Exactly What It Says on the Tin
, it's a Princess
who is a Tomboy
, instead of the more typical traits of a princess.
There are many reasons for this trope. A VERY unfortunate one
is that Tomboys
are depicted as "better" than Girly Girls
. This might be because Most Writers Are Male
, or because Girls Need Role Models
, or because Real Women Don't Wear Dresses
, but either way it seems to be a way of saying "see, our Princess is a role model for modern girls, she's NOT girly like the stupid and shallow princesses from the past, she's BETTER". Expect there to be several girly traditional Princesses for contrast
. Occasionally both the Tomboy and the Girly Princess might learn to appreciate each other in spite of their differences. In these types of uses the Tomboy Princess is used to tell An Aesop
about gender roles. This isn't necessarily a bad thing
, as long as it doesn't overwhelm the character and story
A more moderate approach is to use the "Tomboy Princess" as a way to combine the Tomboy and Girly Girl into one character.
Who says tomboys can't be girly? Who says girly girls can't be tomboys? This has the advantage of appealing to a lot of girls who both want to play with the boys, but also like wearing tiaras
and fancy dresses
(also showing that She Cleans Up Nicely
). These Tomboy Princesses are usually too busy being awesome to bother with trying to teach Aesops. Although occasionally they'll have a Very Special Episode
to teach one. The most common pitfall for a writer with this type of Tomboy Princess is having her become too awesome
Those are the most common forms of the Tomboy Princess, but there are other uses. For example, a Princess might be made a Tomboy so as to make her more down-to-earth than the rest of the nobles. In this case the focus is more on class roles rather than gender roles.
Can also overlap with a Rebellious Princess
. If your princess is also an Action Girl
, or Badass Princess
, then there are very good chances she might be this.
Contrast Princess Classic
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Anime and Manga
- Princess Safiri from Princess Knight is one of the earliest and most complete examples: being born with the soul of a girl and a boy, she's pretty much had the disposition for this from birth. Plus, she has to pretend to be the Crown Prince of Silverland, because only men are allowed in the succession for the throne, and had her father not announced her being born as a boy, the next in line would be the Big Bad, Duke Duralumon. And just to hammer the point home, she actually enjoys the Action Girl perks her boyish heart gives her, so she doesn't want her guardian angel to take it from her as God had tasked him.
- The Gundam series. It's been a while, so over that time Gundam has come across a few.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Nausicaa. Kushana takes it straight into Badass Princess territory.
- Slayers: Princess Amelia Seiryuune takes after her father, Prince Phil, and is a fighter For Great Justice. And, like her father, she smites evil by beating the hell out of it in the name of "Peace and Love!", with flying kicks, piledrivers and suplexes, or smashing them to bits with really heavy objects.
- Sailor Moon: Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter and Haruka Tenoh/Sailor Uranus were princesses in the Silver Millennium, just like the rest of the Sailor Team.
- Ozma from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Despite it being justified by Tip/Ozma undergoing a Gender Bender, the original books and most other versions of the series completely avert this.
- Seness Giat of Scrapped Princess, whose short temper has earned her the nickname of "Beast Princess". She contrasts with the more girly princess Pacifica.
- Princess Yuzu from Anpanman. She skilled in using a spear in combat, and loves to get out of her castle to just have fun, avoiding her duties whenever she can. The only problem is she's very tiny, she's able to ride a pigeon as a steed, so she's an easy target. Also on the show is Princess Salad. She hates her duties and wants to explore so much that she created the persona of Prince Salad, so she can leave the castle without suspicion.
- Princess Marie-Ange from Doki Doki Pretty Cure is good at some hobbies typically enjoyed by men, such as horse-riding and sculpting. She's also a capable fighter and plays karuta. It helps that she fights Monsters of the Week with a laser-bladed spear in her introductory episode.
- Subverted in Murder Princess. Alita is a typical girly princess, but since she has switched bodies with the Badass Tomboy Farlith, "Princess Alita" has become a Badass Princess who slays monsters.
- Queen's Blade: Elina has been called unladylike more than once, due to her raucous behavior and candour. Plus, she's very athletic and is the only one of the Vance sisters who's had training in unarmed combat, and she's not afraid to use it.
