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Literature / The Royal Diaries

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A spinoff of Dear America, The Royal Diaries is a series of fictional diaries spotlighting various royal women as they begin their transition from girl to historical figure of royalty. They're shown dealing with the political realities of their times, restrictions against women, and oftentimes a good deal of backbiting with their siblings.

Examples include Cleopatra VII, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine the Great, Marie Antoinette, Nzingha the Ngola of Matamba, Queen Isabella I of Castile, Grand Duchess Anastasia, Jahanara Begum of India, Queen Victoria, Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) of Austria, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Christina of Sweden, Queen Sondok of Silla, Princess Kazunomiya of Japan, Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii, Shana Kin Yaxchel Pacal of Bacal, Chief Weetamoo of the Pocasset band of the Wampanoag Nation, Lady of Ch'iao Kuo ("Qiaoguo Furen" in Hanyu Pinyin) of Southern China and Queen Anacaona of Xaragua.



  • Abusive Parents:
    • Catherine the Great's mother is a class climber who constantly calls her daughter ugly and slaps her, at one point destroying a vase that was a precious gift to her simply because Catherine told her about an error she had made while talking to some dignitaries in French
    • Kristina's mother is emotionally unstable, mood swinging from tearful love to berating her daughter about her appearance in the space of a second.
    • Elizabeth I's father is alternately doting and contemptuous towards her, occasionally sentencing her to a kind of soft exile when she makes him particularly mad. note 
  • Ancient Africa: Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba
  • Ancient Egypt: Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile
  • Arranged Marriage: Not as many as you would think. More then half of the princesses got to choose a husband or never married. However, it's still royalty, so this trope does show up with some frequency; if not the princess herself, someone else will be mentioned to be in an arranged marriage.
    • In a few cases, someone arranges a marriage for the princess, but for one reason or another, it doesn't come to fruition.
    • In Kazunomiya's case, she was intended to marry Arisugawa but the powers that be broke it off and engaged her to Iemochi instead. Which upsets her greatly, as she genuinely loved Arisugawa. Thankfully for her, Iemochi understands her pain as he can't be with the woman he loves either.
  • Artistic License: Especially with more ancient time periods, like Cleopatra or the Lady of Chiao Kuo, or times and places with less extant records.
  • Asexuality: Though only a child at the time the book is set, Kristina of Sweden from Kristina: The Girl King could easily be seen as asexual (helped by the theory that the real Kristina may have been this). Kristina is adamant that she will not bear children, and it is clear that she finds the idea of the process of doing so disgusting.
    "I cannot imagine why any woman would ever consent to go through the terrible business of bearing children," I said, lengthening my stride. "I will not have a husband, and I will not bear a child, and that is the end of it."
  • Body Double: Mary, Queen of Scots switched places with her chamber maid to go see the astrologer Nostradamus.
  • Book Dumb/Dumb Is Good: Elizabeth I's maid of the chamber, Mary Ward had no desire to learn to read because she has risen as far as a servant can by serving a princess.
  • Book-Ends: It's mentioned near the beginning of Sondok's book the belief that seeing the metal star, Kumsong (known in modern times as the planet Venus) during the daytime is a portent of a female ruler. The book ends with Kumsong shining in the daytime, a sign that Sondok would indeed become queen of Silla.
  • The Champion: Eleanor has a knight in Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine who is devoted to her in word and deed. In a letter Clotaire the Strong praises Eleanor and describes how he will protect her.
  • Childhood Friends:
    • Cleopatra feels affection for her dear friend and fellow student Olympus even though she is royal and he is common in Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile.
    • Sondok and Chajang in Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars, knew each other since they were children. This dips into borderline Childhood Friend Romance at one point, but ultimately, it doesn't work out when Chajang is exiled and becomes a monk.
  • Continuity Nod: Kathryn Lasky wrote the diaries for Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots and Jahanara, Begum Sahib. Both of the latter two books contain references to Elizabeth, including Jahanara wearing a pendant of Elizabeth I.
  • Costume Porn: At the Pleiades ball in Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country Mary's outfit is described from her jewels on and off the dress to her detailed Scottish cap and her instructions for how her companions are to dress to contrast her.
  • Courtly Love: Even after she's married to her prince, Eleanor's knight in Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine pledges a vow of loyalty to his duchess.
