Some ladies are princesses because they were born to a king and queen. Others are because they're married to a prince. And then there is this girl (no matter if she has a wealthy way of life or not), who is called a princess because...Well, the reasons vary.
Maybe she's self-proclaimed. Maybe she gained a throne. Maybe she is so talented in her art, that others see her reigning on said art. Maybe she is so nice and pretty, the others can't help but see a princess in her. Or maybe on the opposite she's snobbish, and princess is rather a spiteful nickname for her.
Super Trope to Mafia Princess, and related to Everything's Better with Princesses and Princess Phase (allegedly, all little girls in said phase see themselves as honorary). Compare The Ojou. Not to be confused with Really Royalty Reveal, when a character suddenly learn he or she is actually royal from birth (despite the fact that he or she could have been seen as honorary until then).
- Saint Seiya: Saori-sama is often translated "Princess Athena"; even if, as Athena 's reincarnation, Saori is actually a goddess.
- Kilala Princess: The title character is a schoolgirl, elected by a magical crown, to be the seventh Disney Princess (there were six at the time of publication). Granted, Kilala marries Prince Rei in the end, but was recognized as the "legendary princess" nevertheless before that.
- Go! Princess Pretty Cure
- Flora, Mermaid and Twinkle, the three main magical girls, who are the princesses of flowers, sea and stars when transformed. Evil princess Twilight mocks them for that, calling them fake and self-proclaimed. Ironically, Twilight is the daughter of a self-proclaimed queen, the witch Dyspear, who took over the Hope Kingdom.
- Later subverted as Twilight is actually the brainwashed Towa, daughter of the legitimate sovereigns of Hope Kingdom. After coming back to her senses, she becomes the fourth Precure and the only born- princess of the team.
- Yumeiro Pâtissière: Ichigo's three teammates, Kashino, Andou, and Hanabusa are nicknamed Sweets Princes due to their skills in bakery. Also, in Tennouji's team, one of the boys calls Mari Tennouji "Princess Mari", because of her talents, and because she is the student council president.
- Dr. Slump has Midori Yamabuki be one of these in the second movie. She was briefly adopted by the monarchy of a faraway planet after she stowed away in their rocket by mistake. She promised to assume the throne if anything was to happen to them after she was returned to their family.
- Marina Ismail from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 holds the title of "Princess of Azadistan" in the first season, which is an elected figurehead position in the setting. While she is of royal descent, monarchy was abolished in Azadistan long before her birth, and she grew up in a regular middle-class family.
- In the American dub of Pokémon, star Pokémon coordinator May is called the "Princess of Hoenn".
- Barbie in the Nutcracker: Clara turns out to be the Sugarplum Princess, the savior of the candy kingdom. This is specific to the Barbie version as it was the Sugarplum Fairy in the original ballet, and it was a character distinct from Clara.
- Barbie & The Diamond Castle: In the end, Liana and Alexa are rewarded for their courage by the muses, who claim them princesses of music. This do not prevent them to return to their simple life of flowers girls in a humble dwelling, though.
- Discussed in Barbie: Princess Charm School, where Emily, in a Princess Phase, assure that her waitress big sister, Blair, would do perfectly in the Royal School Emily just registered her in. Also the first song, "You can tell she's a princess", that pretty much describe the trope. Even if Blair turn out to be the lost princess Sophia, the legitimate heir to the throne.
- Barbie Star Light Adventure: The king admire Barbie for being The Chosen One of a prophecy, and when she manage to make the stars dance again, he claims her the princess of stars.
- Mulan: In 2013, Mulan joined the Disney Princess franchise along with Pocahontas (sometimes considered as honorary too, being The Chief's Daughter), Tiana, and Rapunzel. She is actually the daughter, and the wife, of military men, but still: Mulan was included in the franchise mainly so Asian little girls could have "their" Disney princess. In the sequel Mulan actually nearly married a prince, and when she offered her hand, a counselor of the king said he should accept, as an heroine such as Mulan will be a better daughter-in-law than "simple princesses".
- Mulan is actually a good example of Offered the Crown if period-correct laws are in consideration: Her beheading Chan Yu, the leader of opposition force, and bringing his head back to the Emperor is such great a military achievement that she would be immediately granted a kingdom within the empire.
- Enchanted: Giselle goes from being a peasant in the forest to be a stylist in New York, without marrying the Prince Charming in the end. This does not prevent little Morgan from thinking she is a princess, notably because of her poofy Fairytale Wedding Dress. Granted, Giselle totally has the mind of a Princess Classic, including the power of summoning animals by singing.
