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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
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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 extremely 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), Authority Equals 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 tick her off.

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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.

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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, Damsel out of Distress, Hidden Badass, Pint-Sized Powerhouse, Politically Active Princess, Silk Hiding Steel, Tomboy Princess, Warrior Prince (which still covers princesses).

Contrast Princess Classicnote , Faux Action Girl.


Examples:

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    Anime & 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 fire arms such as pistols and grenade launchers.
  • Dai Mahou Touge: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Murder Princess has a 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.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure: Three (later four) Magical Girl princesses more than capable of kicking ass in all their finery.
  • 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 political power.
  • The titular Sailor Moon was 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. With the support of said Sailor Guardians, her Star Crossed Lover Mamoru who is actually only slightly less powerful than she is, as well as her future daughter Chibi-Usa, who is also this trope, with all of her mother's skillsets, her own version of the Silver Crystal, and a bit more maturity in everyday life. This doesn't stop both Usagi and Chibi-Usa from being girly-girls.
    • While they are outclassed compared to Usagi, her Guardians are also Princesses of their own planets.

    Fanfic 
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Princess Cadence, 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.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: A male variant with Himetsuru Ichimonji, who has the princess theme down pat and a scene of badass solo victory to himself.
    Himetsuru: It is a princess's duty to protect [my friends], and whoever wants to harm them, burn in the eighteen levels of Hell!

    Films — Animation 
  • Anna in Frozen 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 (especially men who expect her to just be weak and naive).
  • Wreck-It Ralph: It is implied that Princess Vanellope's programmers had this trope in mind. Given her original status, 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 hoody 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 a Invoked Trope but Character Development changed her to something else.

    Literature 
  • Journey to Chaos: Kasile invokes both parts of this trope as part her princess image; she dresses fashionably and effects 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 in 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.

    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 

    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 is 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!
  • Princess Rozalin of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories starts out like a Princess Classic, but when taught how to fight, she becomes a formidable fighter, with such moves as pulling a Gatling gun out of thin air and blasting away. And that's not even taking into account her past life as a demon overlord the God of All Overlords.
  • Princess Sapphire Rhodonite from Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice is a pretty girl with a weakness for all things cute... Who is also the only warrior her kingdom needs to stay safe and free of threats. She also has a ruthless and sadistic vein and yandere tendencies, and she's capable of making Mao shit his pants. Mao.
  • 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 sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, she has become queen and so technically moves out of this trope.
  • 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, or a magic user of terrifying power levels.
  • Super Mario Bros.'s Princess Peach is quite the sweetheart and always wears pink clothes, including her iconic gown. She is also experienced in a fight and she can kick your ass if she needs to, but only if her role in a particular game calls for it. When she is, she's almost always depicted as more powerful and competent than any of her Toads.
  • The Legend of Zelda's titular princess is of qualifying party. Possessing the Triforce of Wisdom and assisting Link in a few of his battles (several of which are against Ganon), she has proven to hold her own greatly in a fight. As the quotes page says, she is basically a Magic Knight wearing a royal dress and Triforce jewelry.
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy V: Three characters fit the bill:
    • Princess Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is the most obvious example. 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.
    • Her long-lost sister, Princess Sarisa AKA. Faris has been living most of her life as a Sweet Polly Oliver in said band of pirates.
    • 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.
  • All three female protagonists in Odin Sphere are this. Gwendolyn is the daughter of King Odin and is the best Valkyrie soldier in the army. Mercedes is the Fairy Princess who gains the strength to rule the fairies after her mother died. And Velvet is the former princess of the Valentine kingdom who single-handedly battles to stop The End of the World as We Know It.
  • 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.
  • Etrian Odyssey has the recurring 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.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • Nefarious's Princess Mayapple doubles as the hero knight for her city. We haven't seen her go toe-to-toe with Crow yet, but she did beat Malice pretty handily.

    Western Animation 
  • Princess Lotta Lamour from the TaleSpin episode "The Road to Macadamia". She knows her father's Evil Chancellor wants to take over the kingdom, but she's not afraid to confront him ("Touch me and you're dust, buster!"), and during a fight she knocks out several of the chancellor's Mooks with a big mallet.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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