  • Daddy's Girl: Applicable to many of the girl to an extent but Princess Elizabeth in Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor is her father's little princess, the true Tudor rose (at least until she makes him mad).
  • Dances and Balls:
    • Marie Antoinette was presented as the future queen of France to her people and the French delegation at a couple of royal balls.
    • In Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without A Country the French hold a grand ball just before Christmas where the queen gets to wear her new ball gown.
    • In Kaiulani: The People's Princess despite being only thirteen Kaiulani attends a some evening outings. One was a ball in honor of her cousin's twenty-first birthday as a reminder that he is third in line for the throne after the princess. The waltzes are her favorite dance.
  • Dated History: Sondok is how her name is spelled under an old Romanization system, these days it would be spelled Seondeok.
    • The epilogue of Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess ends on an open-ended question of whether Anastasia could have survived, since at the time, there were still two members of the family unaccounted for, including one of the daughtersnote . The matter was finally laid to rest when a second burial site was discovered in 2007.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Although this is expected, considering that, well, they're royals, it's still quite jarring to hear this presented from the protagonists, who are supposed to be sympathetic.
    • In Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess she says that the idea of the Czar sharing his power is crazy.
    • In Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles the Archduchess thinks that it is impossible for a person to really be handsome if he is of low birth.
    • In Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile the pharaoh says that only the noble class should study philosophy and astronomy. The princess doesn't like it but agrees.
    • In Jahanara: Princess of Princesses the princess never thought of servants thinking about anything but the most practical matters.
    • Inverted in Elisabeth: The Princess Bride who, as it was stated in the end, preferred a democracy.
    • There is an implied inversion with all the wise princesses, especially in Sondok: Princess of The Moon And Stars, where she is proud of how forward her kingdom is for requiring an unanimous aristocratic vote before they can enact any important law.
    • A more sympathetic example appears in Kaiulani: The People's Princess. Yes, as a royal, she might be expected to react poorly to the suggestion of democracy in general, but given that "democracy" came to Hawaii by way of an invading army, she had a valid reason to be upset.note 
  • Did Anastasia Survive?: The question, including some of the prevailing theories as to how she might have survived, is mentioned in the epilogue of Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, which notes that the body of one of the Grand Duchesses, which some experts believed was Anastasia's (though they note that other experts thought it was Maria), was unaccounted for at the time the book was published, but does not draw a conclusion in either direction. At the time the book was released, the last two bodies had not yet been found.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country and Kristina: The Girl King, Sweden
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Both Weetamoo and her friend Cedar have visions/dreams of the future during their initiation. Weetamoo's is more symbolic, a gathering of her friends where some are marked with red bloodroot juice. Cedar's is more realistic, with Weetamoo inviting Cedar to join in fighting the colonists and Cedar refusing.
  • English Rose: In the book Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor Henry VIII of England got angry at Prince Edward for being lazy while the girls worked on the rose bushes. Elizabeth was quick to respectfully tell her father that she thinks that Edward's humors were out of balance. For that the king tenderly told the princess that she was the true Tudor rose.
  • The Fashionista: In Kaiulani: The People's Princess the main character at several times tells us just what she's wearing, loves to dress up especially in frilly things and once she gets invited to the White House she says that her biggest problem will be deciding what to wear. It is good that she's so fashion conscious because when she makes a presentation for her country the newspapers describe her outfit in painstaking detail.
  • Fiery Redhead: Elizabeth of Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor can swear up a storm when she wants to.
  • The French Revolution: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles
  • Foreshadowing: In a meta way. In Anacaona: Golden Flower, Anacaona receives a message that "invaders with fair skin" have arrived. When Anacaona finally meets them, she notices that while they do have light skin (lighter than those of Anacaona and her fellow Tainos), they were not as fair-skinned as the message claimed they were. Eventually, colonists from Northern Europe - with ever fairer coloring than those from Spain - would also come to the Americas.
  • Gilded Cage:
    • At the beginning of Jahanara: Princess of Princesses, Jahanara and her family are being imprisoned by Nur Mahal.
    • The royals of Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven are rarely permitted to leave the palace by the general who signed a treaty with the Americans.