- The Princess and the Frog : Every time Big Daddy Labouff was elected king of the Mardi-Gras in New Orleans, his daughter Charlotte was a princess over the course of this day. It counts, much to the surprise of Tiana and Naveen, and that's why Charlotte has the power to give them back their human form with a kiss.
- Princess Protection Program: Chelsea, Rosalinda and Carter become the three finalists for the Queen contest of the homecoming dance, and receive princesses' tiaras. Chelsea doesn't deserve hers much, and Rosie was already a princess by birth. So, she helps Carter to have the princess attitude, and at the dance, Carter goes so far as trying to sacrifice her freedom in exchange for Rosalinda's. The latter affirm that, with this heroic act, Carter became a real princess.
- A Little Princess: Every girl is a princess, according to Sarah Crewe. As for herself, she tries to have every day the good attitude of a princess, including during the period she fell on hard times-hence the title.
- Enchanted Forest Chronicles: At the end of Talking To Dragons, Kazul offers to make Shiara her princess. When Shiara protests that she is not a princess, Kazul replies that if the King of the Dragons says you're a princess, you're a princess.
- Ozma of Oz: Dorothy is offered by Ozma the chance to stay in Oz as a princess. She chooses to go home instead, but that doesn't stop her from holding the title whenever she visits in later books.
"What!" cried Polly, looking at Dorothy curiously. "Do you belong to the nobility?"
"Just in Oz I do," said the child, "'cause Ozma made me a Princess, you know. But when I'm home in Kansas I'm only a country girl, and have to help with the churning and wipe the dishes while Aunt Em washes 'em. Do you have to help wash dishes on the rainbow, Polly?"
- The Princess Bride: Some people complained when Buttercup got engaged to Humperdinck, saying that only a Princess can get engaged to a Prince. So the court made her Princess of Hammersmith. Hammersmith is just a little lump of land at the back of the kingdom. Utterly pointless, it's unlikely she set foot in the place at any point.
- Probable Male example in The Little Prince. The boy apparently do not have parents, and as far as we know he may be self-proclaimed. He's, with a rose, the only inhabitant of his Baby Planet, so it is justified he is the de facto ruler.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: Born of innkeepers, Xena stayed single, and was at first a pirate, then a warlord, and finally a heroine. Then, where does the "warrior princess" of the title comes from? A friend of her, Lao Ma, used to call her this. Xena does have a lookalike (Diana) who is a princess by birth.
- In the song "Guillotine" by Yadi:" You'll fall like a guillotine, and kneel before the queen; I don't need blue blood running through my veins, like a queen, I can make you love me."
- There's a Disney Princess song called "Every Girl Can Be A Princess", which appears in Disney Princess Tea Party and Songs & Story: Tangled. The song is about being a princess not necessarily implies coming from a royal family but just having the grace and kindness. To complement this, it's sung by Cinderella herself, Tami Damiano.
You don't need a grand old castle rising in the air, Maids to brush your hair, Your heart is pure, you're thoughtful, Surely, Princess, you're almost there.
- In the song "Royals" by Lorde, she states that: And we'll never be royals,It don't run in our blood,(...)Let me be your ruler, you can call me Queen B, And baby I'll rule,Let me live that fantasy
- Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier: The Princess's solution to the socioeconomic inequality? Why, make everyone in the kingdom a princess. After the Sultan kicked the bucket, she made that decree. It works surprisingly.
- Kingdom Hearts: The seven "princesses of hearts" turn out to be the six (then) Disney princesses, except Ariel: the sixth is Alice, and the seventh is Sora's friend Kairi. Both are not royalty by birth or marriage; it turns out that " princess of heart" title is used to name the only persons in the world with a heart made of pure light, without any shadow of evil in it.
- BlazBlue: Rachel's familiars, as well as her butler Valkenhayn, usually calls her "princess" despite the Alucard family not being a royalty.
- In Crusader Kings 2 non-italian mayors of count or duke rank and bishops of count rank are known as prince-mayors and prince-bishops respectively. Yet they are frequently only petty nobles or not nobles at all.
- Touhou: features a lot of princesses, though very few have actual royal status.
- Toyohime, Yorirhime and Kaguya are princesses in Lunarian society (Kaguya being the one from The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter).
- Fujiwara no Mokou was the daughter of a high-ranking nobleman (high enough to ask for Kaguya's hand in marriage), but her status as ex-nobility is rarely mentioned.
- Yuyuko Saiyouji is a ghost princess, who was the daughter of a Japanese court poet in life.
- Kotohime is from one of the early games, a Cloud Cuckoolander who thinks she's a police officer.
- Wakasagihime, despite the name, shows no sign of being royalty, being a mermaid named after a Japanese fish.
