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Fallen Princess

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From princess to prisoner.

"To have learnt to live on the common level
Is better…
To be rich and powerful brings no blessing;
Only more utterly
Is the prosperous house destroyed, when the gods are angry."
Nurse, Medea

She's got everything: brains, good looks, perfect hair, shiny white teeth, and a body most people would kill for. Of course, this genetic good fortune comes with social perks — so it is that our beautiful heroine is on the cheerleading squad of her local school and dating a jock. She also does her best to avoid the nerds and outcasts, though usually just because she can't afford to lose credibility in her peers' eyes rather than because she's a bully. This is usually emphasized by making her best friend the Alpha Bitch.

But then something happens. Her family loses its fortune, she turns out to be The Chosen One, gets covered in radioactive green goo that gives her superpowers, or whatever. For whatever reason, the very thing that makes her a hero also makes her an outcast. Now she sits on the outskirts of her school's peer groups with a rag-tag bunch of fellow "losers". At first she regrets not being able to rejoin the jet set, but her drop in status opens her eyes to the goodness and decency of the people she once rejected. She becomes a better person, the geeks get a cool friend and all of them save the world and solve mysteries together.


Alternatively, the Fallen Princess can be a secondary character who's initially portrayed as the Alpha Bitch, but is revealed to be insecure or to have other sympathetic traits that make the audience like her, prior to her taking a leap down in the social strata.

This trope appears a lot in science fiction and fantasy shows since their target audience is generally exactly the same kind of geek that the princess ends up hanging out with. Thus they can simultaneously fetishize the cheerleader image while assuaging their perceived audience by confirming their beliefs that all cheerleaders (and people in the higher strata of the school system) are stuck up snobs, with few exceptions. It also lionizes the viewer by showing the geeks to be more interesting and "cool" in their own way than the cliques. Of course, the character doesn't have to be a cheerleader for it to work — just someone who's in a clique of attractive, desirable, and deeply unpleasant people.


Also could work perfectly with actual princesses (or just an upper-crust heroine). A low-life "peasant" or modern equivalent may fall in love with her. But in a random wave of unsurprising angst, says this line, most of the time word-for-word:

"She's a princess… and I'm… just a street rat…"

If a miracle doesn't interfere, he will then give up completely.

