend to think only a son deserves the inheritance, and when it is the daughter, she always seems to want it passed on to her. The problem with a Rebellious Princess, on the other hand, is that she has the royal position but none of the inheritance that her brothers have. The Prince does not necessarily dislike government; in fact any aristocrat who opposes a hereditary government despite his position would qualify.

It might be justified by circumstances in the story, or he might straight up just not be born for his stuffy charmed life. Of course, just because he doesn't want his responsibilities, it doesn't mean that he won't take advantage of the privileges his lifestyle has to offer like an ungrateful teenager or Sheltered Aristocrat. Often, after he learns to accept his responsibilities he will end up becoming The Wise Prince.

Contrast Reluctant Ruler who's immediately ready to be the Wise Prince. Also contrast the Evil Prince who's rebelling against his father about who gets to be king, not because he doesn't want to be king. Being a Prince Charming who wants to marry for love instead of station isn't enough to qualify. Also, he can put himself in danger like a Warrior Prince or Knight in Shining Armor but still say he wants to be a good king. If he says that he doesn't want to be king, that's what makes him count. In each example, please state when he refused or wanted to refuse his inheritance.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Justified by Kaoru Hanabishi from Ai Yori Aoshi, who went from reluctant to rebellious. He was the eldest son of the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu and was set to take over the zaibatsu after his father retired. Yet Kaoru never felt at home in the Hanabishi family and left to live alone in self-imposed exile after his mother died. Not to mention, there's the physical and mental abuse that his tyrannical grandfather subjected him to...
  • Lelouch from Code Geass may count as this, but it's hard to tell since the writers play with this trope in every way possible. He definitely hates Britannia's Social Darwinism and initially wishes to destroy the empire he ends up taking over. In the end, he and his rival/best friend/frenemy learn to compromise for the sake of taking over and unifying the world.
    • Renouncing his entitlement to the throne like Lelouch did in the beginning is, in fact, the very thing every rebel prince wishes he would do.
    • In a slight degree, Suzaku may count as well, though his father was the Prime Minister rather than the King.
  • Nobu in Nana is the heir of his family's Ryokan (Japanese inn), but he'd rather throw it away to just play the guitar.
  • Macross Frontier's Alto Saotome, while not technically royalty, counts. The heir to a well known family of Kabuki actors, he instead went and pursued his dream of becoming a pilot.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, although not royalty, the Zeon pilot Char Aznable is the son of the Zeon Zum Deikun, the original leader of the Republic of Zeon and proponent of space colonist independence. Char considers the Zabis, Zeon's current rulers (who may have assassinated Deikun), a perversion of what Deikun was striving for and joins the Zeon military with the intent of revenge against the Zabi family.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Wing Series - Eiattu IV went through an Anastasia-like purging of its royalty. Young princess Plourr and her little brother Harran survived and went off the radar. Years later, Harran resurfaces, leading the People's Liberation Movement against the nobility and Imperial occupiers alike, clearly uninterested in retaking the throne. As she's the elder, it's Plourr's anyway, but he resurfaced long before her and never made an attempt.
    • Though it turns out that Plourr murdered Harran when he tried to alert the murderers to her survival. She left him to be eaten by animals. This Harran is an Imperial agent.

    Films — Animated 
  • The king in Cinderella seems to be of the opinion that his son is this, because he hasn't settled down and produced some heirs yet. This viewpoint gets a little more credit when the prince is acting very disinterested at the beginning of the ball, going as far as looking up at his father in the balcony and visibly yawning (in the film's time period, this could be likened to flipping the bird at his dad.)
  • Given even more credibility in the surprisingly-good Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. Once the Prince decides he's going after Cinderella, there is nothing his father can say to stop him. (the king, to his credit, lets him go once he realizes how serious the Prince is about it.)
  • The Lion King: Justified by Simba, who thought Mufasa's death was his fault. He then stopped being a Sheltered Aristocrat and ran away.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Prince Henry from Ever After finds it insufferable to be defined by his position.
  • Aragorn from Peter Jacksons's Lord of the Rings film adaptations chose exile instead of leadership of his people.
  • 2001's Princess of Thieves has Prince Philip, whose head aches just to contemplate a list of king's duties.
  • Eddie from The Prince And Me just didn't want to be Prince Edvard for once in his life.
  • Flicka's main character, Katy, McLaughlin has big dreams of administering her father's Wyoming horse ranch one day, but Rob, her father, wants her brother Howard to do such instead. Howard wants to let his sister take over so that he can attend college, but he has a hard time telling his father.
  • Spun differently in The Sword and the Sorcerer. The Lost Heir, having become a freebooting swashbuckler, positively gloats in a scene where he watches SOMEONE ELSE grab the headaches of the crown "and all that goes with it."
  • Lord Henry Dashwood announced in What a Girl Wants that he was giving up his hereditary seat in the House of Lords to run for election as a commoner.
    Henry: "Why should an accident of birth give me the right to make decisions for the people? The only power I want is the power the voters choose to give me. That's why Iím standing in this election."
  • "Waite Lifter", the ice man who is Ella's admirer in Ella Cinders, turns out to be the scion of a wealthy family. His father is appalled that his son has run off to work as an ice man.

