aka: The White Prince
"But, when you live in a castle, everything's done for you. All the time — They dress you, they feed you, drive you, brush your teeth. I admit it was a charmed life, until the day my parents cut me off and I realized... I don't know how to do anything."
The Sheltered Aristocrat
is a character who has lived a life sheltered
from the everyday trivialities which the lower classes have to contend with. In this way he is pure and untainted by the hardships of the outside world.
This results in a certain naivety and ignorance, despite the numerous tutors he's no doubt had all his life. When he is finally exposed to the outside world, it becomes apparent that the character is out of his depth. He doesn't realize how difficult and dangerous life outside his palace really is, and as a result he is a Horrible Judge of Character
, easily duped by conmen and stolen from by thieves. Often he thinks he can talk his way out of confrontations, or throw money at any problem, and generally not recognizing, at least initially, that bad things could actually happen to him
out in the real world. He will often be puzzled and even intrigued by the goings on of everyday life, resulting in Mundane Object Amazement
. Sometimes the irony will be taken further as the Sheltered Aristocrat
proclaims himself to be an expert, having studied the lower class from textbooks, only to be proved very wrong. Often he has no idea how to do common, everyday activities and is thus rather helpless if he finds himself on his own. He may also be unaware of any suffering his people are really going through in his kingdom until he comes face to face with it.
These characters tend to fall into three main types: a plucky-type with child-like innocence and kindness, a silly and cowardly-type who is treated like a joke, and snobby and superior type that can be cruel. Most of the types have a good chance to mature into the honourable and melancholic Wise Prince
or the practical and down-to-Earth Princely Young Man
during their adventures, though the cowardly and snobbish types have just as much of a chance to turn their back on the real world and shut themselves back in their palace
, if they can.
This trope can include any character, not just princes, who are sheltered in this way. See also Upper-Class Twit
, Spoiled Brat
and Spoiled Sweet
. Compare Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training
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Anime & Manga
- Mendou from Urusei Yatsura is the pompous and mean-spirited buffoon kind
- Mendou's Expy, Kuno from Ranma ½ is also of the pompous and mean-spirited buffoon kind.
- Most of the Ouran High School Host Club but especially Tamaki, the president of the club. He is the clownish charmer type (especially the "buffoon" part; his heart is usually in the right place, but his brain is another story), who is actually so fascinated by the middle-class customs of Haruhi that he plans activities and "excursions" to educate themselves about the lifestyles of the "commoners" to make Haruhi feel more comfortable — she doesn't.
- Mori would be the composed type, mostly because of his protectiveness of Hani and keeping his mouth shut.
- Kyouya would give him a run for his money. He's actually involved in his family business, so he understands how the world works. He doesn't consider ordinary people to be quaint or insignificant, but he does regard them as less important than successful people.
- Prince Chagum from Seirei no Moribito is of the young and dignified sort. He gets used to life as a commoner and enjoys it, since the series very much avoids The Dung Ages and thinks Rousseau Was Right. Later he seems to develope to The Wise Prince.
- Yuki of Fruits Basket has shades of the composed type, and is nicknamed "Prince Yuki" by the girls at his school. He's a very different person behind the facade he puts up for most of his classmates.
- Deconstructed in Ashita no Nadja, where Nadja's love interest Francis Harcourt poses as your typical White Prince with a philanthropic edge, but deep down has severe self-esteem issues that become obvious once his idealism clashes with reality.
- The Prince in Rune Soldier Louie - Though befitting the fantasy setting he was only naive and shocked when he came across mercenary behaviour and darker aspects of humanity. In other aspects he was quite educated and willing to give anything a try.
- Touga in Gravion fits the composed variety, and forms an Odd Friendship with the largely mannerless Eiji often driven by his quiet curiosity about the "real world" (he's not a literal prince, but he did grow up in a castle ...).
- Romeo Candorebanto Montague from Romeo X Juliet, in addition to being the Mad Dictator's Handsome Son. His best friend Benvolio di Frescobaldi also shows some Sheltered Aristocrat traits, but once his family is stripped of its noble status, he adapts to peasant life very quickly and happily.
- Prince Canute of Vinland Saga starts out as the innocent sheltered type, with a few minor subversion in that he is surprisingly well educated in peasant activities, then upgrades to the cool as sin, composed Bad Ass version.