- Kurokami: Kuro, herself. So much so, that she initially comes across as a Nubile Savage, both in appearance and because of the way she fights. Though a lot of it has to do with having had no exposure to the outside world, 'til circumstances forced her to leave her home.
- The Secret of Twilight Gemini: Lara is the spunky gun-totting rebel leader of a band of Geltic guerrillas, who're fighting to reclaim their homeland from the oppression of the Igo Tribe. Though she doesn't find out about her royal lineage, 'til near the end of the film. Which literally makes her a Rebellious Princess and an example of Royals Who Actually Do Something.
Film — Animated
- Disney movies, especially during or around the 90s, tended to noticeably have these.
- The Black Cauldron: Princess Eilowny. Not as much as in the original book series (see below), but she still has her moments.
- The Lion King: Nala is probably one of the clearest Disney-related examples, as is easily apparent when she play-wrestles with Simba on her way to an elephant graveyard with him. That far into the movie, they're just friends (and they don't take seriously the idea that they'd grow up to be more than friends) and you could almost forget they're opposite genders if not for the voices. The Lion King has its protagonist and princess more similar to each other than most Disney movies do.
- Her rebellious, boisterous young daughter Kiara even more so, especially as Nala matures and becomes more regal.
- Atlantis The Lost Empire: Princess Kida, which seems to be part and parcel of her being The Chief's Daughter, right up to the point where they actually show her climbing up a large rock structure while wearing a long, flowing dress at the end of the film!
- Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and her daughter Melody in the sequel even moreso.
- Princess Merida from the Pixar film Brave turns out to be a deconstruction of the trope. Merida's frustration at society's expectations of her is treated sympathetically, as her distress doesn't come out of nowhere and you can understand her fear of being seen as just a pawn in her family's plans through the prospect Arranged Marriage. However, as said above, the negative consequences of her headstrong and selfish backlash are what set the plot in motion, forcing her to atone for her actions and find a compromise between her desires and her responsibilities. Actually admitting that she was too proud for her sake is the catalyst for the spell breaking
- Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph, a spunky and tomboyish little kart racer, is revealed to be a princess at the end of the movie, although she gives up that title to become a President instead.
- Anna in Frozen to contrast her sister Elsa.
- In The Swan Princess, Odette is one as a little girl. When she's introduced to Prince Derek, she instantly puts up her fists; later she's seen fighting him with a wooden sword. She becomes more of a girly girl, but stays badass as well.
- Princess Mononoke definitely counts. Also counts as Badass Princess.
- Strange Magic: Princess Marianne who used to be more of a Princess Classic. After finding out her fiancee was cheating on her the day of her wedding, becomes a pants wearing, sword wielding Action Girl. Interestingly, as part of her transformation, she also starts wearing blue eyeliner, making her a Tomboy with A Girly Streak.
Film — Live-Action
- In A Brother's Price, all the princesses, by default. This is a world where gentleness, needlework and beautiful walking robes are for men. The princesses go and chase bandits.
- The Chronicles of Narnia, The Horse and His Boy has Aravis Tharkeena, who upgrades from a Tomboy Noblewoman to a Tomboy Princess when she marries Shasta aka Crown Prince Cor. Lucy The Valiant is a Tomboy Queen and some traces of girliness who is good with archery and acts like a Cool Big Sis to Aravis when they meet. The femininity and reluctance to openly fight unless it's truly needed are for her older, wiser and more quiet sister, Queen Susan the Gentle.
- The Ordinary Princess by MM Kaye. Princess Amy is plain and tomboyish after she was cursed at birth to be "ordinary".
- Lloyd Alexander is obviously into this trope:
- A Song of Ice and Fire Arya Stark is a tomboy from the start, and a princess after her brother Robb is acclaimed king.
- Cimorene from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, who tries to learn such unfeminine and un-princesslike things as magic and fencing. When her parents still try to force her into a proper marriage, she runs away to go live with a dragon... where, ironically, her duties consisted largely of cooking and cleaning. OTOH, it did promote her to the status of Royals Who Actually Do Something.