  • Prince Johnathan is an inverted version in the Song of the Lioness books. He wants to defeat demons and become the Voice of the People to be the best king he can be.
  • Sondok, Princess of The Moon And Stars: when young King Chinpyong came to the throne, he would hunt for days, completely ignoring the needs of the kingdom.
  • Emperor Gregor Vorbarra of Barrayar experiences this, especially in The Vor Game. Played rather more for drama than usual: Gregor's "rebellion" came about as a result of throwing himself off a balcony, failing to die and deciding to make the best of it.
  • And in The Horse and His Boy, Prince Corin of Archenland is elated when his long-lost elder-by-three-minutes twin turns up. "I won't have to be king! .... Princes have all the fun!"
  • Nevyn of the Deverry novels started out as this. As spare to the spare to the throne, another spare behind him, all he had to look forward to was a life spent hanging around the court and wasting his family's money. His father disagreed with his decision to take up dweomer as a hobby, resulting in his being disowned and kicking of the sequence of events that got three people killed and Prince Galrion of Deverry starting on the path that made him become Nevyn, Master of the Aethyr.
  • Johnny from the Cat Royal series is a rebel Lord who ends up leaving the country and abandoning all claims to his inheritance. When we see him again, he seems perfectly happy with this.
  • The historical fantasy The Stone Prince, from Fiona Patton's Branion series, is almost a retelling of Frederick The Great's youth with a somewhat happier ending. The Crown Prince isn't tough enough for his mother, wants a gay lover, disobeys her order to give up his boyfriend's name, and becomes a literal rebel prince by running off and raising an army, more to hurt her than to defend himself. His rebellion is quickly and violently crushed, but his mother is impressed by his determination, does not execute the survivors and even concedes to his wishes to an extent.

    Live Action TV 
  • Logan from Gilmore Girls fits this trope perfectly as the wild and reckless son of a newspaper/media mogul who expects him to grow up already and start getting ready to take over the corporate empire. He sums up the whole thing pretty well when Rory tries to encourage him, telling him he has countless doors open to him because of his position, and he responds that he sees only one door and is being pushed through it whether he likes it or not.
  • The SyFy mini-series Alice reveals mid-way that Jack Chase is Prince Jack Heart, the Big Bad's son, helping Alice and the Wonderland Resistance to overthrow his mother.
  • There's Power Rangers Time Force with the Red Ranger, Wesley "Wes" Collins. Mr. Collins wanted Wes to grow up to inherit the family business from him, but his grooming served only to alienate Wes from everyone around him. He jumps at the chance to be a Rookie Red Ranger, as it's the first time in his life he's fought for anything.
  • Childlike Ascended Fanboy Hiro Nakamura of Heroes doesn't want to be his father's successor as CEO of Yamagato Industries and is obviously unsuited to the job. His sister, on the other hand, would like nothing more, but at first Kaito doesn't see this.
  • Stargate Atlantis establishes that Colonel Sheppard is one of these. He was the elder son of a late energy tycoon and fell out with his family when he joined the Air Force instead of taking over the family business. Not until his father's death do Sheppard and his brother attempt to reconcile.