- Parsee Mizuhashi is a hashihime (bridge princess), a youkai based on a Woman Scorned who waits under bridges to kill loving couples.
- While her general attitude is The Ojou (especially in fandom), the vampire Remilia Scarlet's only link to princessdom is her theme, "Septette for the Dead Princess" (she claims to be descended from Vlad Tepes).
- In Darths & Droids (unlike in the original Star Wars films), Leia is not an actual princess. Princess, instead, is the first name given to her by her surrogate parents Bail Organa and Breha Moon-Flower, because according to them, "she's a beautiful princess". Han Solo still refers to her as "your highness" sometimes, only to be corrected by the other characters.
- Mike, Lu & Og: Lu is the self-proclaimed princess of her island, Albonquetine. Justified as she is the daughter of the island's governor and Albonquetine is deserted, populated only by her tribe.
- Papyrus: Tiya calls herself the princess of thieves, being born into a clan of robbers.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Magical Mystery Cure", after fixing a magical crisis, Twilight Sparkle Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence and comes back as an alicorn. At which point Princess Celestia declares this makes Twilight a Princess as well. The episode ends with Twilight's coronation.
- South Park: In "A Song of Ass and Fire", the Japanese make Kenny a princess.
- Adventure Time: Most of the kindgoms of Ooo are ruled by princesses. Of these, only Flame Princess and Lumpy Space Princess have confirmed royal parentage; the others seem to be self-proclaimed. And then there's Princess Doctor, who is neither a princess nor a doctor, that's just her given name.
- The Powerpuff Girls: Princess is the name of one of the recurring villains on the show, a Spoiled Brat whose billionaire father buys her anything she wants, including powered armor which she uses to fight the Powerpuffs. Her given name is Princess Morebucks.
- In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Adora is granted the title of "Princess of Power" by Queen Angella as the latest bearer of the She-Ra title and her inclusion in the Princess Alliance that leads (or used to lead) the Rebellion; Frosta, one of the actual princesses of the setting, passive-aggressively forgives Adora's lack of tact at an important social function by stating she's not an actual princess and shouldn't be expected to be aware of social niceties (note that Adora was raised by the Horde to be a Child Soldier with No Social Skills, so Frosta kinda has a point). As of Season One, It's not clear whether Adora actually is the Princess of Eternia as she is in other continuities of the MOTU franchise as the He-Man parts of her origin have been Adapted Out, so for now her title is still "honorary."
- Some historic characters and celebrities are often called the king or queen of their field, in order to emphasize their talent. Jesus is the King of Kings, Saint Peter the prince of apostles, Elvis Presley the king of rock and Michael Jackson the one of pop, Rumiko Takahashi is the princess of manga, and so on.
- Micronations are lands claimed by individuals, on the ground they own, and not recognized as actual nations by the international community. They're often kingdom or principalities, making their owners royals. There are, for instance, the princes of Sealand, Seborga, Wy, and Hutt river, and the kings of Coral Islands and Redonda. In the case of the Bir Tawil triangle, Jeremiah Heaton claimed it as North Sudan specifically in order to make his seven years old daughter a princess.
- In 1859 Joshua Norton of San Francisco proclaimed himself "Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico". While he had no political power, the citizens of San Francisco had so much affection for him that they humored his claims and even treated the "money" he had printed in his name as if it were legal currency.
- The "court of miracles" was the slum districts of Paris from the Middle age to the XVII century; the local chief was named the king of crooks (like Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
- Back when they used to perform in circuses, freaks were often given royal titles. There were Prince Randian (deprived of limbs), who appeared in Freaks, Princess Paulina and Princess Elizabeth who were midgets. Either this, or military titles like the dwarfs General Tom Thumb and Major Mite.
- The Arawaks' princesses' case: Arawaks were the native tribes of the Caribbean islands. Every four years, the different tribes organized a trial between the women; the best would represent the people (as an ambassador) and be called a princess.
- "Princess" is a common compliment to women made by their Love Interests in a relationship (boyfriend, lover, husband or simply her significant other), especially if this goes more than just the compliment and attending her in her needs and being treated as a princess in general.
- In an inversion, calling someone "Princess" can also be used to demean someone by implying they're being excessively demanding or (especially in the case of young women) lack a sufficient understanding of the situation at hand (ironically, when a fictional character does this, it usually implies that they are themselves quite arrogant).
- French presidents are co-princes of Andorra with the Always Male Bishop of Urgell. While there has never been a female with this title, the theoretical female President of France would be an official "honorary princess".
- Thanks to courtesy titles, anybody can claim him/herself a count, duke, or...a princess, and print it on a business card. It's only forbidden to use it on official documents.