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Princess Classic

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"One gift, beauty rare, Gold of sunshine in her hair,
Lips that shame the red, red rose,
She'll walk with springtime wherever she goes."

A princess is kind...
A princess is smart...
A princess is caring...
A princess likes to dress up...
A princess is brave...
A princess is ready for fun...
A princess loves to see new things...
A princess is a dreamer...
A princess is polite...
A princess loves to sing and dance...
And a princess always lives happily ever after!
Disney Princess, "What is a Princess"

When we think of a Princess, the most common association is the archetypical princess, the perfectly good, innocent, and beautiful princess, who is practically a saint with a royal title. These are largely associated with Fairy Tales, and are considered to be as old as those types of stories.

Actually, this character started in the Victorian Era. In that time when stories were being shaped by Disneyfication and Bowdlerization, the concept of Courtly Love was warped to take all the sexual Sub Text out and turn the noble lady into an ideal of the times. All to provide only the most positive and uncomplicated image to children, and even adults as well.

Princess Classic has many general traits.

These first three points are required:

The following traits are typical, though optional, and since Tropes Are Flexible, any of them can be mixed & matched.

Now changing values have eroded the idealism that this character represented. So even though this character has only slightly more credibility than the geocentric universe theory, she's not a Dead Horse Trope yet. She's still around in some fiction for really young children due to the Grandfather Clause. And even in everywhere else, there is still the belief that Everything's Better With Princesses.

Also, there is still the important fact that Tropes Are Tools and this trope doesn't mean a princess must lack Character Depth. She can still be well-rounded while having some of these traits.

These days, if she's played straight in a story, it's highly unlikely for that story to be taken seriously. Most writers would give her some flaws, some depth. She could be sheltered and demure, but not a Flat Character.

Also, being ground zero for any Princess Tropes, she can get an upgrade to Pretty Princess Powerhouse if the story requires her to (and can even overlap with Kicking Ass in All Her Finery). Likely to browbeat Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers! into any cynic she finds.

A Sister Trope to The Ingenue, Proper Lady, (those two are also archetypes built of idealistic views), Southern Belle, The Pollyanna, Yamato Nadeshiko, The High Queen, Sheltered Aristocrat, Knight in Shining Armor, Prince Charming (the latter two being her Spear Counterparts).

Compare Idle Rich, Parasol of Prettiness, Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date.