Contrast Alpha Bitch, and King of the Homeless. Compare the Ojou. Princess in Rags is a similar character, but while the Fallen Princess has her eyes opened by her loss of status and adapts to her situation, the Princess in Rags doesn't, remains arrogant and will keep fighting to regain what she lost until the bitter end, but without becoming wiser in the meantime.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • In the beginning of Black Clover, Noelle Silva is a royal who's essentially been exiled from the House of Silva because of her bad magic control and rejected from her family's squad, the Silver Eagles. She only joins the Black Bulls, the worst of the squads, thanks to Yami.
  • Yoruichi Shihouin from Bleach, who threw her life as the princess of one of the most noble Seireitei clans when her best friend Kisuke Urahara was framed for treason and ran away to Earth.
  • Code Geass has a "from bad to worse" example with actual royals — Prince Lelouch and Princess Nunnally were already pretty looked down on in the royal family because their mother, Empress Marianne, was a commoner. After her assassination, they are completely abandoned and exiled to a country their father the Emperor is about to invade. They survive only due to the Ashford family, a noble family that lost their rank because of association with Empress Marianne: Reuben Ashford helps them fake their deaths and live as commoner students — until Lelouch gets the titular power and becomes the masked rebel leader everyone knows and loves.
    • Subverted in that they actually got more respect as students in the school than they did as royalty, as did Reuben's daughter Milly — she's the Student Council President and Lelouch is her Vice President.
  • Cross Ange:
    • Angelise aka Ange starts the series as a princess and is then outed to everyone (and herself as well) as a Norma. She's then arrested and shipped off to a hellhole of a prison where she's told her only value is in piloting mechas in highly dangerous battles against dragons.
    • Her Creepy Child sister Sylvia, at the end of the series, becomes this when Ange refuses to take her in to the new world.
  • Lamda Nom from Dangaioh turns out to be this, as she's the Sole Survivor of her royal family.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Namari's family served the Island's lord before her father ran away and stole money. Her father's action not only ruined the family name but also made the lord hates dwarves.
  • Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics adapts several stories told by the Grimm Brothers, therefore it features fallen princesses. Some of these tales are the below mentioned "Snow White", "Cinderella", Elise from "The Six Swans" and the Haughty Princess from "King Thrusbeard", but there's also their adaptation of "The Coat of Many Colors/Allerleirauh" (where a princess runs away from her kingdom after her father goes mad and tries to force her to marry him and spends years as a Scullery Maid), and some male examples like Elise's brothers from "The Six Swans", the Prince from "The Water of Life" (who's forced away from his lands after being falsely accused of attempted patricide) and the Prince from "Rapunzel" (who spends years as a blind traveler, searching for the missing Rapunzel; once he finds her and meets their son, the three head to the Prince's realm and are warmly welcomed there).
  • The Gundam series has a long history showcasing this trope.
  • Countess Larissa Mikhailovna from Haikara-san ga Tooru, who lost literally everything after the Russian Revolution.
  • Another male example: Mamoru Takamura from Hajime no Ippo, disinherited by his rich family because of his violent behavior. He finds solace in boxing and a sort-of adoptive family in the Kamogawa gym.
  • Margot from Hana no Ko Lunlun is a beautiful girl from Blue Blood, but she and her father have lost pretty much all of their wealth and they're pressured by a rich Dirty Old Man who wants to force her into marriage. Luckily for her, Lunlun arrives in her life and decides to help her.
  • A male version in Haou Airen. Hakuron was a Chinese nobleman, and he and his Missing Mom tried to escape from his abusive father. Upon being recaptured, Hakuron's mother urged kid Hakuron to leave her behind, and he had to do so. It went From Bad to Worse soon afterwards.
  • Izumi Himuro from Princess Nine starts the series as an almost literal princess. From a good (rich) family, going to a good (all girls) school (where her mom is the chair of the board), championship tennis player, and childhood friends with the future star of the (brother-school) baseball team. Quickly she finds out that her mother is forming a girls' baseball team (to play in the boys' league), and is taking a LOT of interest in their prodigy pitcher (as is her childhood friend). She drops tennis and takes a crash course in baseball, at first to destroy the team (in a challenge) later to prove something to her mother (and keep an eye on that pitcher/hussy). By the end of the story, she's batting cleanup and driving the team to victory at all costs but isn't speaking with her mother and she's lost her "boyfriend". As her (American) voice actress said, "Izumi has...issues."
    • The dodgeball master and elite high schooler Eiko: as we begin to see her as less prissy and cruel with even a few sympathetic traits, she's seen less and less with her other elite friends and more with the possible, plucky love interest Naoya (who's a second year, the people she formerly tormented).
  • Oriko Mikuni from Puella Magi Oriko Magica, who once was the most popular and rich girl in her social circle and her school until her father's dirty businesses were revealed and he committed suicide. When Kyuubey found her, Oriko was about to fall into Death by Despair after being abandoned by literally everyone.
  • This is essentially the series metatrope of Revolutionary Girl Utena, with various characters, including Anthy, Kanae, Mrs. Ohtori, and Akio of all people... all playing with this trope in a harsh deconstruction of both prince and princess tropes.
  • Juliet from Romeo X Juliet, is unknowingly the true Crown Princess of Neo Verona, being the last of the Capulets, that was sent into hiding when she was a child after Lord Montague murdered her entire family and usurped control of the floating continent.
  • Minako Aino/Sailor Venus of Sailor Moon became this from her duties as a hero. She isn't stated to come from a rich family, nor is she an Alpha Bitch, but she was the only Senshi besides Usagi to have a completely happy childhood. She was athletic, talented, and well-liked by her peers. Upon becoming Sailor V, peers started shunning her because working as Sailor V left her too busy for a social life. At the end of Codename: Sailor V, she learned that her love interest was a Dark Kingdom member, and she had to kill him, knowing that though she was the soldier of love, she'd never get to fall in love, because her duty would always come before all, even her own personal happiness. Unlike Ami, Rei, or Makoto, who were all loners until they became each others' and Usagi's True Companions right after becoming Senshi, her status as a Senshi actually made her life worse, at least until she found companionship in her fellow Senshi, a year after becoming Sailor V.
  • Sara from Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry. And the other anime based on A Little Princess, Princess Sarah, as well.
  • Doc from Texhnolyze.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms:
    • Youko herself goes through a brief one at the beginning of the series. Though not a princess, she does go through the standard development of being very cowardly and quick-to-crying before transitioning into a short selfish phase where she fights only for herself. She finally reconciles this when she decides to fight to survive and to protect those who are close to her.
    • Shoukei began as a sheltered and snobby Royal Brat, then she lost everything when her Knight Templar parents were slain in a rebellion. It took her a lot of time and a brutal Break the Haughty process to grow out of her mentality and develop into a better person.
    • The King of En, Shoryuu, was a male example, as a Japanese warlord who was on the losing side of a feudal war. He then was contacted by Enki, the kirin of En, and accepted to become the sovereign.
  • Mio of The World God Only Knows becomes this after her Capture, accepting her more modest lifestyle and even taking a part-time job to help her family.
  • Yona from Yona of the Dawn, which aired the same season as Cross Ange, incidentally, even though its storytelling goes in a very different direction. The story begins with Yona's 16th birthday party, where her biggest worry is that the boy she likes doesn't like her back... but then that night that boy kills her father, the king, forcing her and her bodyguard to flee the palace and embark on a long and arduous journey where she gradually learns what life is really like in her country, gains important allies, and matures as a person.
  • Lulu Yurigasaki from Yuri Kuma Arashi. Her back story reveals her to have been a spoiled princess that became jealous of her little brother, leading to his accidental death. After she met Ginko, she abandoned her kingdom to follow her across the Wall of Severance and tries to help her as atonement.

    Comic Books 
  • Jadina in Les Légendaires; she was originally princess of the Kingdom of Orchidia, but her relationship with her parents started to be strained when she refused an Arranged Marriage to instead become an adventurer and form a team of heroes with a knight that shares her ideals. After said team accidentally provoked a magical incident that turned everyone on the planet into children, she was banished from her kingdom, disowned, and forced to live like a peasant until she and her friends decided to reform the team despite their Hero with Bad Publicity status.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Adalmina's Pearl", this is the main plot. Adalmiina's fall is very hard, too: she goes from a spoiled, ultimately intelligent, extremely beautiful, unbelievably rich princess to literal rags in a moment (A faerie godmother did it.), and also loses her looks, smarts, and even her memory.
  • The Brothers Grimm's fairy tales have some of these:
    • The main character from "King Thrushbeard" is a princess who is such an Alpha Bitch that she doesn't consider any of her suitors worthy of her hand. Eventually, her frustrated father forces her to marry a poor peddler. One Humiliation Conga and a "My God, What Have I Done?" later, the peddler is revealed to the eponymous king, whom the princess had mocked earlier, and who officially marries her once she has stopped being a Rich Bitch and become a better person.
    • The protagonist from "The Six Swans" is a princess who must run away after her six brothers were turned into swans, trying to fulfill the huge tasks that will lead to her undoing the spell and attempting to put herself outta the reach of their Wicked Stepmother. The brothers also count, as they're princes stripped from their human forms for years.
    • In "Maid Maleen", the titular princess is imprisoned in a tower by her father, who hopes to force her into accept an arranged marriage. When Maleen breaks out of the tower, her father's kingdom has been destroyed, and she finds herself wandering around the countryside and living off nettle leaves until she manages to get a job as a scullery maid.
  • The above mentioned "The Six Swans" has several similar variations ("The Twelve Wild Ducks", Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans", etc.) with near-identical plots involving a Fallen Princess who struggles to release her also fallen and now bewitched brothers from spells.
  • In Catherine and Her Fate, Catherine, the beautiful only child of a rich merchant, chooses to be happy in her old age rather than her youth. And then she finds that she can be very, very miserable and poor in her youth.

