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Try to put this damsel in distress... we dare you.

"What, you think a feudal warlord's daughter just sits around arranging flowers all day?"
Usagi Yojimbo RPG

With all the luxury afforded to a princess and all the knights dedicated to her protection, who would have thought the most dangerous person in the castle is the princess herself? She doesn't just knit or gossip, this princess has developed remarkable powers and abilities to fight. Most are shocked when they first meet her to find she is ever the beautiful rose, but with some razor-sharp thorns.

So while she may look like a dainty Princess Classic (and she may even be perfectly sweet and nice when not in combat), Rank Scales with Asskicking is in effect instead. Most of the time she fights better than those who serve her. Depending on how she fights, Muscles Are Meaningless may be in effect.

While this and the Rebellious Princess sometimes go hand in hand, they do not automatically equal each other. In fact, a pretty princess powerhouse will often fight because she's loyal to her nation and would fight to defend it at any cost. Or she might fight just because you piss her off.

If she's kid-friendly, she'll often be a Girly Bruiser. She might be a Lady of War with an elegant weapon or just a Cute Bruiser who will get her hands dirty, or she might even switch back and forth. Tomboy Princess, on the other hand, is more complicated; tomboys stereotypically either don't care about the "pretty" part or are disdainful of it, which would disqualify them for this trope depending on the specifics of the character herself.

Thanks to the Ermine Cape Effect, she will almost always be Kicking Ass in All Her Finery, and may even have a Battle Ballgown or two.

A heroic Pretty Princess Powerhouse can eventually become The High Queen, and might already be the daughter of one. An evil version (with an equally evil father) will probably be Daddy's Little Villain, and will only get worse if she manages to inherit the throne; these types often overlap with Dark Action Girl and are an example of Beauty Is Bad. Either type who is an actual monarch with the title "Princess" (rather than heiress to the throne) is also an example of Princesses Rule.

A Sub-Trope of Royals Who Actually Do Something (and the thing here is kicking butt).

A Sister Trope to Beware the Nice Ones, Killer Rabbit.

Compare Badass Adorable, Dainty Combat, Damsel out of Distress, Hidden Badass, Pint-Sized Powerhouse, Politically-Active Princess, Silk Hiding Steel, Tomboy Princess.

In particular, compare Warrior Prince which still covers princesses. That trope includes princesses whose royal duty is combat or who have chosen to be professional warriors. In relation to that trope, you can think of this one as non-professional princess warriors. The "pretty" part is not optional here. Please keep this in mind so the trope does not decay like its predecessor did.

Contrast Princess Classicnote , Faux Action Girl.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero has Princess Miu. She's the daughter of Demon King Garius, very cute with long pink hair in pigtails, sweet-natured, and also highly skilled in magic. She's willing to stand up to a superpowered Cockatrice by herself, and use herself as a decoy to protect those she loves even when she knows she's supremely outclassed - even against a Dragon.
  • Aldnoah.Zero: Asseylum Vers Allusia is a princess with long blonde hair, a beautiful and fancy dress, and jewelry. Add in her pacifism, and it can be a real shocker how handy she is with several varieties of firearms such as pistols and grenade launchers.
  • Chi-Chi of Dragon Ball is a martial artist Anime Chinese Girl and daughter of the Ox Demon King of Fire Mountain, though her status as either royalty or warrior isn't so obvious in the sequel series.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure: Three (later four) Magical Girl princesses more than capable of kicking ass in all their finery.
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, Princess Emeraude seems like just a helpless little girl. It then turns out she's one of the most powerful sorceresses in all the land (hence why she was given the position of the "pillar"), and this really gets unleashed when her love is killed, and her Superpowered Evil Side comes out.
  • Magical Witch Punie-chan: Punie is a cute little princess who wears a cute dress and headband, and who wrestles her enemies into submission. "Submission is the Princess' way!" indeed. Also a rare evil example.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: It's never specified if Tohru's father's title of "Emperor of Demise" is an actual royal title he holds or merely an epithet. If the former, it would mean that the cute and feminine girl that wears a maid outfit is a princess with a lot more than mere political power.
  • Murder Princess has a lovely princess who is not a badass, but a "Freaky Friday" Flip makes her switch bodies with a Bounty Hunter. So those unaware of this will easily confuse her for being weak and demure. In other words, a powerhouse was unwittingly slotted into a pretty princess's body.
  • Prison Princess is a one-shot story starring Princess Sina, who has been abducted by demons serving the Overlord. While trying to free herself from captivity, Sina initially appears the standard spoiled Damsel in Distress; with crown, gown, being more concerned with her image than survival and winning the loyalty of low-level minions with her kindness. Then she single-handedly takes down a guard she passed by while escaping. Turns out that, in her youth, Sina was a Tomboy Princess who loved heroes and learned to fight, but gave it up after her mother's death and realizing that people needed a regal queen or princess to offer reassurance in trying times. What follows is a badass escape from imprisonment, up to and including confronting the Overlord himself, all while maintaining the image of a Princess Classic.
  • Sailor Moon
    • Princess Serenity in her past life, protected by her loyal team of Sailor Guardians. In the modern day and series proper, though, she went from a crybaby, wimpy schoolgirl to an able fighter in hand-to-hand combat, able to perform acrobatic feats (the least of which is leaping across rooftops), and wields world-destroying/saving power in the form of her Silver Crystal and has successfully prevented The End of the World as We Know It multiple times. In her own words, she is "the sailor-suited Pretty Guardian who fights for love and for justice I am Sailor Moon!"
    • Chibi-Usa is also this trope, a princess with all of her mother Usagi's skillsets, her own version of the Silver Crystal, and a bit more maturity in everyday life. This doesn't stop either Usagi or Chibi-Usa from being girly girls.
    • While they are outclassed compared to Usagi, her Guardians are also Princesses of their own planets who can hold their own in battle.
  • 'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess: The Princess was raised as a Tyke Bomb, which made her extremely powerful... but also left her a complete ditz who is very easily impressed. The few times the series calls on her to fight, however, she utterly crushes anyone in her way.
  • To Love Ru: Princess Lala Satalin Deviluke is among the most beautiful girls in the galaxy and one gets the idea that Zastin is superfluous as a bodyguard. After all, she can fight assassins of Golden Darkness' caliber.