Contrast Tomboy Princess, Rebellious Princess, Lady of War, Pretty Princess Powerhouse, Royal Brat, Politically-Active Princess, Daddy's Little Villain, Villainous Princess.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index has the youngest royal daughter, Villian, who is an apparently timid but virtuous young woman.
  • Princess Charlotte in the Berserk is the sheltered and demure version of this. After the Eclipse, the Kushan empire took Wyndham and Charlotte was taken prisoner by Ganishka. Griffith rescues her after being reincarnated back on earth. She's now part of his new Band of the Hawk.
  • Code Geass: Euphemia also fits in the oozing virtue and sweetness and light way until Lelouch accidentally geasses her and sends her out on a killing spree. She's also a Deconstruction as she proves to be painfully naive and out of her depths despite her best efforts and attempts to move into being more proactive. Her death ends up being the point of no-return for many characters as the story takes a very dark turn.
  • While she isn't royalty (though being a principality is pretty close), Monaco from Hetalia: Axis Powers grew out her hair to give off this vibe according to Word of God, though the actual word used is Grand Duchess, not Princess.
  • One Piece: Princess Shirahoshi meets most of the criteria. She's the actual princess of Fishman Island. She's so utterly committed to peace between Fishmen and humans that she doesn't reveal the identity of her mother's killer for a decade. Her beauty is said to rival that of Boa Hancock. Her clothing is about as pimped-out as the traditional mermaid sea-shell halter would allow. About the only way she doesn't play this trope straight down the line is that she turns out to be not so defenseless, having the nigh-apocalyptic power to control Sea Kings. She's also estimated to be 17 meters tall, which is unprincess-like from a human perspective.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Princess Serenity in the '90s anime. Actual royalty? Check. Innocence personified? The only vice she seems to have is a Forbidden Love with Prince Endymion of Earth and that solely exists so Usagi and Mamoru can have a Reincarnation Romance. There's very little chance she would've been punished for breaking the law that Earth and Moon people couldn't interact. She is, of course, pretty with blonde hair almost long enough to reach the ground. Her clothes are Simple, yet Opulent and she has a small crown. While she isn't shy, she seems to be demure, polite, and courteous and is definitely helpless; it's why she has bodyguards and her Prince Charming is knight-themed with a sword. She ends up dying (along with Endymion). Her reincarnation is instead the one who gets the Happily Ever After. She's also a Messianic Archetype due to the anime implying that this is Usagi's most powerful form. It seems like every important battle with the Big Bad of the season has her transform into Serenity to beat them and save the Earth.
    • Subverted in the manga and Crystal, especially if your introduction to the character was the 90s anime. While the physical description still applies, her personality is the complete opposite of a Princess Classic. Princess Serenity here is a lot like Usagi: flighty, reckless, doesn't like school and will actively attempt to avoid her lessons, into boys, and generally lives in a dream world. Her and Endymion's relationship thus ceases to be her only vice. She's still helpless and has bodyguards and a knight-themed Prince Charming with a sword, but it's to emphasize how different she is from Sailor Moon, who's a strong fighter in her own right (actually stronger than her boyfriend and bodyguards put together) and how she fights alongside of them instead of being protected by them. She still dies, but instead of being Too Good for This Sinful Earth, she's painted as a tragic princess. Also committing suicide isn't very Princess Classic-like. Takeuchi was instead going for a Romeo & Juliet vibe fitting with the manga's maturer tone. Also the manga implied that Endymion and Serenity were having sex, but didn't portray the act as in any way sullying her.
    • Invoked in a filler episode of the '90s anime when Usagi went to "princess classes" in an attempt to be more like her past self due to feeling inadequate about being the reincarnated Moon Princess they had spent the past few episodes looking for. Of course, it turned out to be a trap set by the villain. She fails and in the process manages to out herself as Sailor Moon to the Monster of the Week.
  • In Skip Beat!, it's rather Played for Laughs that Kyoko tends to see every fairy tale this way. This goes so far as to see famous celebrities who appear nice or frail to be the typical Princess Classic. Kyoko's visions are repeatedly beaten down. Her tendency to see things this way takes on a darker turn if you recall that this may be a coping mechanism of hers due to her own emotionally abusive childhood.

    Comic Books 
  • Princess Ugg is about an academy for these sorts of characters... and what happens when a Barbarian Princess joins them. The "classic" princesses are mostly concerned with marriage, grace, and diversions like sewing and fashion, to the point where their history teacher calls them on it by claiming an over-focus on those subjects makes them appear dull to prospective princes. The four named princesses themselves are a subversion, at least initially, as they start out as Ulga's antagonists, though Phonecia and Desdemona are closer to the trope than Julifer and Jasmin.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Odette from The Swan Princess. Born a princess, she's sweetness and light personified, especially in the sequels. She also sticks firmly to her principles. Much of the plot is driven by her refusal to marry her Love Interest until he can list a reason to love her beside her beauty.
  • Fairy Princess Dawn in Strange Magic, is feminine, naïve, and In Love with Love. All to contrast with her elder sister, Marianne. Coincidentally, Marianne herself was also a stereotypical princess before her then-fiancé cheated on her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Enchanted: Giselle is a spoof of this, but a loving spoof. Giselle's personality is an exaggerated version of the kind associated with this trope. Not only is Giselle kindhearted and friendly to everyone, romantic, beautiful, an excellent singer, and determined against all odds to make the best of her situation, but she is so naturally positive that she doesn't experience anger until adulthood, genuinely does not realize that there is a possibility that anything could go wrong with her engagement to a man she has never had a conversation with, and does not understand sarcasm. She's not born royal, but gets engaged to a prince, setting her up to become royal and complete the trope until it's subverted when she and the prince realize they're not right for each other and end up marrying other people, keeping her nonroyal.
  • Lyssa from Krull, rebukes the advances of The Beast, and holds faith in The Power of Love, which does bear out, although ultimately in a pretty violent way.
  • Princess Lili from Legend starts out as a quintessential Princess Classic, only to go through a Break the Cutie process, accumulating in an intense case of Corrupt the Cutie, only for this to be revealed as a ruse she put on in order to trick Darkness into letting her get close enough to free a captured unicorn.
  • The princess of Snow White and the Three Stooges. Her first scene shows her sweet as a little girl and flashes forward to showing her sweet as a young woman, both with her innocence symbolized by white skating dresses trimmed with white fur.
  • The titular mouse in The Tale of Despereaux searches for and finds one of these in the beautiful but useless Princess Pea.