     Fan Works 
  • In The Bridge Adagio Dazzle fits this figuratively and literally. She is still snide, scheming, and proud Alpha Bitch; but deep down she's a Lovable Alpha Bitch and all of her behavior is born out of stress from caring for her cousin and baby sister after her aunt Hymnia died when they were outcast of no fault of their own. She is also literally royalty as her mother, Melpomene was the crown princess with her and her little sister Hymnia being daughters of the mermare queen.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic build your wings on the way down, Gabby/Catherine Armstrong is implied to have had a falling out with her family since she lives in a crumbling apartment with her Ishvalan boyfriend and attends university. Also she told Hughes to tell her brother to "go fuck himself."
  • Olga from The Night Unfurls takes this trope to the next level, as she starts off as The Dreaded Queen of the Dark Elves, only to suffer defeat in the hands of the Black Dogs, and is taken prisoner. She even goes through an extra Break the Haughty sequence in the remastered version.
  • In RWBY: Destiny of Remnant, Anastasia Bloom and her family were well off before the Schnees' bought them out.
  • Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Woman is a partial example. While she's certainly got the beauty, talent, and apparent social standing to qualify as a "princess", and she now only hangs out with a few close friends while struggling to make ends meet, her powers have nothing to do with her isolation and her friends aren't really geeks.

     Film — Animated 
  • Anastasia, though she doesn't know she's one due to Trauma-Induced Amnesia.
  • Cinderella was more of a noble girl than princess, but had lived a life of happy luxury before her father remarried and then died, the family wealth was squandered, and she was abused and forced to become a servant by her Wicked Stepmother.
  • The Lion King features a Fallen Prince, in the form of Simba: Once a naive, curious cub, now a guilt-ridden lion who's lost faith in himself. Fortunately, he's encouraged by his father's spirit (and getting beaned in the noggin with a stick) and pulls through.
  • Snow White was born a princess but, like Cinderella, was forced to do the chores, dress in rags, and never leave the castle by her Wicked Stepmother and local Witch, who hoped to ruin her good looks. After nearly being murdered, she's forced to go through the scary forest and hide out in a cottage, where she takes over housework for the Dwarves. After the death of the Witch and being given a True Love's Kiss, she probably reclaimed her birthright with the help of the Prince and reinforced it by marrying said Prince.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope is revealed at the end to have been this.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • The movie Heathers revolves around the sole non-Heather member of a clique of girls named Heather, who, with the help of an attractive but weird loner, decides to get back at them for their bullying ways with pranks which, though initially innocent, quickly turn into a killing spree.
  • A variation happens to Cady in Mean Girls where she's a Cool Loser to start the film off, then she becomes the Alpha Bitch and realizes how much that life sucks before going back to her original self. Also happens to Regina who discovers that the whole school actually hates her but then reforms, joining the field hockey team to work on her anger issues. The end implies that she is a bit nicer as well. Janis used to be popular, but her reputation was destroyed by a rumor and she now willingly embraces outsiderdom.
  • Glinda in Oz the Great and Powerful, her father, the King of Oz, is murdered after being poisoned by Evanora, who frames Glinda with the crime of Patricide, forcing her to flee from the Emerald City to the South.
  • Lilli in Snow White: A Tale of Terror. She's forced to run away and try and live in the wild.