    • At the beginning of Isabel: Jewel of Castille, Isabel's brother, King Enrique, keeps her confined in one of his castles. She is relatively well-treated, especially compared to her younger brother (who Enrique once kept locked in a tower), but she is completely subject to his whims and he does not allow her to leave, even to see her own mother. She is eventually set free by rebels supporting her younger brother against Enrique.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress:
    • In Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine we learn that it is the Aquitaine way to dress in bright colors with plenty of jewels. At one point Petra, Eleanor's sister, wears a gown of emerald while the main character wears one of blue and each of them wear white silk shoes beaded with pearls to contrast.
    • Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven must dress in a style from the old classical period. She wears the colors of earliest spring, shades of wisteria, and the outermost kimono is lavender, lined with blue.
  • Heir Club for Men:
    • Princess Elizabeth suffers from this trope, though she puts more emphasis on her father saying she and Mary are "illegitimate" than their genders. note 
    • Anastasia tells the story of her birth: everyone was disappointed upon the birth of each of her sisters, since a girl could not be tsar. When she, the fourth child, was born, everyone was praying for a boy, and were especially disappointed to find she was another girl. A servant claims that her father was so upset, he cried. (The worst part is, given their ultimate fates, it turned out not to even matter.)
    • Sondok is heir to the throne of Silla because there are no males of the ruling rank in her generation. At first her father is matter-of-fact about this, but a foreign ambassador convinces him that a female heir makes his kingdom look weak, and he should set aside his wife for a younger woman who might bear a son.
  • The High Middle Ages: Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The High Queen: Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile has the the king's daughter standing up for her father and country, in Latin, to General Pompey the Great who immediately gives the Princess of the Nile the respect she deserves.
  • Historical Domain Character: Many!
  • Historical Villain Upgrade - Mary I in Red Rose of the House of Tudor, who is portrayed as devious, cunning, and hateful towards her younger siblings. While her relationships with Elizabeth and Edward certainly cooled later in life, during their childhoods, the much-older Mary acted as a mother figure, and was on record as being hopelessly naive and guileless. The enmity between her and Elizabeth didn't really kick into gear until after Mary became queen; it's not until she starts burning Protestants that she really deserves this. Perhaps more notably, she's also depicted as scheming with foreign lords to steal the throne when their father dies, despite the fact that in real life she never contested Edward's claim to the throne, only Elizabeth'snote .
  • Hot Consort: In Elisabeth, The Princess Bride the Emperor defied his mother in his choice of who to marry because of Elisabeth's beauty and spirited nature.
  • Imperial China: Lady of Ch'iao Kuo. note 
  • In Mysterious Ways:
    • Isabella I of Castile refused to fight her brother, the king, but instead become his heir because it was what God wanted. Eventually this led to the uniting of Castile and Aragon to form Spain.
    • Elizabeth I of England and Catherine The Great each said that it didn't matter what religion they were as long as they worshiped God.
  • Jidaigeki: Kazunomiya.
  • Just Friends: Queen Kristina of Sweden from Kristina, The Girl King, felt this way about her cousin and good friend Karl even after he expressed desire to marry her.
    • Kazunomiya and Yoshitomi eventually settle on this sort of relationship on their own after after he lets her know that he not only knows about her love for Arisugawa but in fact is interested in another girl himself. Too bad their families persist in the Arranged Marriage.
  • King Incognito:
    • It occurred to Queen Kristina of Sweden from Kristina, The Girl King, that if she were disguised as a boy she wouldn't have to ride sidesaddle.
    • Mary, Queen of Scots gets to take an exciting journey with Diane de Poitiers through the French countryside where they take none of the royal standards or emblems.
    • Princess Cleopatra would wander the harbor with her favorite maid dressed as common Greek girls so they could passed unnoticed.
    • In Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine after her father had his conversion he became more of a Wise Prince to the point of being seen doing servants' work ,while dressed accordingly to going on a pilgrimage while dressed as every other pilgrim.
    • For Isabel to marry who she wanted in Isabel: Jewel of Castilla Isabel had to sneak around her brother's back traveling first as minstrels and later as monks.
    • Kazunomiya once catches Iemochi disguised as a trash collector so he could be with the woman he loves. This later inspires her to disguise herself as a commoner to get to the temple to meet Arisugawa.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: Since Eleanor has a crush on a knight in Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine she wants him to be her bodyguard. Once when they are attacked, he pulls her into his saddle and races her back to the safety of the castle.