  • George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire:
  • Poked fun at in Angry Lead Skies, when Garrett ponders Kip Prose's childish fantasies about saving beautiful princesses, and how, despite having run into everything else on his weird cases, he's never met a Princess Classic. Near the end, Garrett does catch sight of two genuine royal daughters, and they're both quite unattractive, yet are praised and fawned upon constantly by political kiss-ups.
  • Firebird Trilogy: Princess Carradee Angelo is gentle, honorable, sweet, and rather uninterested in politics. Unfortunately for her, as eldest, she is the heir to the throne, which leads to her being thrust into ruling before she is truly ready for it. She contrasts with her sisters Phoena, who is a Politically-Active Princess, and Firebird, who barely acknowledges her role as princess.
  • Although she is an Empress rather than a princess, Portia from First Sword Chronicles fits all the other points of this trope, as she beautiful, elegant, kind, gentle, demure, royal by marriage, and in need of Miranda's protection from the machinations of the court.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Dennaleia is a Nice Girl who's beautiful, with long hair, wears the beautiful dresses you'd expect, is demure, though she also wants to be politically involved (not just sit around court) to help others, and in a twist she's also a Lipstick Lesbian who's soon drawn to bisexual Tomboy Princess Mare, who's her fiance's sister.
  • The Paper Bag Princess has Princess Elizabeth starts as this type of character, but becomes an Action Girl later on, especially when she finds that Prince Ronald is an Ungrateful Bastard.
  • The Princesses of Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason in The Phantom Tollbooth. They are universally loved for their "great beauty, their gentle ways, and their ability to solve all controversies fairly and reasonably." Even better, their unjust exile from the Kingdom of Wisdom is what sends Milo on his quest in the first place.
  • The Queen Of Ieflaria: Esofi is a beautiful, feminine elegant princess who's devoted to her kingdom, accepting being in an arranged marriage as just part of her duty and not understanding other people disliking them.
  • Belinda in The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope is certainly meant to reflect this trope. She's not any sort of royalty, but the Queen Bee of all the court she surveys, while still being friendly (and uncommitted) to everyone. That is, until a certain involuntary haircut happens.
  • Princess Frida from Unimaa is a complete and utter subversion, as while at first glance she appears to be sweet and eager to make friends in what she calls "Frida's Friends Club", the reader learns that the whole thing was a sham to steal the souls of sleeping children, and she's revealed to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. On top of all of this, she's not even the true ruler of Unimaa.
  • Lissa Dragomir from Vampire Academy fits all the bullet points of refined royalty. She is actual royalty by birth, she is a Messianic Archetype (though not a virgin), she is beautiful, good with animals, wears elegant clothes, and needs protection from her guardians.
  • Played With in the tale of Vivenna and Siri from Warbreaker. Vivenna was raised as a Princess Classic but ended up getting pushed into a Pretty Princess Powerhouse role, while her Rebellious Princess sister Siri ended up in the Princess Classic slot. Both do excellently in their new role.
  • Beautiful, royal, and good—Princess Paulina in Why Polly? fits this trope to a tee. Polly is unsure how to relate to a princess classic in real life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Just like in the source material, Sansa tries to be one. Though not initially a princess in her own right, she was raised by her mother be a Proper Lady and is eager to fulfill this role when she is betrothed to Prince Joffrey, only to find her dream Prince Charming is in actuality a total Prince Charmless, petulant Royal Brat, and The Caligula and she lives in a major Crapsack World. Then her brother Robb declares himself King in the North, which does make her a princess in her own right. Too bad her hosts don't recognize Stark claims of sovereignty. By the time she could be undeniably referred to as a princess (in Season 6 when her brother Jon is crowned king), the naiveté and innocence associated with the trope have long faded. She concludes the series by being crowned Queen in the North in her own right, promoting her from this to The High Queen.
    • Margaery is an astute politician and manipulator who puts on the persona of a charming and harmless princess to all and sundry. This has gained her the fanatical support of most of the common people, to whom she's highly charitable.
    • Myrcella is a young, lovely, golden-haired princess in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage to a handsome Prince Charming. Of course, this being Westeros, she's Too Happy to Live.
  • Played with on Merlin (2008) with the portrayal of Princess Mithian. Characterized as the embodiment of a Princess Classic, she's genuinely lovely, as well as beautiful, regal, elegant, talented, and with an extensive wardrobe of gorgeous outfits; yet it's all done in order to provide more impact to the fact that King Arthur turns her down for the sake of the blacksmith's daughter.
  • Tales of the Tinkerdee: Princess Gwendolinda is a beautiful and soft-spoken princess, for whom any knight in the kingdom would gladly risk his head—and they tell you that repeatedly.