  • The protagonist of Siobhan Parkinson's Amelia begins the story as a wealthy teenager, whose father runs a successful business. It goes bankrupt halfway through the book, forcing the family to move to a tiny inner-city house. Amelia's father starts drinking, her mother is imprisoned for suffragette activities (it's 1914) and her brother gets seriously ill. And of course Amelia gets looked down on by her former friends.
  • In Patricia A. McKillip's The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Saro, after the magic renders her mute and dazed, ends up a Scullery Maid.
  • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Tej falls from being a Jacksonian Baron's daughter to being a shopgirl. And then gets married to Ivan Vorpatril and rises again to be a cousin-in-law of an emperor.
  • The Ruritanian princess Elisaveta Arnsonira in the Chalet School series becomes a literal example of this during the war years. She and her children are forced to flee her home country of Belsornia because of Nazi activity, and she moves to England and works as a cleaner to support herself, while her father takes up farming. After the war, Belsornia becomes a republic and she changes her name to 'Mrs Helston' after her American mother-in-law. Like Sara Crewe, however, she is Spoiled Sweet rather than being a stuck-up snob.
  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Thieves, Thena is the daughter and heiress of one of Earth's ruling Good Men. Then she has to flee his ship and ends up in a different culture.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, Princess Melodía goes from being Emperor's daughter to a fugitive on the run and gets an entire Break the Haughty subplot before reinventing herself as a Warrior Princess fighting for the people of Providence.
  • Laurana in the Dragonlance novels is a Spoiled Sweet elven princess with a 100% Adoration Rating until she runs away from home to try and win back her half human ex-boyfriend. She is then completely ostracized for disgracing her family. When she returns home she is snubbed by everyone, her brother cruelly mocks her romantic difficulties and her father publicly calls her a whore and ends up disinheriting her. She still goes on to become the Golden General.
  • Dune: Princess Irulan Corrino is a borderline example, since she technically never leaves her position. However, she is an intelligent, diligent and beautiful woman, her father's designated heir and his most beloved child. Then her father chose to cross blades with House Atreides. By the end of the first book, Irulan is trapped in a political marriage with a man who openly despises her and literally will not speak to her unless necessity demands it, while showering favor on his concubine. Also, her husband has taken her father's throne, removed her from the line of succession, and only grants her the bare minimum of power (and, for that matter, personal agency) needed to maintain the fiction that house Corrino is still involved in ruling The Empire.
  • Deconstructed in Flowers in the Attic. Corrine comes from vast wealth and gave it all up to marry her husband but once he's dead she won't work and returns to her family, hoping to be rich again. She ends up trying to kill off her own children just to get her inheritance.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Honour Guard, Kolea tells Curth that in joining the Ghosts, she has become this, since the two of them were not of anything like equal status back home — she would never have known his name. She shrugs it off: she knows many people of his status now.
  • A basic example is A Little Princess when Sara feels like she's lost everything, ending when she remembers again that she is still a princess and is taken in by her Disappeared Dad's best friend.
  • Wallace Wallace in Gordon Korman's No More Dead Dogs is a rare male example of this trope: he's a benchwarmer who accidentally scored the winning goal of the football final. The next year, he gets detention and can't play for the team. He ends up hanging out with the theater nerds and... you can figure out where it goes from there.
  • In Andre Norton's Ordeal in Otherwhere, Charis Nordhalm was the beloved and well-educated daughter of a government official when a mysterious plague and religious fanaticism left her trying to flee a mob — who catch her and try to sell her to a Free Trader. She ends up signing the indefinite duration contract as her best choice. When she is recounting her story to Shann Lantee, he is shocked and surprised to hear of it; he clearly thought her position would be a result of a much lower social position.
  • In the Chivalric Romance Robert of Cisyle, the king makes the boast that when God humbles the proud and exalts the lowly, it doesn't mean him. An angel steals his clothing while he bathes, and takes his place, leaving him a beggar.
  • In Thai Literature Sanonoi Reungham, Princess Sanonoi has to leave her kingdom when she is 15-years-old due to her bringing calamity to her people. She easily adapted to the life of a peasant girl and went through many hardships before finding happiness and marry Prince Wichitchinda.
  • The Scholomance: One of the freshmen El found herself sharing a study period with at the start of The Last Graduate, a Thai girl named Sudarat, bore equipment and signs of training that marked her as an Enclaver who had been given years of preperation for The Scholomance with no concern for expense. While this is true, it is soon revealed that the Bangkok enclave was obliterated under unknown circumstances while Sudarat was taking her grandmother's dog out for a walk shortly before induction. An aunt who was working in Shanghai scraped together everything she could spare for her; but all the upperclassmen from Bangkok abandoned Sudarat in a scramble to look to themselves leaving her an un-affiliated (at best given how she is being actively avoided) 'loser' of no particular talent, no resources save what is in the book-bag she will risk her life to hang onto, and well below average chances of surviving the next four years.
  • In Joan D. Vinge's The Snow Queen and its sequels, BZ Gundhalinu is a male example: coming from the upper level of an extremely hierarchical society, he's thrown into unfamiliar circumstances by bad luck, attempts suicide because of the dishonor of it, and then realizes that life is actually better outside his former world.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several examples:
    • Daenerys Targaryen is a fallen princess since birth. She was born during a rebellion to a family that ruled the Seven Kingdoms for centuries and lives in exile with her brother and several supporters. She starts discovering her butt-kicking powers towards the end of A Game of Thrones.
    • Sansa Stark has a gradual fall from power. She starts out as the daughter of one of the most powerful lords in Westeros, is betrothed to the Crown Prince, and arrives at court as the future Queen. After war breaks out, she becomes a prisoner and suffers considerable abuse at the hands of her future in-laws; however, she still carries some status as a valuable hostage, being the sister of the newly crowned (rebel) King of the North and leader of the opposing army. After her brother is killed, his forces decimated, and she's fled the capital, she's forced to disguise herself as her Evil Mentor's bastard daughter and pretends to be an absolute bitch for her own safety. On the flipside, she has become a smarter, better person for it.
    • Sansa's younger tomboyish sister Arya is a more traditional version, as she escapes being captured and disguises herself as a commoner. She experiences the horrors of war as one of the smallfolk, including joining the mass of refugees fleeing invading armies and being taken prisoner at Harrenhal. She also encounters multiple nobles without anyone realizing who she is. A slightly different case from Sansa, as Arya was something of an outcast among other noble girls even before her fall, felt insecure about being a lady, and was very friendly with the small folk from the beginning.
  • A duke's daughter Angelica in Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs, clearly expresses in her first meeting with Olivia, that she expects commoners to be disgusting and rude, only to be surprised by Olivia's manners (since Leon arranged to have her taught). Angelica was also cold and strict, treating her fiance like a misbehaving child, due to his complete disregard for his responsibilities as a prince. Her downfall, was challenging his lover to a duel, which revealed that her "followers" and vassals, were Fair Weather Friends, and despite the duel being won by Leon, the engagement was broken, she was heartbroken, and her family's influence reduced. Thus, she Took a Level in Kindness, and gets along with a commoner and poor nobles who she would never have spoken to before while ignoring her followers who'd abandon her. The trope is Played With in two ways:
    • Angelica's pre-fall habits came back to bite her hard, when a bully drives Olivia and her apart by bringing up the things she used to say about commoners, resulting in Angelica feeling immensely guilty, and Olivia feeling like she's nothing more than a pet in her eyes.
    • Despite Angelica herself going through the transformation, her noble house still retains a good deal of power. In fact, Angelica's father acts as a sort of Poisonous Friend, crushing the noble households of those who cross her and her friends.
  • Princess Vivenna of Warbreaker. Leaves her country behind to rescue her little sister from an arranged marriage to someone everybody thinks is a Physical God Evil Overlord, falls in with a pair of mercenaries working against said Physical God who agree to help her only they turn out to be working for the real Big Bad and Vivenna has to run for it, at which point she spends several chapters as a beggar and amateur pickpocket before finally getting back on her feet with a little help from Vasher.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy had an opportunity to enter the top cliques, but declines. After her vampire-bustin' ways freaked the cheerleaders out, the offer was rescinded. We're also frequently reminded in early seasons, once via an actual Flash Back, that before learning about her powers and moving to Sunnydale, Buffy was a popular and slightly shallow cheerleader and even Prom Queen in her last school.
    • Head cheerleader Cordelia Chase also dropped out of the top tier when her relationship with Xander led to her hanging out with Buffy. Cordelia then loses her money as well ("...Daddy made a little mistake on his taxes. For the last twelve years."), and ends up a big-time demon-huntress on Angel.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation:
    • Ashley Kerwin. In the first season, she's the most popular girl in school, but she must constantly guard against her rival Paige. In the first season finale, she falls from grace. She doesn't become friends with the geeks in the second season — she becomes a total outcast. Everybody shuns her except a creepy goth girl, who becomes her mentor. Under the goth's tutoring, Ashley slowly learns how to cope, and how to discover her "real self," rather than the snob she used to be.
    • Holly J is a full-fledged Alpha Bitch. During most of Seasons 7 and 8, she's a complete bitch in social groups, but in one-on-one interactions, she's almost personable (so it seems she only acts like a bitch). Her family suffers a three-season-long Broke Episode, her attempts to cover that up destroy her social circle entirely, and her only friend is her boss at the local coffee shop. It turns out she has trouble letting people get close. Over Seasons 9 and 10, she builds a new social circle but still has very few close friends.
  • On Glee, Alpha Bitch Quinn becomes pregnant despite being president of the celibacy club. She is then embarrassed in front of the school, kicked off the cheerleading squad, and forced to move in with her boyfriend after her parents kick her out of the house. And it only got worse when it was revealed that the baby's father was actually her boyfriend's best friend. She later subverts the Character Development that you usually get from this trope — after she gives the baby up for adoption, she does her damndest to get her status back, and her goal of Season 2 is to become prom queen, no matter what the cost — even if it means cheating on her boyfriend and, when she doesn't become Prom Queen, conspiring to get the Glee club disqualified from Nationals out of spite and jealousy. Strangely, she could still count as a Princess in Rags — while she has some of her popularity back, her desire to be popular again stems from the idea that there's no real future for her, and that the best she can do is be the popular girl, get an average job and marry someone like Finn.
  • Claire Bennet from Heroes used to be the school's most popular cheerleader and kept her friendship with indie kid Zach a secret from everyone. However, after turning against a jock who tried to rape her, she found herself rejected by the cheerleaders and accepted by pretty much everyone else in the school, resulting in her being voted homecoming queen.
  • Series 2 of Hex has this happen to Ella Dee and Roxanne Davenport. Ella is initially welcomed into the popular crowd because she's a Badass Longcoat with a tough no-nonsense attitude. Unfortunately, after being dosed with St John's Wort, spending time in a mental institution and after most of the school has fallen under Malachi's sway, she ends up as an outsider with only Thelma and Leon for company. Roxanne becomes this after her affair with Jez is exposed and he is found hanged in the school chapel. A number of students, including Roxanne herself, blame her for his death and she's shunned as a result.
  • Skylar Stevens in Jericho (2006) starts out as a spoiled rich kid, and then warms up to local misfit Dale Turner.
  • Alain, the youngest prince of Ganma in Kamen Rider Ghost is a rare male example. He was making preparations for the invasion on Earth until his brother's betrayal followed by being framed for their father's killer forced him on the run. His situation was not made any better by the emotional turmoil heaped on him, but he would get better eventually.
  • Averted in Lost. Boone comes from a wealthy family and gave off the overall impression of a young man who had never worked a day in his life and had stuff handed to him. From the very start, he takes to island living easily and is probably the most likeable moral character in the series, characterised by his helpful attitude. Played straight with his sister Shannon though.
  • Popular's Brooke McQueen fits this quite well. She's a good person but she is afraid of being unpopular. She comes to realize that it's what is inside that counts.
  • Subverted in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, "Geek Like Me": Sabrina used magic to make Libby become a geek, intending that this fall from popularity would teach her to become a nicer person the way most Fallen Princesses do. However, she quickly proved that her usual personality was In the Blood, too strong to be changed by magic. Before long, she had given herself a hot new Nerds Are Sexy look, and had made the science club into the same kind of exclusive clique (with herself as the boss) that the cheerleading squad used to be. And she was now picking on Sabrina for not being nerdy enough. This change was no better than the way things were before, so there was nothing for it but to change Libby back.
  • Alexis Rose on Schitt's Creek has lost her money and her status as a social media princess and socialite, but unlike the rest of her family, after the first episode she is rarely troubled by this turn of events and adjusts to her situation. She does experience significant Character Development as she learns the ins and outs of dating and working without the safety net of her wealth.
  • In Season 1 of Teen Wolf, Lydia was hiding her intelligence and skill to remain popular. By Season 2, after disappearing and running around naked for two days because she was bitten by a werewolf, Lydia loses her popularity to the point where no one from her school (other than her close friends and the people they invited) shows up for her birthday party.
  • Caroline Channing from 2 Broke Girls is the daughter of a wealthy investor who was arrested for perpetrating a massive Ponzi scheme. With the family assets frozen, she is left homeless and penniless, eventually forced to work as a waitress in a Greasy Spoon. Now she is trying to build a cupcake business with her fellow waitress Max, using the skills she learned from party planning and business school.
  • Veronica Mars doesn't have any superpowers, but when her sheriff father arrests the town's benefactor for the murder of his own daughter, Veronica's best friend, pretty much everyone in her clique of high school elite friends turns against her, resulting in her being date-raped. This in turn leads to her transformation into the Veronica we know. As she pours her energy into solving her friend's murder, she rapidly gains the super detective skills and world-weary attitude of a professional PI twice her age.