    Video Games 
  • Sabin from Final Fantasy VI bolts after disagreeing with the terms of succession to the throne, a coin flip between him and his twin brother Edgar.
    • More accurately, Sabin didn't want the throne but agreed to deciding it on a coin flip. He "lost" and Edgar became king. Turns out that, knowing Sabin didn't want to be king, Edgar used a trick coin.
  • Lyner Barsett from Ar tonelico before the start of the game: he'd rather protect Lady Shurelia instead. It's implied that the reason is that he still subconsciously remembers Misha, and if he takes Leard's place, he'll be responsible for putting Misha's daughter, granddaughter, and perhaps great-granddaughter through the same Training from Hell before sending them to sing their lives away to imprison a Sealed Evil in a Can. Thankfully, he manages to cause Mir to undergo a Heel-Face Turn and doesn't become Commander except possibly on Shurelia's route as the husband of the goddess.
  • Lex, Holin and Jamuka from Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War. Levin is this until the events of chapter 4.
    • Shanan takes up the Rebel Prince mantle in Part 2 since he's one of the leaders of Celice's army which is hell-bent into destroying the tyrannical Empire of Grandbell. There's somewhat of a subversion, however: while a rebel against the Empire, he also is the legitimate heir to the throne of Isaac (a nation of Proud Warrior Race Guys that was usurped and oppressed for years), and he intends to gain his homeland back to rebuild it. If he lives through the whole second part of the game, he succeeds.
    • Also Hector from Fire Emblem Blazing Sword, who, while still loyal to Ostia, decided to do things his own way.
    • Ephraim from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones falls under this trope as well. He actually stated in a flashback that he would prefer that his sister Eirika take the throne while he could run off to become a mercenary. A large part of his Character Development in the game is his growing out of this trope.
  • Alistair of Dragon Age: Origins is the illegitimate son of a king, and while he knows that he might be considered an heir to the throne now that the latest king has been killed without an heir, he certainly doesn't want to be king: "I'm a follower, not a leader." However, it's possible to "harden" his personality and force him to mature, making him more willing to take power.
    • Dorian from Dragon Age: Inquisition is a young aristocrat from the mage-ruled Tevinter Empire who says himself that he was bred to be "the perfect leader". He's a highly skilled mage, intelligent, charming — and disillusioned with Tevinter's values (definitely not helped when he discovered his family's plans to "fix" the fact that he wasn't willing to be married off and produce heirs) and a believer it could do so much better than maintaining a reputation as an entire kingdom of Evil Sorcerers and left it altogether to join the Inquisition "because it's the right thing to do". Eventually, he may be inspired by the Inquisition to go back to Tevinter and try to fix some of the problems instead of just running away from them.
  • Discussed between Traiya Scott and King in Third Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-hen. For the longest time, she tried to think of why his son wanted to change the world. It was because he wanted to destroy Chrono's grip on the world. King sighs. He told Carlos about the nature of Chrono and the fate of the Axion men to bear the title of King, just after Carlos graduated from university. And until the day that they he would take the title for himself, King told his son to do whatever he pleased. And he ended up making the world's largest corporation. In order to fight Chrono, and his old man. And it was because Carlos was like that, that Elgan Laudic gave him the Swaying Scales to pass on.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • From the British Royal House: King Edward VIII (who abdicated the throne to his younger brother George, father of Queen Elizabeth, in order to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson). Generally considered, these days, to be colossally fortunate for Great Britain specifically and for the free world in general: Edward was an admirer of the German Chancellor of the period, one Adolf Hitler; his abdication being viewed as pretty much a real-life case of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.
  • The early life of Frederick The Great reads like a nasty Deconstruction of the Rebel Prince. Tyrannical, controlling father whom he doesn't get along with? Check. Enjoys scholarly and artistic things his father doesn't approve of? Check. Resents the idea of an arranged marriage? Check. Plans to run away and start a new life with his best friend and possible lover? Check. Gets caught, is made to watch as his father has his friend beheaded, suffers a Heroic BSOD, and never talks about it again? ...Err.
  • The anarcho-communist philosopher Pyotr (Peter) Kropotkin was born the heir to the title of Prince. Under the influence of republican teachings, he dropped his princely title at the age of 12 and even rebuked his friends when they called him by title. He held a great respect for the common worker, and because of his political activism and ideologies, he was sometimes called "the Anarchist Prince".
    • "A man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia." - Oscar Wilde
  • Dom Pedro I, the founder of Brazil and the "Liberator" of both Brazil and Portugal. During Napoleonic Wars, the Portuguese royal house had to abandon Lisbon for Rio de Janeiro. After war, the king left his son, Prince Pedro, as the regent in Brazil. During 1820s, Pedro defeated numerous insurrectionist movements and reformed the government of Brazil based on liberal principles instead of absolutist monarchy, helped create the Brazilian nation instead of many squabbling fiefdoms in conflict among themselves, and, in so doing, also clashed with the reactionary elements of the old regime, upon whose defeat he proclaimed a new country, Brazil, as a constitutional monarchy. Upon the death of his father, he briefly became the king of Portugal as well, but he abdicated only after a few months and returned to Brazil. In 1831, however, Portugal (and Spain) falling into revolutionary chaos with the liberal reformers clashing with reactionaries, Dom Pedro abdicated, returned to Europe, raised an army of volunteers, and offered his services as a mere citizen to his own daughter who became the legitimate ruler of Portugal after his abdication (from the Portuguese throne) but had been overthrown since by the reactionaries. His campaign in Europe was cut short, however, as he died of illness in 1834.
  • Siddhartha Gautama was born a Sheltered Aristocrat and lived the ensuing lifestyle until he discovered the outside world's misery and suffering. This prompted him to abandon his home and royal trappings against his family's wishes to become the founder of Buddhism.