  • Language Barrier: Pompey attempts to exploit it upon meeting Cleopatra and her father Ptolemy, insulting them in Latin (which he assumes they don't speak) while using a tone and gestures that appear friendly. Unfortunately for him, Cleopatra does speak Latin, and promptly tells him in the same language that if she and her father are going to be mocked, they will leave. Pompey doesn't try that trick again.
  • Last Request: Her Aunt Katrina's last wish to Queen Kristina of Sweden from Kristina, The Girl King, is for her to marry her cousin Karl. Kristina, who never wanted to marry, can't bring herself to oblige, but she does name Karl her successor, eventually leading to him becoming King when she abdicates, so he still got most of the same benefits he would have if she had married him.
  • The Late Middle Ages: Isabel, Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466
  • Marriage Before Romance: Marie Antoinette and Dauphin of France Louis Auguste have never met before their Arranged Marriage. At first she sees him as ugly and boring, but when they get to know each other she appreciates his kindness and he her directness and sense of fun. By the end of the book romance seems to be developing between them.
  • Marry for Love: Isabella I of Castile went behind her brother's back to marry the young, handsome, kind and intelligent heir of Aragon after her stole her heart.
  • Masquerade Ball:
    • In Catherine, The Great Journey the empress commanded everyone to come to a number of balls dressed as a member of the opposite sex.
    • In Tudor England nearly every festivity is celebrated in costume. Most rowdy is Twelfth Night where everyone wore a disguise and Princess Elizabeth saw unmarried couples sneaking off to be with each other.
    • Ends up being a significant plot point in Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without A Country. Everyone is dressed up for Midsummer Night, and the girls' tutor Signore Marcelline attempted to sneak up on one of Mary's friends who he had been forcing his attentions on, but ambushed a different girl by mistake because he couldn't tell them apart in their costumes. This finally reveals what's been going on the whole time.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings:
    • In Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba her father has many wives so there another sibling being born almost every month.
    • In Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles the princess was the youngest in a family of twelve brothers and sisters.
    • In Jahanara: Princess of Princesses the princess has two sisters and four brothers by the time the story ends.
  • Matriarchy: Because Taino society of Anacaona: Golden Flower was matriarchal, one could only inherit a ruling position through a female relative, the way Anacaona's uncle, for example, inherited his rule from her grandmother.
  • Missing Mom:
    • The main character in Kaiulani: The People's Princess tells the story of how her dear Mama died.
    • The main character in Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor asked to be shown where her mother was executed.
    • The main character in Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile lost her mother.
    • While not dead, Mary Queen of Scots's mother is in Scotland serving as regent, and Mary clearly misses her a lot.
    • In the first half of Isabel: Jewel of Castille, Isabel is separated from her mother and is not allowed to even visit her. When she's finally freed from her Gilded Cage, she immediately runs to be with her mother again.
  • The Mistress: Diane de Poitiers for Henry II of France was looked up to like a mother by little Mary Queen of Scots but Madame du Barry for Louis XV of France was seen as a rival to Marie Antoinette.
  • Modest Royalty: In Isabel, Jewel of Castilla, when her brother, the king, was dressed as if he had been farming and her sister-in-law the queen was wearing a revealing, fancy outfit the Princess was dressed in a plain woolen gown with no jewels.
    • Marie Antoinette invokes this trope, purposely dressing in a flattering but plain gown and wearing no jewels, to create a favorable comparison with the king's mistress du Berry who she knows will be decked out with Gem-Encrusted dress and hair.
  • Momma's Boy: Franz Joseph I of Austria in Elisabeth: The Princess Bride would do nothing to help his young bride against his mother.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman:
    • Played Straight in Elisabeth: The Princess Bride who feels over shadowed by the emperor's title since their engagement, but without him would never have become the people's beloved Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Historically though, it was played with just about anyway possible because history didn't care how the royal became famous, just that she got there.
    • Played Straight in Jahanara: Princess of Princesses who exhibited influence at court by taking her mother's place next to her father as the uncrowned empress even though her father had three other wives to choose from.
    • Played Straight in Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess who was the most interesting daughter of the last sovereign of Imperial Russia.
    • Exaggerated with Catherine: The Great Journey who was a daughter of a princess from a small royal family and a major general in the army but went on to marry the heir of the Russian empress and on his death become Catherine II.
    • Justified in Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles whose biggest decision of the day was what to wear and was beheaded for being an Austrian princess and the French queen.