    Myths & Religion 
  • According to Kabbalah mysticism, the Shekhinah ("Presence"), a feminine divinity, was cast out when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and now wanders the world disconsolate. Jewish fairytales involving exiled princesses may be seen as metaphors for this idea.
  • In Japanese Mythology, a girl named Hachikatsugi-hime ("the princess with a wooden bowl hat") runs away from her rich household after the death of her mother and the arrival of a Wicked Stepmother. She ends up working as a maid for another rich family, then the son of her bosses falls for her... The woodden bowl hat hides a Bag of Holding with the stuff Hachikatsugi needs to bypass her boss' Parental Marriage Veto and become a princess again.

     Video Games 
  • Nina of Breath of Fire II is a literal fallen princess, shunned by her kingdom for her black wings, which are thought to be a curse, caused by her ancestor, presumably the Nina from the first Breath of Fire I, marrying outside the clan, presumably to Ryu, also hero of the first game.
    • Nina from Breath of Fire III is an even better example; she left behind the life of a princess because she preferred life outside the castle, helping to fix the kingdom's problems, to her pampered life in the castle.
  • Pinky in Bully fits this trope perfectly.
  • Lucette from Cinderella Phenomenon starts out as a cold-hearted princess who treats everyone around her with contempt. She becomes cursed by a witch to go from Riches to Rags with almost everyone losing their memories of her being the crown princess and the rest of the story focuses on her long, slow journey to learn how to perform three good deeds to break her curse.
  • A Dance with Rogues is pretty much This Trope: The Game (Mod). You play as a Sheltered Aristocrat of a princess and the game opens with a neighboring empire of Dhorn conquering her father's kingdom in a flash. The invaders massacre her family and she only survives because a Thieves' Guild infiltrator takes pity on her... but not before raping her. Now reduced to the lowest social stratum, the princess must work for that very Thieves' Guild as a petty thief in hopes that they will keep her safe from the Dhorn.
  • Rozalin of Disgaea 2. One day she's living in complete luxury (if entirely isolated), and the next she's pulled into the Veldime equivalent of Kansas against her will and tearing her dress in the woods.
  • The female Human Noble Origin from Dragon Age: Origins could also apply, depending on how you RP the character. You are not a princess, but you are the daughter of the second-highest-ranking noble in the country, so that should count for something. Especially because you lose your entire family and become a Grey Warden. Of course, by the end of the game, you can become the Queen of Ferelden... not a bad trade-off, there.
    • This may actually apply to the female Dwarf Noble Origin more, as you actually ARE a princess in that origin. However, you don't get to become Queen at the end of that game. You do get to become a Paragon, though, which is much more awesome.
  • Dragon Quest V: Prince Harry was a pampered, spoiled and obnoxious brat. Then he was kidnapped by the Big Bad's minions and made a slave together with the Hero. When they manage to escape from their masters, ten years later, Harry's hubris and mean-spiritedness have been thoroughly beaten out of him.
  • Final Fantasy IX has Princess Garnet, who notices her mother's erratic behaviour and runs off with a band of thieves to try and help out. She becomes a fugitive and is promptly sentenced to death by her mother. She ends up becoming a queen though.
  • Final Fantasy XII has Princess Ashe, who faked her own suicide so she could lead the resistance. She wants to ascend the throne to save the kingdom but has no proof that she is really royalty. Thus the game's plot kicks in.
  • Fire Emblem has many fallen princes and princesses, either in the backstory or in in-game:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Echoes: Shadows of Valentia:
      • Anthiese a.k.a. Celica is one of late King Lima the IV's two surviving concubine children after a deadly coup claimed her father's life, as well as her half-sibling’s life. Though the half-sibling is revealed to have survived later on. She's been in hiding since childhood and it takes a good half of the story for her to be able to formally reclaim her birthright, among other things. The other surviving child is her half-brother Conrad, believed to have perished, but in actuality raised away from her and also hidden: he returns to protect Celica as a masked knight and support her.
      • The end of Chapter 4 reveals that Alm is actually the son of Emperor Rudolf and rightful heir to the Rigelian throne; he was sent into hiding as an infant and never knew of his heritage until he kills his own father in combat.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War:
      • Princess Tailtiu of Friege becomes one. She still gets to live in her older brother Bloom's palace with her daughter Tine, but is branded as a traitor by her people and horribly abused by her bitch of a stepsister, Hilda. If Tailtiu instead dies childless, she's mentioned to have died in the war, and her younger sister Ethnia is the one who takes her place as fallen princess alongside her daughter Linda.
      • Seliph. His grandfather Byron was killed in a conspiracy by his fellow noblemen, his dad Sigurd is killed off and falsely branded as a traitor post-mortem, his Missing Mom Deirdre becomes the Empress of Grannvale but only after being brainwashed and later she dies too, and he's living in a very sheltered and secluded environment before becoming a Rebel Prince and starting to fight to conclude his father's mission.
      • Seliph's army includes another fallen prince: Shannan of Isaach, who as a child witnessed the horrible deals that brought the huge mess that Jugdral is into alongside his aunt Ayra, and now is physically strong enough to fight back and help those in need.
    • Thracia 776 has more fallen noblemen: besides Leif and Nanna (rightful prince of Leonster and second princess of Nordion, both forced into seclusion), Galzus was the prince of the small kingdom of Rivough, which was destroyed and annexed by Isaac years ago; he barely escaped from all of it alongside his daughter, Mareeta. Then there's Princess Miranda of Alster, forced to hide and run away when her land is invaded as well.
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade:
      • Princess Guinevere, who had to run away from the kingdom of Bern to escape from her embittered older brother King Zephiel.
      • Lilina from Ostia was this close to becoming this after her dad's death, but after being whacked with the Distress Ball she recovers and joins Roy's troupe, and her ending says she recovered her kingdom.
      • Sue, granddaughter of the chieftain of the Kutolah tribe, finds herself separated from them in an attack from Bern and captured. Her personal ending doesn't completely leave clear if she's able to revive the Kutolah, but it does say she returned to the plains.