- That's because the real-life Norse nobility differed from commoners mostly in that they usually ate better and called the shots at war. Otherwise they weren't that much different.
- Quatre Raberba Winner from Gundam Wing was raised to be the heir to his father's company and was cloistered away from a lot of the suffering and conflict around him. His idealistic streak lasts through a large part of the beginning of the series. When things go south for his family though and he witnesses his father getting killed, it goes downhill quite fast. Notable in that he actively wants to get away from the trope and willingly joins in the show's conflict.
- The F4 in all incarnations of Hana Yori Dango. Domyoji is of the arrogant meanie variety (at least initially) and Rui is the reserved type. Sojiroh and Akira are certainly both very charming, but seem much more aware of the lower classes, at least intellectually, than the other two.
- Yuna Roma Seiran from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny proves why letting one of these gain power can be a really, really, bad idea. Luckily eventually they Dropped A GOUF On Him.
- In Naoko Takeuchi's work The Cherry Project, Tsuzuki fits this well. He's been trained as a professional figure skater since he was young, and was born to rich parents who really spoiled him. He had recently cut himself off because he felt that he wasn't really living life normally.
- Ninzaburo Shiratori from Detective Conan is this and a rather competent policeman. While not a bad person, he can be kind of an Upper-Class Twit when at his very worse, switching to a borderline Princely Young Man when at his best.
- Also his former classmate Fumimaro Ayanokouji, who actually is from Royal Blood according to Satou.
- Sonoko's soon-to-be brother-in-law, Yuzo Tomizawa, is of the naive kind. So were his brothers Tatsuji and Taichi. Until one of them killed their father
- And predictably, both Ojous and Sheltered Aristocrats are among either the victims or the culprits rather frequently.
- In The Secret Agreement, Yuuichi regards Iori to be this because of his lack of worldliness, and while he doesn't like that Iori is getting married he outright states that the marriage will be a good thing for Iori since he doubts Iori could live a poor life with him.
- Albert from Gankutsuou. His cluelessness and idealism make him an excellent target for the Count's manipulation.
- Princess Arika from Mahou Sensei Negima!. Although she wasn't completely ignorant about the hardships of the world, her sheltered upbringing made her more naive than she let on and didn't know about things like what ice cream is.
- Shion from GJ-bu acts like this, but there was a further justification—all her older brothers were all geniuses in one field or the other, so that she in fact doesn't need anything that comes outside of her household—those would be inferior to what is in her house anyway. When you have an blue-cordon class Supreme Chef—or maybe an Supreme Barista as well—preparing your lunch box every day, do you expect you to know what Ramen as Dehydrated Noodles or Canned Coffee is? She doesn't (and didn't even know how to use a vending machine on her high school graduation day!), but she finds this depressing as well, and wants Kyoro (who is the only person of a lower status in the cast) to actually teach her those common sense.
- Yukari in Yuyushiki is a downplayed example, in that she ended that phase relatively early, in elementary school. Still, Yui, the Childhood Friend who taught Yukari those kinds of lowly stuff (plus the concept of money), initially finds Yukari's presence in her house incredibly embarrassing because of this trope.
- Hime, the Monster's princess at Princess Resurrection (her real name is Lilliane) never helps with any work that doesn't involve killing something. She also didn't know how to use a modern cell phone - Hime stated that her robotic servant Flandre had to use it for her. This also explains why she is always reading when everyone else is playing videogames.
Films — Animation
- In The Lion King, Simba was surprised to learn that there was more to being king than getting your way all the time. He was still a cub at the time.
- The Princess and the Frog's Prince Naveen, who provides the pithy quote at the top of this page and is out to get a rich wife because he's been disowned.
Film — Live-Action
- Prince Henry from Ever After is bored by the idea of peasants until he meets Danielle, who actually is a peasant. He takes his servants for granted because they're servants, it's what they do.
- Similar to Yuna Roma Seiran above, Commodus in Gladiator is also a proof against the idea of letting one Sheltered Aristocrat become the ruler of a country.
- The prince from Coming to America had never so much as gone to the bathroom by himself before he left home.
- Prince Edward Tudor (later King Edward VI), in Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper.