    Comic Books 
  • While most iterations of Wonder Woman are pretty far removed from the pretty princess aesthetic despite being a princess of Themyscira, her sparkly dress-wearing Wonder Woman and the Star Riders iteration is not, and remains a powerful hero and leader as well as a princess. Her younger sister Donna Troy also fits being younger and more innocent than Diana.
  • Starfire is the princess of the planet Tamaran. She is both beautiful and a skilled, powerful fighter.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: The titular character is an adorable and dainty teenage princess who also possesses great magical powers.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Diana, a young Wonder Woman, Princess of Themyscira, who appears more dainty, empathetic, and at times more fancily dressed than most incarnations - and, naturally, noted to be growing into quite the beauty. At the end of the first book, she also one-shots a monster by flying straight through it. That monster? Identical to one that took an orbital strike with space junk by Wanda Maximoff, being rammed at several hundred miles per hour by the Tumbler and hit with its demolition charges at point-blank range, before having the mains electrical current of Chicago channelled into its exposed innards by Harry Dresden. She's twelve.
  • Lady Sun in Farce of the Three Kingdoms. She is significantly more badass than her husband Liu Bei (not that that is a high bar) and is also a notorious beauty.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Princess Cadence, the lovely and pink Alicorn of Love as seen in Western Animation, though with the benefit of several hundred years more experience. At one point, some centuries ago, a dragon crossed into Cavallia, which she rules, looking for a thief. She stopped him by herself (then went and found the thief and made them give back everything they hadn't already sold). Another story has her going up again an Eldritch Abomination, again by herself.

    Films — Animation 
  • Anya in Anastasia. She gets excited about shopping in Paris, has a beautiful singing voice, has an Animal Companion, and She Cleans Up Nicely in her various gowns and tiara. She also can hold her own in Snark-to-Snark Combat with Dmitry and eventually beats the Big Bad while in a ballgown and heels.
  • Frozen: Princess Anna seems like just a bouncy and energetic princess, but as the film progresses, how tough she is gets more and more evident until we see that she can knock out men much bigger than her.
  • Princess Fiona in Shrek, though her fighting ability is not revealed until after the castle is far behind. She looks and often acts like a Princess Classic, wearing dresses, singing to birds, insisting on being rescued "properly" and giving a handkerchief as a token of her favor. She also takes on an entire group of thieves by herself in a fight.
  • Rapunzel in Tangled is pretty dainty-looking and dresses in pastel, but she is very capable in a fight, able to deftly use her very long hair and a frying pan as effective weapons. Very few people, like Gothel, have outright overpowered her.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: It is implied that Princess Vanellope's programmers had this trope in mind. Given her original princess status, frilly pink outfit, and the mock posh/sweet tone she uses when trolling the other racers, she was designed to be a sugar-spice-and-everything-nice sort of character who was also an ace at combat kart racing. However, by the time the movie starts, she has become a brat and a tomboy (though still terribly adorable) who wears a worn-out hoodie and mismatched tights. When she rediscovers her status as a princess, she quickly abolishes the monarchy and declares herself "president". In short, she was supposed to be an Invoked Trope but she ended up preferring a different role.