  • Fairytale imagery featured on Taylor Swift's second album, Fearless. She explored the disconnect "between fairy tales and the reality of love": "We're raised as little girls to think that we're a princess and that Prince Charming is going to sweep us off our feet". Seen in "Love Story", "White Horse", and "Today Was A Fairy-Tale".

    Video Games 
  • Princess Sarah of Final Fantasy is a kind gentle lady and All-Loving Hero according to her subjects. She wears a golden dress, is demure in person, and gives away an ancient family heirloom without a second thought to the heroes as thanks for saving her life.
  • Super Mario Bros.' Princess Peach is the quintissential Princess Classic of video games: Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom, possesses Incorruptible Pure Pureness, is beautiful, has long, golden hair... Depending on the game, she flip flops between being a helpless Damsel in Distress who needs saving, and being more than capable of defending herself and kicking butt alongside heroes like Mario and Luigi.

    Visual Novel 

    Web Animation 
  • Charlie from Hazbin Hotel fits this trope to a T, although she prefers suits over dresses. She is sweet, kind, completely adorable, and prone to bursting into song. She also quite stubbornly believes the best of everyone and wants everyone to have a chance to be the best person they can be. It's just that her domain happens to be Hell, and Charlie is literally the daughter of Satan.

    Web Comics 
  • Cursed Princess Club: Zigzagged with the three Pastel Kingdom princesses. While they're all Nice Girls who wear regal dresses and have been consciously trained from birth to be this trope, how well they actually fit the archetype varies:
    • Maria is the most straightforward (and even stereotypical) example. She's a pretty blonde girl who passively receives assistance from cute woodland animals, is noted in-story to have a Beautiful Singing Voice, and is generally a Cool Big Sis to her younger siblings.
    • Lorena, with her cute purple hair, pink clothes, and ability to make flowers sprout around her while she sleeps, has a very princessy vibe. However, she also desires to be The Strategist when she grows up, and she can be surprisingly violent when she feels she's in danger.
    • Gwendolyn, the main character of the series, certainly has the characterization down pat, what with her All-Loving Hero personality, great cooking skills, Girly Girl demeanor, and so on. But she's also looks considerably uglier and scarier than this trope typically allows, resembling a witch or a goblin more than a princess. Unfortunately, Gwen and her sisters were so sheltered growing up that it never crossed their minds that there might be something unprincess-like about her appearance — which makes it all the more painful when she overhears a potential fiancé from outside of their social bubble calling her ugly.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Debatable if there are actual examples in Real Life (that weren't this from being sheltered and not taught about the world), but Queen Victoria of Great Britain did her best to make royal ladies appear to be this way. This is where we get the Urban Legend of noblewomen being advised to "close your eyes and think of England". Queen Vicky was pretty sheltered herself, as a result of her mom not wanting her to see her dad's relatives and their scandals potentially affecting Vicky's reputation before she hit puberty. In fact, it was probably this upbringing that led to Victorian prudishness in the first place (and her husband Albert was even more prudish than her!).
  • On the subject of saints with a royal title, Saint Catherine of Alexandria provides a very early example of this trope (her name was once thought to come from "katharos", the Greek word meaning "pure", but this is less certain nowadays. But certainly this supposed etymology played a role in the name Katharine and its various forms being immensely popular throughout Christendom). It is a somewhat unusual one, however, as the virgin princess is wed to Jesus Christ in mystic marriage (ie. a dream-vision) and chooses martyrdom rather than betraying her vows to Him, which would be cheating in the eyes of the Church. "Thou shall not commit adultery" was one of the Ten Commandments.

Alternative Title(s): Stock Princess, Ermine Cape Princess