    • Inverted in Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia who realized that she was closer to the throne than she thought and thus her husband would gain his success through her.
    • Subverted in Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine who was duchess of Aquitaine in her own right before she married the prince.
    • Double Subverted in Isabel: Jewel of Castilla who knowing that she was going to become a powerful queen chose the heir of the less powerful but adjoining Spanish kingdom as her husband.
    • Zig-Zagged in Anacaona: Golden Flower who was next in line for the throne with her brother, but surrendered it to him to marry the ruler of an equally powerful region where she was called a warrior because her husband had fought so many wars, but then after he died she went to her homeland to rule with her brother until her brother died and she became the sole ruler.
    • Averted in Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile who knew that she was next in line to be queen now that her sisters are gone.
    • Averted in Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country who was queen of Scotland and betrothed to the Dauphin of France.
    • Averted in Kaiulani: The People's Princess when her uncle the King reminds her that it will be her responsibility to do as well as possible in her education to further the hope of their nation that she will someday lead.
    • Averted in Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba whose father gives her his blessing to rule Ndongo when the time comes.
    • Defied in Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars who wanted the respect that a male heir would receive.
    • Defied in Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor who was not expected to become queen and told her best friend that she would never marry.
    • Defied in Kristina: The Girl King who told everyone that she would never marry.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted in two cases:
    • Princess Elizabeth told Robin that they couldn't play games to calm the ghost of Catherine Howard because they weren't children any more and therefore unrecognizable. She had that winter begun her monthly courses.
    • Shana'Kin Yaxchel Pacal finds out that the way women-including her, when she starts to have them-make blood sacrifices is to burn the cloths they bleed into when on their period.
    • The other books play this trope straight. Granted, its plausible that some of them haven't started having them yet, but it's weird in a couple cases when you consider Anacaona gets pregnant in her book, and in real life the Generale Krottendorf (as it was so euphemistically referred as) was a regular topic of conversation between Marie Antoinette and her mother Maria Theresa, and Antoinette moved to France pretty much as soon as she achieved menarche.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Archduchess Antonia of Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles purposely told her hairdresser to let one long curl fall down upon her collarbone, which she began to wind around her middle finger as she talked to the king.
  • One of the Boys: Queen Kristina of Sweden from Kristina, The Girl King, is happier competing and swearing with the boys than spending time with the girls.
  • One Steve Limit: Massively averted in Mary: Queen Without A Country, where the eponymous character's entourage consists of four girls also named Mary. The protagonist refers to them almost exclusively by full names to prevent confusion.
  • Outdoorsy Gal:
    • Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess would rather climb trees than dance.
    • In Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Archduchess Antonia's favorite activity is horse riding astride through the mud.
    • Kristina: The Girl King takes this Up to Eleven since Kristina studies everything a prince would (e.g. fencing) and is a huge tomboy
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage:
    • The Empress thought of a brilliant match for her eldest royal son in Jahanara: Princess of Princess. The Emperor was so happy that he had already sent out the first batch of orders to begin preparations for an imperial wedding. The Prince thinks that the sooner she can get here the better because he has met his intended on many occasions and is very taken with her.
    • The marriage between Sisi and Franz Jozef in Elisabeth: The Princess Bride seems to start out as this...but as revealed in the historical notes; their marriage collapsed until they were married in name only.
    • Kazunomiya's arranged marriage with Prince Arisugawa was Perfectly Arranged. Until her family decided to go back on it and re-arrange her marriage to the heir-apparent to the Shogunate instead.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • To show her status as the next queen of France Archduchess Antonia was dressed for the ball in violet blue satin with French lace sleeves ruffles with her hair most pimped out. It was piled up very high and woven into it were silk roses and toy birds with real feathers. This took four hours.
    • In Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without A Country at the liveliest ball of the season the queen wears her most dazzling costume ever in homage to the greatest poets in France and, most likely Europe.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Robin Dudley is Princess Elizabeth's best friend and the child she most enjoys spending time with.
  • Politically Active Princess: None of the main characters are expected to participate in politics because they're all under age. Many of them will never be expected to be political since they're supposed to just be the wife or sister of the king. Those who defy expectations are Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile who stands up for her father and country, in Latin, to General Pompey the Great, Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars, Kristina: The Girl King, and Elisabeth: The Princess Bride.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse:
    • Nzingha wants to hunt with her father once before she gets married which she gets to do and the men are impressed with her skill in Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba.