- Prince Jen from Lloyd Alexander's The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen. Upon embarking on a pilgrimage to a mystical kingdom, he sniffs the air and asks his servant what that wonderful, invigorating smell is. His significantly more wordly-wise servant hazards a guess that the odors of rotten food, body odor, the occasional goat, and the distinct lack of cash comprise "The Essence of Misery."
- Another Lloyd Alexander example, this time the Chronicles of Prydain, introduces us to Prince Rhun, who is the "clownish buffoon" type, easy on the "charming." He irks Taran, especially for being engaged to Princess Eilonwy. Rhun gets better, and he dies a hero's death.
- Prince Daren in the Heralds of Valdemar series starts off this way. He becomes more of The Wise Prince later in the series.
- Prince Kerish in The Seven Citadels starts out this way, even putting the lives of his men in jeopardy due to his over-confidence. He grows out of it, though.
- Prince Lir in The Last Unicorn. As he attempts to earn the attention of the Lady Amalthea (the unicorn in the form of a young woman) he shakes off his sheltered uselessness and becomes far more interesting.
- Prince Edward, aka Ned, in Mickey Zucker Reichert's The Legend of Nightfall. He truly believes in the ideals of chivalry and noblesse oblige, he despises slavery, and he'll risk his neck to save others' lives. His idealism is only matched by his naivety...which is why his father the King takes the extreme step of secretly blackmailing (and spell-binding) a ruthless thief/assassin to be his squire (i.e., protect him) when the young royal is sent out to get some real world experience for a change. (The ultimate Fantasy Adventure Odd Couple Buddy Story Wunza Plot—and it works.)
- Galad Damodred from The Wheel of Time borders between the "arrogant" and "reserved" varieties, with a very naďve view of the world, but is anything but a buffoon. Later shows signs of turning away from the path of the Knight Templar and shifting towards The Wise Prince.
- Bertie from Jeeves and Wooster survives thanks to the efforts of Jeeves, who serves as valet, Parental Substitute and Living Emotional Crutch. When they get separated, cue the Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense plot.
- Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter is the snobby/superior/cruel type, until the war starts, his family gets involved with Voldemort, and Draco himself gets a dose of reality that's heavily implied to shake him to the core.
- A very disturbing take on this trope is shown in Interesting Times; The Emperor of the Agatean Empire is a Psychopathic Manchild, described by Twoflower as having been the sort of child who liked to pull the legs off insects. However, because he was never contradicted, he's never caught on to the fact that having people killed in the most terrible fashion is not cool.
- The King and Queen of Caederan in The Quest of the Unaligned are a variant on this trope, in that they don't really understand that attuning themselves almost entirely to wind magic is wrecking their country. This is partially due simply to living at court, which at this point is inhabited almost exclusively by ruahks and unaligned, and partially because wind magic has a tendency to make its users "airheads".
- All the Stark siblings from A Song of Ice and Fire to an extent, but most especially oldest daughter Sansa, whose Good Parents have raised her to believe that life is like a fairytale. Needless to say, certain events change that.
- The Moon Prince from Shadows on the Moon.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider:
- Mitsuru Sanofrom Kamen Rider Ryuki was thrown out and forced to get a day job. His rich father hoped it would build Mitsuru some character. It didn't.
- Tsurugi Kamishiro from Kamen Rider Kabuto. If you're wondering which kind of Sheltered Aristocrathe is, consider that his personal motto is, "I am the man who will replace God and slash with a sword". He eventually discovers that his family coffers are more empty than he had ever imagined (as in, completely) and resolves to restore his family wealth whilst learning about the joys of "the common people", becoming much more quirky and likeable in the process.
- Sieg from Kamen Rider Den-O, an arrogant Imagin who claims that "the world revolves for [his] sake" and initially sees the DenLiner crew as his servants. Hana punches some sense into him, though, and he warms up to the others a lot quicker. Bonus points for his predominantly white color scheme.
- Wes in Power Rangers Time Force is a Rebel Prince version. At first, the other Rangers only needed him to unlock their morphers, as his DNA was the closest possible match to the year 3000's Red Rangers. He persuades them to give him a chance anyway, as it's the first time in his life he's ever fought for something.
- Green Wing plays this to great comedic effect when Guy attempts to convince Mac he is a man of the people and invents a friendship with a janitor who happens to be very good friends with Mac.