    Literature 
  • Alanitora, the main character inDagger Eyes, is a poised princess of beauty and refinement, but has gained a reputation for being an apathetic badass proficient in any weapon at her disposal. Throughout the novel, she proves herself to be a proficient fighter, often saving herself and other people better than the guards assigned to her.
  • Journey to Chaos: Kasile invokes both parts of this trope as part of her princess image; she dresses fashionably and affects a cute-and-proper persona in public while also training in both physical and magical combat with mercenaries.
  • Empire Of Bones: Princess Kelsey Bandar is described as having a dainty, elfin-like stature, at five feet of height and barely 45 kilograms of weight. But at the beginning of the series, she's forcibly being enhanced with Marine Raider implants, essentially turning her into the most lethal human being in existence. She is able to lift the weight lifting machine in Marine country - the whole machine, with weights attached, has enhanced combat reflexes and what amounts to a combat computer in her head which can steer her body on autopilot. Later on in the series, she becomes a Colonel and leader of the Marine Raiders, a kick-ass commando unit.
  • Lara from The Bridge Kingdom Archives is kind of short, has long honey-colored hair and blue eyes, can dance gracefully, and knows what to wear and what make-up to put on to look really attractive — and she's also a trained and accomplished fighter and Combat Pragmatist.
  • Princess Ellimere from Old Kingdom is elegant and beautiful when she is acting as Regent for her father in his absence, but she also enjoys hunting and is skilled in combat, and in Abhorsen she leads an army to come to the aid of her brother and aunt as they fight the Big Bad.
  • Hope from Sparrow And Bright wears white royal robes, a cloak of many colours, and prides herself on her breeding. She is also an expert dueller with magical powers that can destroy buildings.
  • WIEDERGEBURT: Legend of the Reincarnated Warrior:
    • Kari is the buxom blonde princess of the city-state of Nevaria, and also terrifyingly effective with her light element and ranseur.
    • Lin, the princess of the lamias of the Endless Desert, is a Cute Monster Girl who can conjure whips of poison.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Dennaleia, a Princess Classic Girly Girl at first, becomes increasingly a dangerous combatent given her magic, which becomes more powerful the more she learns how to use it effectively.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Wonder Woman: Princess Diana is the eldest Princess of Paradise Island and heir to the throne. She's incredibly beautiful and played by Lynda Carter, a Miss World USA pageant winner. Finally, she's the physically strongest and best fighter by a wide margin. Pretty? Check. Princess? Check. Powerhouse? Huge, comically oversized check.

    Podcasts 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Princess Kimberlee. Oh hell yeah. She is a princess, naturally beautiful, and in the final of the CHIKARA Challenge of the Immortals tournament, hit successive German Suplexes on all four members of the Wrecking Crew, including the 350 lbs. Max Smashmaster with absolute ease.

    Video Games 
  • Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland: Princess Merurulince Rede Arls, the heroine, is a lovely girl with Cuteness Proximity and she is also an alchemist dedicated to improving her kingdom using her ability to synthesize items. Although she's not the strongest fighter in terms of pure martial ability, she more than makes up for it by crafting items to use in combat which include extremely powerful bombs, magical weapons, and a Fantastic Nuke shaped like a mushroom. The ingredients for these items are found at the source. Need dragon scales? She goes to kill a dragon personally, no delegating to guards. One of the titles she can earn is "The Strongest Princess". Last but not least, she's the only Atelier protagonist with her own battle theme song!
  • Battle Fantasia has Princess Olivia, probably the most dainty and friendly character in the game, but still able to fight with as much skill as the rest of them. She fights using a lance that shows her kingdom's banner on it.
  • Princess Solange, the main character of Code of Princess is a sheltered and feminine (if stripperiffic) princess who fights for her kingdom with a BFS longer than she is tall.
  • Subverted in grisly fashion in Dark Souls III. The Story Breadcrumbs indicate that the Dancer of the Boreal Valley was a warrior princess who was conscripted first as a dancer and then drafted into the Outrider Knights by Pontiff Sulyvahn. Unfortunately for, well, everyone involved except Sulyvahn, including you, the Outrider Knights are given rings that twist them into horrible monsters, meaning that by the time you meet her, the Dancer is a towering killing machine with her armour grafted to her skin, with almost no trace - physical or mental - left of the person she once was, except her graceful movements... and nice ass.
  • Disgaea:
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City introduces the Prince/Princess/Sovereign class, royal heirs decked out in fancy outfits who fight with swords and can apply and remove status buffs as a Royalty Superpower. Victoria of The Drowned City and Arianna of The Fafnir Knight, who are both of this class, are explicitly expected by royal tradition to take on dangerous monsters themselves with little support.
  • Final Fantasy V: Multiple characters fit the bill:
    • Princess Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is the most obvious example. A gentle, graceful, pink-haired princess who can handle any weapon. At the start of the game, she's determined to find out what happened to King Tycoon at the Wind Shrine, despite all the monsters and pirates in the way.
    • Galuf's granddaughter, Princess Krile Mayer Baldesion is introduced rescuing the party from a possessed King Tycoon. She does not hesitate to take up her grandfather's place in the fight after his Plotline Death. She's also a pink-loving adorable child.
  • Utterly abundant in the Fire Emblem series.
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance's Princess Elincia Ridell Crimea counts. She is a sweet, placating Proper Lady princess who later on grabs a sword, a pegasus, and Takes a Level in Badass. She even fights alongside the mercenary troops she hired. In the sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, she has become queen and so technically moves out of this trope.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening has Lissa, princess of Ylisse, a bubbly prankster who is also your primary medic and can develop a nasty axe arm or powerful offensive magic if you train her up.
    • Fire Emblem Heroes has at least one for pretty much every original kingdom.
      • Askr has Princess Sharena, a bubbly Genki Girl who is one of the main front-line combatants in the protagonists' army.
      • Embla has Princess Veronica, ruler of an empire whose hobbies include having tea parties with her brother and conquering the multiverse.
      • Nifl has Princess Gunnthrá and Princess Fjorm, graceful ladies who are also leaders of the battle against Múspell, and their Genki Girl younger sister Ylgr becomes one after the end of Book II.
      • Hel has Eir, a stoic and graceful princess who is sent into Askr as a deep cover agent to kill you all (until she turns to your side for real).