    • The princess of Anacaona: Golden Flower surprised her new husband with her skill with the spear. After that he welcomed her to train with the warriors.
  • Prince Charming:
    • Emperor Franz Joseph I, was able to win over Elisabeth because she considered him to be playful, considerate and charming.
    • In Isabel: Jewel of Castilla it takes less than two hours for Fernando, Prince of Aragon and King of Sicily, to steal the princess's heart with his humor, authority and imagination.
    • Archduchess Antonia is a princess who uses all her charms to get the king to reinstate her banished Lady-in-Waiting.
  • Prince Charmless:
    • In Catherine The Great Journey, by the time Catherine married the weak Manchild Peter III Of Russia he was disfigured from smallpox and refused to have anything to do with the country that he would one day rule.
    • Archduchess Antonia's "horrifying" first impression of her husband is that he is fat, oafish, pimply, dirty and silent.
  • Princess Classic: In ''Victoria: May Blossom Of Britannia'', the main character was an ambitious artist who would tear out her pages because she expressed sadness or anger in her desire to be good.
  • Princess for a Day: In Catherine: The Great Journey, the titular character has nothing nice enough to wear to the royal court until the king lets her borrow a gown belonging to the king's sister. When she has to return it, it reminds her of the story about the little ash girl who was beautiful until the stroke of midnight.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Borderline case in the book about Ka'iulani. After the coup d'etat that removes the Hawaiian royal family from power, Ka'iulani complains that the new President of Hawaii is not elected by the people. This completely ignores the fact that none of the previous rulers were elected by the people, and she didn't care too much. Granted, the Americans were no saints, to say the least, but the book seems to imply that autocratic rule is okay when the protagonists do it.
    • Two of the three previous rulers were elected by the people (well, some of them, anyway). When the previous ruler died without naming an heir, the next ruler had to be elected among suitable royals. Lunalilo, the future king, insisted.
  • Rebel Prince: When young King Chinpyong in Sondok, Princess of The Moon And Stars came to the throne he would hunt for days, completely ignoring the needs of the kingdom.
  • Rebellious Princess: Empress Elisabeth of Austria goes from being a carefree girl who enjoys spending time with the common people to a child, sold at fifteen and taking an oath she did not understand and could never undo.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Queen Kristina of Sweden from Kristina, The Girl King, wishes that she could be free of all restraints so that she can travel which she does do after abdicating the throne.
  • Rite of Passage:
    • Nzingha is presented at a coming-of-age dance to show her eligibility to marry in Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba.
    • Anacaona has a hair cutting ceremony to show that she has become a woman in Anacaona: Golden Flower.
    • Weetamoo and her friend Cedar, as future leaders, undergo a ceremony where they spend time alone, fasting and praying, and experience dreams and visions.
  • Royal Blood: Their birthright dictates that either her brother, Behechio, or the princess are to one day rule Xaragua in Anacaona: Golden Flower.
  • Royal Brat:
    • Though well-intentioned, the princess of Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba accuses her father's loyal adviser of wanting to betray them because he was from the invading people. Her father gets angry and she realizes that she has shamed her family.
    • The princess of Sŏndŏk: Princess of the Moon and Stars has the knowledge of the night sky but not the wisdom to keep it to herself when she feel that the king's guest is wrong. Because of her royal rank she feels that she should speak her mind in contrast to her father and his ambassador, and gets in trouble for it. She grows out of this later on.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: After Sonwha accuses her sister Princess Sondok of being in love with Chajang, a lower class boy, despite thinking to her self that that kind of talk makes all girls look simpleminded and ridiculous Sondok starts to realize that she is attracted to her friend.
  • She Is the King: Queen Kristina of Sweden from Kristina, The Girl King, not only was raised as a prince but by the end of the story she proved that she would be as great a king as any man and so the chancellor began referring to her as "king," the one who rules.
  • Small Reference Pools: The series started with some of the most well known princesses and queens (such as Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, and Cleopatra), but starting at about the sixth book they started mixing in some of the more obscure female rulers (such as Nzingha, Kazunomiya, and Anacaona).
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Can be invoked, if not in the books themselves, then by the reader. Isabel and Fernando are better known as Ferdinand and Isabella to, at least, American audiences, and Sondok is probably best known as Seondeok, thanks in part to the Korean drama of the same name. Justified by language differences and interpretations.