- Viserys Targaryen of Game of Thrones may not be completely helpless, but he is certainly arrogant, expecting everyone to march to his orders even while he's in exile. His father doesn't bother with people skills, and as a result he pisses off everyone he interacts with. Eventually he gets drunk and gravely offends Khal Drogo, paying for it with his life.
- Joffrey Baratheon gives this impression, but since we haven't seen him outside the sheltered life of a prince we can't be entirely sure (yet). Still, he's an excellent demonstration of the bad things that can happen when the White Prince is crowned King; even his mother can't control him now.
- Arthur from Merlin is an interesting example. While he is established as the commander of the army and very proactive in his responsibilities, it's evident that outside of Camelot he is very naive. He's an Innocent Bigot in regards to magic users, who he was taught from birth to consider evil, and Gwen occassionally has to call him out on his Innocently Insensitive treatment of the poor. He eventually grows out of it with some help from Merlin and Gwen.
- Shakespeare's capricious, self-absorbed, melodramatic Richard II. Crowned king as a child and fully believing he's ordained by God to rule, Richard has no idea of how his poor decisions affect his family and supporters until they turn on him and kill him.
- Prince Enrique of Skies of Arcadia, while living a sheltered life, is the highly intelligent, reserved type of prince and completely subverts the "naive, pompous idiot" part of the trope. He ultimately leaves his homeland with the pirates in hopes of trying to prove his mother's plans of conquest wrong. He later tries to return to Valua to personally convince Empress Teodora to protect her people, which appears naive on the surface, but when she refuses, he actually attempts to threaten her life when she won't see reason. He apparently was more than prepared for her to refuse him. Despite not being a naive idiot, the other air pirates tend to give him some light-hearted ribbing about his pampered life when he first joins up.
- Luke, the main character of Tales of the Abyss, starts out like this.
- Emperor Peony hovers between this trope and The Wise Prince depending on whether the current situation at hand needs him to be mature or not - he's a wise, competent, devoted ruler when he needs to be, and a whimsical, self-centered, shamelessly flirtatious borderline manchild at all other times.
- Estelle from Tales of Vesperia is technically an Ojou, but her personality is more in line with this trope.
- Eliwood from Fire Emblem was a bit like this in the beginning. He grows into The Wise Prince later on.
- Prince Peasley of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga comes off a bit like this at first glance-his arrogant mannerisms, cocky grin, and tendency to flick out his hair (which is so radiant it causes the entire screen to flash white) suggest a pampered jerkoff without the time of day for a couple lowly plumbers...but he's genuinely concerned about his people, competent at what he does and aware of his limitations, and in general a pretty nice, if businesslike, guy.
- In the short time the PC is around him, King Cailan from Dragon Age: Origins comes off as this, more clearly depending on dialogue. As a good example, if the City Elf tells Cailan he is from "One of your alienages, of course", Cailan actually grows excited nearly begging the PC to tell him what it's like there, stating his guards never let him near them, which seems to indicate quite a lack of knowledge and interest in 'commoner' ways.
- Which can lead to a real awkward moment for the king where you proceed to bluntly state that your cousin was raped by a bigot noble, who you then killed. Cailan is actually quite disturbed by something like that happening in the Alienage and it being kept from him, and vows to look into it when they return to Denerim... but we all know how that ended.
- Return to Ostagar reveals he is not nearly as naive as he pretends, but acted confident to keep up morale.
- Sebastian Vael of Dragon Age II, to some extent. On the one hand, he has the highest social standing in your party and occasionally slips up (he's surprised that Aveline, daughter of an exiled noble, prefers being a city guard). On the other, he comes from a Deadly Decadent Court that assassinated his entire family. There's no arguing he can handle himself in a fight, at least.
- In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, this is Amiti's defining trait. Subverted because he's also Genre Savvy enough to realize this is a bad thing, and he decides to travel with Matthew in order to overcome it.
- Deconstructed in... Pokémon Black and White. N, King of Team Plasma, was raised not only to be sheltered from the world, but also isolated, psychologically and socially abused and stunted, and unable to identify with humanity, so that his father Ghetsis could use him as a pure-hearted innocent to gain the trust of the legendary dragons of Unova, ban Pokemon husbandry, and conquer Unova.
- Milliarde in Baten Kaitos Origins.