- The Royal Diaries has a couple. Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess would rather climb trees than dance while in Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles Archduchess Antonia's favorite activity is horse riding astride through the mud.
- Bridge to Terabithia a has Leslie who's the only girl wearing cut-offs and a t-shirt, wants to run with the boys and finds a space outside that can be the land of Terabithia. She will be it's queen and her friend will be it's king. She's an imaganary tomboy queen but still.
- While Sorcha in Daughter of the Forest is traditionally Feminine in the sense of being "caring and motherly" rather then "ferocious and warlike" in her nature, she prefers wandering in the woods with her brothers to being dressed up like a doll, and knows such things as surviving in a forest, identifying herbs, building fires, and how to avoid offending guess who.
- Princess Elena in Merlin, as a side effect of the Sidhe that has been possessing her all her life. Once it's gone, she becomes a Princess Classic.
- Princess Mithian is exactly half this trope. On the one hand, she enjoys outdoor pursuits, especially hunting. She's also pretty damn good at burping. On the other hand, she is always immaculately groomed and dressed. Tomboy Princess in spirit + Proper Lady in conduct and appearance = Tomboy with a Girly Streak.
- Downton Abbey: Sybil is a Tomboy Aristocrat, as she rebels against corsets, wears bloomers instead of dresses, trains as a nurse and prefers hanging out in the garage with the chauffuer than attending fancy parties. Edith also develops this in Season 2 as she learns to drive and helps with farmwork.
Religion And Mythology
- In Classical Mythology, Artemis and Athena(are you going to say a goddess is not a princess) both have a bit of Tomboy in them but Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness and Athena is the goddess of civilization.
- Final Fantasy V Faris. This is because she spent the latter part of her childhood among pirates.
- Fire Emblem:
- In Blazing Sword, Lyndis aka Lyn is this and The Chief's Daughter, since her mom was a Lycian princess and her dad was the chieftain of the Lorca tribe.
- Same goes to Sue, a Horse Archer and the princess of the Kutolah tribe in Binding Blade (who may be Lyn's daughter, if you paired her up with Sue's dad Rath in the prequel). Double if she falls for Roy and marries him, since their common ending mentions how the Lycian nobles look at Sue kinda weirdly for being a tomboyish and free-spirited Duchess of Pherae.
- Averted by Eirika from The Sacred Stones, who is quite proactive but still a Lady of War. Her best friend Tana plays it a little straighter.
- The original Fire Emblem heroine, Princess Shiida/Caeda of Talys, is also a bit of an aversion. She's very feminine, but her preference to take on the battlefield like a Lady of War is why she's called a tomboy.
- Princesses Ayra of Isaac, Lachesis of Nodion and Tiltyu of Freege from Seisen no Keifu play this straight as well. Also Bridget of Jungby, but that's because she also spent her childhood as a Pirate Girl. Ayra's daughter Lakche and Altenna from Thracia are this too.
- Miranda of Alster and Mareeta of Rivough from Thracia 776, in a Fallen Princess way.
- And Fire Emblem Awakening gives us Chrom's teenage sister, Princess Lissa of Ylisse, as well as Chrom's prospect daughter(s) Cynthia or Kjelle (Lucina is more of a Tomboy with a Girly Streak). Princess Say'ri of Chon'sin is in the fence, as she is rather straightforward but very much a Ladyof War. Morgan can also be this if the Avatar marries Say'ri or Lucina, and probably Lissa as well.
- The Legend of Zelda. The titular Princess Zelda in some incarnations:
- Ocarina of Time: A Gossip Stone claims that she's one, which is something that, if kept in mind, makes a certain reveal later on less surprising. There's also Princess Ruto, who has a tomboyish towards Link when he tries to rescue her, but in the future she behaves in a more affectionate way.
- The Wind Waker, because she is the alter ego of Tetra.
- Spirit Tracks. Zelda acts a little girly sometimes, but is a lot more assertive and Hot-Blooded after taking over a Phantom for the first time. She's more than willing to help Link on his quest.
- The Mega Man Battle Network series has Pride, the operator of Knightman, princess of Creamland.