    • For the first half of Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, the protagonist is referred to as Antonia. (This is historically accurate: Marie Antoinette was actually born Maria Antonia and only took the name Marie Antoinette when she married; at the time, it wasn't uncommon for royal girls who married into a different country's nobility to have their names changed to a variation native to their new country.)
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sondok and Chajang in Sondok, Princess of the Moon and Stars, are constantly compared to the titular characters of the Korean tale of the Weaving Maid and Herd Boy, who were separated by a river in the sky and could only meet once a year.
  • Taking the Veil: Sondok mentions that her grandparents were unable to reconcile their Buddhist obligation not to kill with the need to defend their kingdom in war, so they abdicated the throne and entered a Buddhist monastery. Her friend Chajang enters the monastery for much the same reason, angering Sondok's father, who wanted him to take a position at court and eventually marry Sondok. Not long after, Sondok's father sets her mother Ma-ya aside to take a new queen, and Ma-ya chooses to enter the monastery rather than watch another woman take her place.
  • Tell Me Again: Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven:
    Kazunomiya: Tell me the story of the dragon ships.
    Auntie: Chikako, I tell you this story a million times. Now is not the time.
    Kazunomiya: Yes, it is. I shall roast you some beans - beans and green tea.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: A variation. Sondok in Sondok, Princess of the Moon and Stars, is the tomboy to her sisters Sonwha and Cheonmyeong's girly girls, in that she prefers stargazing and astronomical observations to weaving, and Sonwha and Cheonmyeong do more traditionally feminine activities such as dressing up and sewing.
  • Tomboy Princess: Anastasia would rather climb trees than dance while Archduchess Antonia's favorite activity is horse riding astride through the mud.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe:
    • In Kaiulani: The People's Princess she says that she will be getting a whole new wardrobe for her trip to England and lists some things that will go into it finishing with "Oh, there seems to be no end to it!" Also applicable to Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles and Elisabeth: The Princess Bride as they go off to become the queen of France and the Empress of Austria.
    • In Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal she says that she will have to change her clothes three times a day when she is queen to be able to wear everything that she is given.
  • Warrior Prince: Henry VIII commanded a massive invasion force against France to teach the French king about England's power.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Elizabeth I is frequently concerned that her father may hold contempt for her.
  • The Wise Prince:
    • In Catherine, The Great Journey, the Grand Duchess wondered how so much honor is bestowed on them, yet no power to help those who someday will be their subjects.
    • Queen Kristina, after seeing the suffering of her subjects who were in prison, begged her almoner to give them extra bread and meat and by the end of the story she notifies her adviser that she wishes to leave soon for the lengthy trip through Sweden so that she may get to know her country and her subjects.
    • Princess Sondok, heir of the kingdom of Silla, questions if rank can be so important that those without it are denied even a final resting place and when she sees the peasants hard at work it begins to make her ashamed of how much rice she leaves in her bowl every day.
    • Lady Eleanor feels that if the people have suffered because of her father's harshness than she is truly sorry and will try to make it up to them. Also when ever she hears about someone who unnecessarily did or could have become injured or died she makes an order to prevent it from happening again.
    • Princess Cleopatra talked with people and studied to learn many languages so that she would be able to communicate with her people and those of neighboring countries. Also, by the end of the book she decides that to become a good queen she she needs to get to know her people still better and will take a trip down the Nile.
    • Princess Jahanara sees the starving people that they pass by and can't stop thinking about them. When she sees a baby look at her she feels compelled to take it so she can give her a better life.
    • Princess Anacaona says that all she doesn't know what the future holds but whether as the ruler or a mother, whatever she does it will always be for the good of her people.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask:
    • To the peasants, their empress in ''Catherine: The Great Journey'' is pious. But at nightfall when the return to their huts, most of them are unable to see that she is quite the opposite once the sun sets.
    • Empress Maria Theresa looked at her daughter as if to say, We are rulers, Antonia. Majesty is required. Earlier the empress had gone wading in the fountain pool and she wants her daughter to understand the difference between this kind of behavior, which must be kept private, and the conduct of a queen, which is for the public.
  • Wretched Hive: This is pretty much the characterization of Ancient Rome.
    • Versailles has shades of it in Princess of Versailles as does the Tudor Court in Red Rose of England.


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