      • Prince Myrddin from Etruria, aka Elffin the Bard. He returns to Etruria triumphantly if he lives to the end of the game.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • Lyndis's mother Madelyn, who chose to run away from her father's castle in Caelin than losing her Sacaean boyfriend, Chieftain Hassar of the Lorca.
      • "Lyn" herself. She was the princess of the Lorca tribe... then they were all slaughtered before the game even started, leaving her completely alone. Her share of the story has her learning about her maternal family and racing against time to meet her grandfather.
      • A minor example would be Rath, prince of the Kutolah tribe. He was exiled due to a prophecy saying that he had to search for his destiny on his own. He's a bit luckier, though, since his solo ending says he's taken back by the tribe.
      • And Priscilla and Raven, too. Their Ostian clan was destituted for corruption, their parents were Driven to Suicide, she was adopted by other nobles in Etruria, he became a mercenary alongside his retainer.
    • Fire Emblem Tellius has Princess Elincia, who escaped from Daein's assault on Crimea purely through virtue of the fact that her birth was kept hidden. The plot of the game revolves around freeing Crimea and placing Elincia on the throne, a task made more difficult because her birth was hidden.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has Say'ri, Warrior Princess of Chon'sin, whose realm is taken over by the Empire of Valm. She becomes a member of La Résistance, then joins the Shepherds. Additionally there's Chrom's Kid from the Future Lucina, who is this after the Bad Future takes over her realm. Her sibling (either M!Morgan, Cynthia, Kjelle, Inigo, or Brady), whether male or female, and cousin, Owain, will fit in here as well.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has Azura (daughter of the dead King of Valla, first raised in Nohr and later in Hoshido) and the Heirs of Fates' versions of both Kanas, Shiro, Kiragi, Siegbert and Forrest (sole survivors of their worlds, which fell victim to bad endings).
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, all routes other than Crimson Flower lead to Dimitri being ousted from Faerghus in a coup after the end of Part I, and he spends the timeskip on the run living as a vagrant.
  • According to the JPN flyers and console ports, Tyris Flare from Golden Axe is the princess of a nearby kingdom that was invaded by Death Adder years before the action takes place. Her parents were killed in the invasion (and her mother the Queen died protecting her), and Tyris shaped herself into a powerful and stripperiffic Action Heroine to take revenge.
  • Shirogane Le Bel Sakuya can fit into this trope, or "Fallen Prince" anyway, in Hatoful Boyfriend. He is the young, arrogant heir to the powerful noble Le Bel family and is a wealthy, prideful brat with a love of music, which has been forbidden to him by his father. His route consists of a rather gentle Break the Haughty / Defrosting Ice King as he comes to depend more and accept different things from the heroine, including the idea that he can and should pursue his passion. In the perfect route when he tells his father, at the end, he is disowned and has to live with the heroine in a cave on some straw... but he performs in concerts.
  • Injustice 2: After being disgraced and arrested at the end of previous game, Princess Diana alias Wonder Woman becomes one due to joining the Regime and being an accomplice to Superman's reign of terror. She lives now in exile in the country of Kandaq under Black Adam's protection and seeks to restore the Regime by freeing Superman from his prison, as well as reclaim her birthright. In her Arcade Ending, she succeeds in these goals and attacks Paradise Island with her allies to force her former Amazon sisters to submit.
  • Jade Empire's Silk Fox/Sun Lian. Literally. Though only after her father dies and her uncle takes over.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Princess Zelda fits this category in some of the games. In Ocarina of Time she's forced to spend seven years in exile as Sheik while Ganondorf ravages her kingdom, in Wind Waker she's the last heir of a fallen royal line doomed to wander the oceans, in Twilight Princess her throne is usurped by Zant right before her coronation, and in Breath of the Wild her kingdom is destroyed and most of the people she cares about are killed at the hands of Calamity Ganon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Midna definitely qualifies as well. Not only is she the princess of the Twilight Realm, Zant seized power and cursed her with an imp's form, leading to Midna's fall from grace and a struggle to regain what she once had.
  • Mace: The Dark Age: Namira is revealed to be this in her arcade ending. She was an Arab princess whose family was murdered by the King of Assassins and sold to slavery by one of her own guards. She was sent into a Royal Harem where she is taught how to fight by one of the court's eunuchs and embarks on a revenge quest against her family's killer. She may regain her lost glory in her own ending... Or end up in an even worse position than before in Al Rashid's ending where she becomes his brainwashed Sex Slave.
  • Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken Hen has a male example with none other than The Hero[[The Reveal, Christopher MacLeod: he's actually Prince Conor of the fallen Parmet Kingdom, thanks to the schemes of Orcadia, an Empire bent on the conquest and domination of Zardos Continent. Conor is on a quest of revenge again Orcadia, not because of his fallen kingdom and the loss of his parents (he was 4 at the time, thus too young to remember them), but because when he was 12, Orcadia's men discovered him and his beloved little sister Melinda, captured and atrociously tortured them, to the point that Melinda died under the torture's shock. If the right conditions are met in your playthrough, Conor can achieve his revenge, destroy Orcadia, and become the King of the restored Parmet Kingdom.
  • Octopath Traveler has Primrose Azelhart, a once-wealthy noblewoman until her father was murdered by three mysterious men with crow tattoos. Left destitute by his death and the loss of her home, her search for revenge led her to become a dancer in a tavern with the implication she also had to prostitute herself to get by. However, she endures the loss of her honor in her effort to find her father's killers.
  • Visual novels under the Purple Moon banner. Try to make friends with the Alpha Bitch, and every single time, something will backfire and make her hate you.
  • Averted by Natalia in Tales of the Abyss. While she wasn't actually born into the royal family, but a replacement for the stillborn princess, the citizens of Baticul and her father still defend her because she's done so much good for the kingdom.