- MOTHER 3 Kumatora is one, although she isn't really a princess; that's just a title.
- Recettear It's implied that Charme the Thief of all people is the heir to the throne of a fallen kingdom known for its booze.
- The Super Mario Bros. series. Daisy, pictured at the top of the page, is described as a tomboy within the series. So much, in fact, that her only Super Smash Bros. Brawl trophy is part of the Mario Strikers Charged series (which also includes Mario and a Kritter, who have trophies of their normal versions). She does have a sticker depicting her usual attire, but it is shared with Peach, so it is not a solo sticker.
- Depending on how you raise your girl in the Princess Maker games, she may grow up to be any kind of tomboyish swordswoman or sorceress who works part-time lumberjacking or keeping the dead down in the local graveyard. Whether she actually becomes a princess is a different issue.
- Criosa in the Neverwinter Nights mod series The Aielund Saga is a princess and the heir to the throne of Aielund, and is also a wizard/rogue of a level on par with your character and runs around in pants with a sword more often than not.
- Street Fighter III has Elena, an African princess of a Kick Chick with a tomboyish theme tune.
- Marle of Chrono Trigger; a princess, sheltered by an over-protective father and encouraged to be a Proper Lady... who runs away from home to have fun, wields a bow (and later, magic) and breaks pretty much every rule of lady-like etiquette generally. Her tomboyish actions even make her the talk of the Millennial Fair.
- Blaze the Cat from the Sonic the Hedgehog series certainly qualifies. While she talks in a formal manner, she's got an attitude and skills that rival Sonic's.
- In the Rankin Bass adaptation of The Emperor's New Clothes, the titular Emperor has one for a daughter, who serves as the love interest of one of the tailors (who in this version are given a dose of Adaptational Heroism). The short plays it for parody; she deludes herself into thinking that he is the hero who can save her from her father's Evil Chancellor, when she is clearly the tougher of the two, and she is right about that first part.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears has Princess Calla. She dislikes having to act prim and proper and would rather take part in governing and defending her kingdom. She's skilled in the use of weapons, and one episode has her entering and winning tournament in secret that was to determine who would be her royal protector. Even better, when King Gregor, her father, found out the truth, he was deeply impressed at what a powerful warrior his child had become.
- The Legend of Zelda animated series. Princess Zelda, much more so than her video game counterpart, which generally causes Well, Excuse Me, Princess! situations.
- Sonic Sat AM has Princess Sally, who despite her title actually has several roles, many of which are stereotypically associated with males, such as that of battle strategist, engineering technician, and of course, as a fighter. No major female character in the show conforms entirely to female stereotypes, but Sally is especially divergent from them.
- The Legend of Korra: The eponymous heroine is the amazonian daughter of Chief Tonraq, of the Southern Water Tribe. She's basically one of the guys because she takes after her father. Meaning, she's very strong, strong willed, and believes in the direct approach when dealing with problems.
- Depending on the episode, Princess Bubblegum in Adventure Time. It's especially seen in the comics tie-ins, like Marceline And The Scream Queens, where she actually leaves Finn to rule the Candy Kingdom in her stead to accompany Marceline as she's touring.
- Elizabeth II seems to have had elements of this when she insisted on joining the Army during World War II and became a mechanic and truck driver. As it is, she is the only remaining head of state who is a vet of that war. Her daughter Princess Anne was an olympic-level equestrian in her youth. In eventing, no less. Anne's daughter Zara Phillips has taken up the riding as well, participating in the London Olympic Games.
- Several Medieval European Noblewomen had this characteristic to some degree. Someone had to take care of the castle while all the knights were busy killing each other, including its armed defense when necessary. At least one Arab visitor commented on how forward Western women were.
- Christina, Queen of Sweden, who took up traditionally-masculine hobbies and interests (like fencing, shooting and alchemy), dressed and behaved like one of the guys - and associated with them in a manner considered inappropriate for her time, and, of course, was suspected to have both male and female love interests, but never married. Invoked by her father, Gustavus Adolphus, who ordered that his sole heir be raised as a prince, and possibly complicated by the allegations of Ambiguous Gender raised at her birth.