    Visual Novels 
  • The protagonist of Long Live the Queen is a cute little pink-haired princess, who (if she survives) will be ruling the nation within the year. Depending on how you play her, by that point she may also be an accomplished duellist, a general leading her own armies, a magic user of terrifying power levels, or all of the above.
  • Tsukihime
    • The titular character, Arcueid Brunestud, is considered a princess of the Dead Apostles and True Ancestors because she's a powerhouse. Her original set of clothing as Archetype Earth was a Battle Ballgown to emphasize this. In fact, she is one of the most powerful people in the entire Nasuverse, which might surprise those who initially see a bright, cheerful, and adorable young lady.
    • Altrouge Brunestud is also considered a princess for the same reason and that is why the two are considered sisters. She apparently took her sister's ability to grow long hair.

    Web Comics 
  • Phantomarine: Phaedra has the appearance of a Princess Classic and is a trained swordfighter and maritime commander, like the rest of her family line. She isn't strong enough to defeat Cheth in swordplay, but her skills are still nothing to scoff at.
  • Roommates: Aisling the Erl-king's Daughter is very sweet and looks and acts like a classic princess. Just don't forget that she is a powerful fae or make her mad (she was able to intimidate a magical mercenary with a freaking hair pin for threatening her favorite ship).
  • In Oglaf's (specific link totally SFW, site in general very much not) Princess Party, this applies to the eponymous princess. She wants cute animals to play with and candy to eat... and takes them by force of arms. Her rival also qualifies.

    Western Animation 
  • Pretty much all the princesses in Winx Club are mighty magic users. This is especially true for the Club members themselves Princess Stella of Solaria, Princess Aisha of Andros, and Princess Bloom of Domino. It is unsurprising, given they're at Alfea to become, in most cases, the guardians of their realms. They also have such hobbies as planning parties and shopping.
    • Princesses Diaspro of Eraklyon, Krystal of Linphea, Galatea of Melody, Tressa of Atlantis, and Roxy of Earth are all princesses who use their magic for fighting and are generally pretty good at it (some better than others).
  • From My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic we have...
    • Cadance, the very pink Princess of Love. Given that her husband used to be the captain of Canterlot's royal guard, you'd think he'd handle all of the fighting but she has a better track record of smiting evil than he does. She even thinks fighting a Tatzlwurm is a refreshing change of pace from peaceful ruling.
    • The elegant Princess Celestia and refined Princess Luna, specially in the Backstory, where they fought many an Ancient Evil.
    • Princess Twilight Sparkle obviously follows, given that wears a tiara and princess dress when acting in her role as princess.
  • Princess Star Butterfly in Star vs. the Forces of Evil can be beautiful and graceful when she wants to be but also has fun fighting off the forces of evil with her Muggle Best Friend, Marco Diaz.
  • Princess Calla in The Adventures of the Gummi Bears is a princess who plays the role of a Princess Classic when she needs to. She can also outfight any opponent when properly prepared for it. Her own father, King Gregor, found this out when he appeared in disguise for a trial for a royal protector for his daughter. He was deeply impressed when it is his daughter who defeats him.

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