     Web Comics 
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! this apparently happened to Princess Voluptua at some point in her youth. Her feelings about the experience seem mixed.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, it comes as a great blow to November to realize that Princess Colette really doesn't believe her to be a princess because of her rags. Of course, Colette married the Marquis de Carabas, further proof that her Blue Blood-dar is out of order (unlike November's).

    Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: The Season 2 finale reveals Deandra’s backstory before she came to Overland Park High School. She used to be not only a student at the rival Atchison High, but she was head cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in school, if not the most popular of them all. But after an incident involving Pop Rocks triggered a poorly-timed Potty Emergency, her reputation went down the toilet, pun intended, and she transferred out in disgrace.

     Web Original 
  • Aki from Sailor Nothing.
  • Phase, of the Whateley Universe. Once a member of the richest family in the world, he becomes a mutant and gets kicked out. He ends up at Whateley Academy hanging with the Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits that is Team Kimba.
    • Jadis (codename She-Beast) probably counts, too. She had to leave her fancy Montessori school as a child when it came out that her dad is the notorious supervillain Dr. Diabolik.

     Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Less shallow than the trope description, but same general pattern in fantasy setting, with a male: Prince Zuko was the Season 1 villain, a Spoiled Brat in the sense that he yelled at people when they or the universe didn't give him what he wanted and had no use for tact. Still had some moments of awesome, and his most impressively evil moment involved holding a piece of jewelry hostage. Near the end of the season, his ship was blown up. Early in Season 2, he wound up a fugitive from his own nation, living as a faceless refugee for the horrible crime of... not successfully Punching Out Cthulhu, apparently. He spends most of that season learning humility and otherwise having Character Development, and by the series finale is one of the True Companions.
    • Zuko's sister Azula also followed this path, with a villainous twist. She started out as a beautiful and talented princess who was not only spoiled rotten but openly sociopathic thanks to her father's parenting skills. She was the Alpha Bitch of a Girl Posse who basically served as her Quirky Miniboss Squad; together, they were capable of conquering an enemy city that had eluded the Fire Nation's best generals, including her own uncle, thanks to her brilliant strategic mind. Yet, she had No Social Skills, so she literally could not act normally around anyone, not even her family or her friends. In the end, even the Girl Posse did not want to be around her, and she went into a tragic and terrifying downward spiral that left her institutionalized in a mental asylum, straitjacket and all. Unlike other examples, she averts the point of the trope. She doesn't try to bond with Team Avatar and constantly seeks her own goals and ambitions and still carries herself around with a haughty attitude.
  • Danny Phantom had Valerie; a shallow Rich Bitch who lived off her father's money until a ghost dog cost him his job. Fallen out of grace, she took up ghost hunting for revenge before making it a full-time job. Eventually, she starts to abandon her shallow views of the people she once rejected and even falls for the unpopular Danny.
  • The Doug episode "Beebe Goes Broke", in which...Beebe goes broke.
  • Parodied with Pacifica Northwest in the Grand Finale of Gravity Falls, as the Northwest family goes broke but still manages to stay wealthier than most people through selling their mansion... but now Pacifica's only going to get "just one pony" for her birthday. The horror!
  • Rhonda from Hey Arnold! became this when she realizes she needs to wear thick eyeglasses.
    • Even further when her family goes temporarily broke.
  • The Legend of Korra: Zig-Zagged. Asami is the Spoiled Sweet daughter of Hiroshi Sato, who is basically the Henry Ford of the Avatar world. She is fabulously wealthy, lives in a huge mansion, and is connected to many socialites in Republic City. Her fall happens when she attacks her genocidal father because he's an Equalist. Most of the second season features her trying to get her ailing family business back up to snuff. She manages to do it, but it takes a lot of suffering and hard work. It was also thanks to the United Republic Government for giving Asami a contract to redesign Republic City's infrastructure to fully bring her out of the rubble.
  • Parodied in The Oblongs. The matriarch of the family, Pickles Oblong, is a former upper-class resident — she left her rich and attractive family and friends to marry the lower-class Bob Oblong. This means she got exposed to all the toxic, body-warping chemicals in his neighborhood, leading to total baldness on her part, and a clutch of mutated children. However, she seems fine with this.
    • In the episode "Disfigured Debbie," one of the school's Girl Posse of Inexplicably Identical Individuals falls all right — into a wheat thresher. Now living with the only kids who will accept her freakish appearance, she drives them crazy with her clingy behavior. Until she gets plastic surgery and returns to the fold ("You know, this means I'll have to hate you again"). Ten seconds later, and we can't even tell which one she is anymore.
  • Caitlin from 6teen was just as snooty and stuck up as her "friend" Tricia, until her dad cut her off and made her get a job. Without her money, her so-called friends ditched her. Plus that lemon hat... she eventually becomes a classic case of Spoiled Sweet when she makes some real friends.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Bo-Katan is The Dragon of the Mandalorian Big Bad, but it turns out that she is the estranged sister of Big Good Duchess Satine as well as the second daughter of the late Duke Adonai. It is implied the two had lost contact, but Satine had told their nephew Korkie to seek out Bo-Katan in the event of an emergency, which he does towards the end of the show and leads to the two sisters doing an Enemy Mine. Word of God has stated that Bo-Katan's Dark and Troubled Past caused her to join Death Watch and that she took up the position of leading Mandalore after Satine was removed from power and killed by a third party.
    • Star Wars Rebels reveals that Bo-Katan carries guilt over not being able to hold her position as Mand'alor and believes she is an inadequate successor to her sister, but many Mandalorians still believe that she is the rightful ruler of Mandalore.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • It's revealed that Miss Heinous, the former headmistress of St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses, is actually the long-lost daughter of Queen Eclipsa and her monster lover. Since she's part monster, her birthright as a princess was ignored, and she was swapped for a peasant girl ‘Festivia’ who became a queen instead.
    • In response to the above, the third season finale has Star Abdicate the Throne back to Eclipsa, pulling herself entirely out of the line of succession (though she still has magic and the current queen's favor).
      Star: You let us live a lie. We shouldn't even have the throne. Eclipsa isn't even— Wait. [turns to Eclipsa] You aren't actually my great-great-great-great-something-grandma.
      Eclipsa: No, sweetie, I'm not.
      Star: Then... that means... we're no more royal than anybody else.
      Moon: You're still a princess, Star.
      Star: No, Mom. We're nobody.