- Hatoful Boyfriend: Sakuya Shirogane Le Bel, of the "insufferable jerk" type. He considers being transferred to one of the top bird schools in the world to be a step down, and utterly abhors his new classmates due to Fantastic Racism (most of whom aren't fond of him, either). He also knows very little about the country he's in and most of it's misinformation. It's up to the heroine to defrost him - or the Omega Ending to devastate him.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni: The Beatrice who lived in Kuwadorian in 1967 (who was actually Kinzo's illegitimate daughter with his Italian mistress Beatrice Castiglioni, who died in childbirth). She was raised in a hidden mansion by a few servants and Kinzo, who would come down every few days or so, but was forbidden from leaving the Kuwadorian and so knows absolutely nothing about life outside of it. Just before she died from falling off a cliff, Rosa actually speculated that part of the reason she didn't seem to be afraid of climbing down the cliff was because she didn't understand that if she fell from it, she would die.
- Princess Flufwiena of Ebin and May, up until her new husband conquers her homeland and kills her family.
- Phase, Ayla Goodkind of the Whateley Universe. Born into the richest family on earth, and used to having his own way all the time. When he turns into a mutant and gets kicked out of the family, he finds out he doesn't know how to do anything, including use a can opener or a microwave. He has a coronary seeing what a real grocery store is like.
- Lampshaded in an episode of the animated The Legend of Zelda — the episode was actually titled "The White Knight," and featured a blond heroic prince in pristine white garments who charmed Zelda and her father and made Link look like a buffoon by comparison. When Zelda was stolen by one of Ganon's minions, the so-called hero wouldn't go to her aid because he didn't want to get his clothes dirty.
- While obviously not a prince, Mr. Pewtershmidt of Family Guy fit this perfectly when he lost all of his money and was forced to live with Peter. He became utterly useless, to the point that he couldn't figure out how to wipe his own ass. Slight variation in that he's not necessarily confused by how the lower class lives as much as he just wants nothing to do with it.
- The Earl of Lemongrab of Adventure Time. He was the first one of Princess Bubblegum's experiments gone wrong, and had severe mental health issues... and was very, VERY annoying. The princess sent him away to live in a castle far away from the kingdom, to be taken care of by servants. Lemongrab ended up an Upper-Class Twit with a Friendless Background and No Social Skills. "Also... I don't know where food comes from!"
- Regular Show's Pops is made of this, and has a childlike fascination with even the most mundane aspects of park-keeping. He is allowed to remain this way by Benson, as he is the son of the park owner and not subject to the responsibilities of the rest of the team.
- Siddharta Gautama aka Buddha, as one of the kind, naive types, makes this Older Than Feudalism. He grew up in the palace sheltered from everything low and evil. When he first went into Real Life (which was after he had married and fathered a son), and saw the existence of poverty, disease and death, he was so shocked that he left palace, wife and son in the night to become an ascetic monk. For the exciting conclusion, see Buddhism.
- This was apparently deliberate, as his father was given a prophecy that if he didn't experience suffering he would become a great king, while if he did he would become a (very poor) holy man. So his father tried to shelter him as much as he possibly could.
- Emperor Hirohito (or better said Showa, after his era) of Japan, who asked his people to "endure the unendurable" while he never missed a meal in his long life.
- Belgian singer Jacques Brel was this, coming from a very rich family in the banking business before he started his singing career.
- Britain's King Charles I of The House Of Stuart who was taught by his father James I that Kings were "little gods on earth".
- Subverted by King Charles II of The House Of Stuart who was raised for a large part of his early life in Scotland, hiding from the roundheads that had usurped his father. After their puritanical reign the people of England asked him to take back his father's throne and he swiftly restored a number of rights to the common man that Oliver Cromwell had revoked. He even saved Christmas after Cromwell made it punishable by death to celebrate.
- Yeah but I bet he at least remembered what English did with Kings they were tired of...
- About the same thing they did with Republicans with an ideological itch to scratch.
- The infamous "Let them eat cake" response to being told the peasants had no bread to eat. Attributed to Marie Antoinette, when Rousseau wrote about "a great princess" saying it (and he might have made it up).
- Invoked by Louis XIV of France—he wanted his nobility to be useless so he could run the country unimpeded by them. In doing so, he gave France a whole class of Upper Class Twits and royally screwed over the country.