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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 two points are required:


These traits are typical, if 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.

One the other hand, some girls who grew up on this trope apply some of the above traits to their Fan Fiction, meaning a lot of the traits of this character match the traits of a Purity Sue. Heck, mix and match this trope with being better than everyone else at their skills, and with suddenly being the Spotlight-Stealing Squad, and there you have the archetypal Mary Sue.

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 Grumpy Bear she finds.

A Sister Trope to Yamato Nadeshiko, The Ingenue, Proper Lady, (those two are also archetypes built of idealistic views), Southern Belle, The Pollyanna, 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.


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    Anime and Manga 

     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.

    Film - Animation 

    Film - Live Action 

  • George Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire: Princess Classic was what Sansa Stark always aspired to be from being a tiny tot, and she actively cultivates all the the traits of trope she can express as hard as possible throughout the series (including turning them into barely adequate weaponry when needed). She can even do the "can talk to the well-trained and polite animals" one (for a time). Sansa, however, lives in a politically volatile Crapsack World within a story dedicated to deconstruction (with some reconstruction on the side). So, you can guess where her initial bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, pink-dyed romanticism is heading, yes?
  • Also deconstructed in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, where Morgan realises the ladies are as rude and crude as the not-so-noble knights.
  • Princess Alexandra from A Hole in the World is this. She's also a lesbian. Her Prince Charming is a girl named Bianca.
  • Alk from Phenomena Rare Male Example. Can talk to animals, is nice, feminine, pretty, is a good fighter when needed to but not the best and it's more the sword fighting than him, and reffered to by royal titles, even though he doesn't really have earned them yet. In the seventh book is it deconstructed as he beats Sherpa to death when he can't defend himself and refuses to accept any royal titles. He even treats the extremely Bittersweet Ending as a Happily Ever After because he's together with his muse and Childhood Friend Romance. He acts actually more feminine than his twin sister who's a Tomboy with a Girly Streak.
  • In Xanth, Princess Irene was a Royal Brat. Her daughters, Ivy and Ida are straight examples.
  • The Lady Amalthea in The Last Unicorn acts like this as she loses her memories of being the last unicorn.
  • Averted in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books by Princess Elspeth, who starts off a Royal Brat and becomes a tomboy after she's broken of the brattishness. Eventually she abdicates her position as heir when it becomes obvious (to her, at least) that she'll serve her country better as a Herald-Mage than as its queen.
  • Belinda in The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope is certainly meant to reflect this trope. She's Spoiled Sweet - 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in the most famous Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy dresses up as one of these on the Halloween when Ethan Rayne conjures up a spell that causes her and all of her friends to get turned into their costumes. So Willow, who dressed as a ghost, becomes a ghost and Xander, who dressed as an Army Guy, becomes an actual Army Guy. Ethan lucked out when she chose the Princess costume: the powerful Slayer becomes a simpering, helpless bundle of nerves and snobbery.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Zigzagged with Sansa. Though not initially a princess in her own right, she was raised by her mother to be the perfect princess and is eager to fulfill this role when she is betrothed to a prince, only to find her Prince Charming is a petulant psychopath ruling over a Crapsack World. And then 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 as a princess in Season 6 when her brother Jon is crowned king, the naiveté and innocence associated with the trope have long faded.
    • 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, whom she's highly charitable with.
    • Myrcella is a young, lovely and beautiful golden-haired princess in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage to a handsome Prince Charming.
  • Played with on Merlin with the portrayal of Princess Mithian. Characterized as the embodiment of a Princess Classic, she's genuinely lovely, as well as beautiful, royal, 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.
  • Princess Ariadne from Atlantis, though she gets a bit more spunk than this trope usually implies.
  • Queen Anne from The Musketeers may technically be a queen (and occasionally passes into The High Queen territory) but for the most part embodies all the traits of a Princess Classic instead.

  • 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 

    Web Animation 
  • Charlie from Hazbin Hotel fits this trope to a T, although she prefers suits over dresses. It's just that her domain happens to be Hell.


    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 England did her best to make royal ladies appear to be that way. To the point of the Urban Legend of noble women being advised to "Close your eyes and think of England".
  • On the subject of Saints with a royal title, Saint Catherine of Alexandria provides a very early example of this trope (her name even comes from "Katharos", the Greek word meaning "pure"!. 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!

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