Mia: Me, a princess? SHUT! UP!
This occurs when a character who was previously thought to be relatively ordinary turns out to actually be descended from someone important and powerful, and therefore have access to that status themselves. Although this trope most commonly uses royalty, it can apply to any hereditary position of power in-universe. This trope applies when the character's true heritage was previously unknown to both the audience and the character themselves.
Often the reveal occurs just in time, right when the character needs the rank to give orders, claim the throne or marry someone. While this usually results in a Rightful King Returns Rags to Royalty plot, there are also cases where the character decides that they don't particularly care how powerful their parents or other ancestors were, they quite like their current lifestyle thank you very much. When this happens, an otherwise-ineligible lower-status Love Interests is frequently responsible; if they're lucky, the Call may even be willing to let them get away with it.
The character's true heritage can be exposed in various ways:
- Having a Distinguishing Mark such as a birthmark.
- The identification of an Orphan's Plot Trinket.
- Having the same surname as the royal family.
- A declaration of Luke, I Am Your Father or otherwise identification of a Mysterious Parent or Long-Lost Relative.
- A present parent or guardian revealing the truth, generally as a way of delivering the Call to Adventure.
- The Big Bad stopping long enough to tell the character why they are trying to kill them.
- The use of an item which Only the Chosen May Wield.
- Displaying a Royalty Superpower.
- The character reveals that they're royal blood.
The character's reason for not knowing their heritage is most often due to some form of Parental Abandonment; common plots including Moses in the Bulrushes, Hidden Backup Prince, and Man in the Iron Mask. A variation occurs when an older character suffers from Identity Amnesia, having temporarily forgotten their rank.
This is a Sister Trope to Heroic Lineage. Extreme examples may involve Divine Parentage or Angel Unaware. The inverse is King Incognito, where it is the character (and often audience) who knows their true identity. Compare and contrast Adopted into Royalty, where the character wasn't born into royalty but winds up in the royal family. Subtrope of The Reveal.
Warning: as a reveal trope, contains unmarked spoilers.
Note: When writing examples, please include how the reveal occurs.
- In ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., Jean finds out that his mother was actually the second princess, believed to be dead, and that he is the heir to the throne. This is revealed rather abruptly in episode 7 when Mauve grabs him on the street and tells him. She found out from a report that her subordinates gathered.
- In the Akazukin Chacha anime, Chacha is the princess of the kingdom. She doesn't know this until Sorges tells her.
- In Attack on Titan, Krista Lenz's real name is revealed to be Historia Reiss, the surname belonging to the true rulers of the Walls.
- In Black Clover, Yuno was left at a church as a baby. He is later revealed to be the lost crown prince of the Spade Kingdom when he is found by his house's retainer, whose family has served the House of Grinberryall for generations. Yuno himself is shocked by the reveal and doesn't want to accept it, declaring himself Yuno of the Clover Kingdom.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, the Mysterious Waif Vivio is revealed to be the clone of the last Sankt Kaiser, and the reason why the Big Bad has been targeting her is that the Saint's Cradle could only be operated by members of the then extinct Sankt Kaiser royal family. As the last Sankt Kaiser is also the Jesus analogue of the setting, she's literally treated like royalty by the Saint Church after this is revealed, though they do respect her wishes to grow up as a normal girl with her adopted mothers.
- Shows up in Alibaba's backstory in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. He was raised in the slums by his mother, but one day the king of his country showed up and revealed that Alibaba was his son and that he must come and live in the palace. Later on (in-series), Alibaba decides that the entire system is screwed up and decides to turn his country into a republic instead.
- In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi and Asuna turn out to be the Prince and Princess of a country in a completely different world.
- One Piece has a couple spoileriffic examples:
- In the Zou arc, Sanji is revealed to be the third son of the Vinsmoke family, formerly the rulers of the entire North Blue (which is to say roughly 1/4 of the world), and still recognized as royalty despite no longer having any land and now operating as assassins for hire.
- Later, in the Reverie arc, another unrelated character revealed to be royalty is Bartholomew Kuma, casually revealed as the former king of the Sorbet Kingdom. The fact is revealed as Kuma is on all fours, acting as a mindless slave for rent.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In the first The Legend of Zelda I manga, Link is revealed to be the Heroic Bastard love child of the previous Zelda and her elf lover. Link was abandoned by his mother because she knew her husband would kill the child. Link himself never actually learns his heritage. His younger sister Zelda never tells him either. This becomes awkward as Link had an (unrequited) crush on her.
- Downplayed in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga. Link was raised in a forest, unaware of his parentage. He later learns that he comes from a noble family implied to be distantly related to Zelda's. His father was also a royal knight.
- In The Promised Neverland, not only is Leuvis revealed to be the younger brother of Legravalima (the Queen of the Demon World), their younger brother is none other than Sonju! Traveling alongside Mujika, he is introduced as a nomadic Warrior Monk who is devout to his religion, which happens to clash with the human farm industry that his family established. Even as a prince of the Royal Family, he wanted nothing to do with his family's actions. After freeing Mujika from imprisonment (as her power to prevent demon regression would get in the way of the farms' profits), Sonju has since been considered a heathen and a criminal. In the case of Leuvis, it was clear from the start that he was a royal with his Grand Duke title, but it wasn't until much later that we learn this pertains to the Royal Family. With the death of his sister, Leuvis returns and seemingly becomes King of the Demon World, but relinquishes his royal title to Mujika, who is now the new Queen.
- Hulkling of the Young Avengers is actually the son of the Skrull Princess Anelle and grandson of Emperor Dorrek VII and Empress R'Kill. His grandfather wanted him killed at birth, as his father was the Kree Captain Mar-Vell, an enemy of the Skrull Empire. His grandmother had one of her servants flee to Earth with him instead, where she raised him as a human child with no knowledge of his ancestry. However, his parents and grandparents are now all dead, and he is the last surviving member of the original Skrull royal line. The Super-Skrull tries to put him on the throne as Emperor Dorrek VIII in the hopes of reunifying the fragmented Skrull Empire.
- A large part of the basis for Child of the Storm. James Potter was really Thor, incarnated as a mortal for the first go-round at this humility thing. It didn't go as planned, what with him dying as James and consequently having to be mind-wiped. A lot of the plot features Harry adjusting to the fact that he's now royalty - divine royalty, no less.
- Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron:
- Rai's actually a member of the Britannian Imperial Family, which technically means he's related to Lelouch. This was directly mentioned in the Author's Notes at the end of the first chapter of the story.
- Additionally, according to Lost Colors, Rai's also a member of the Japanese Imperial Family, though whether this is the case here is still in the air.
- The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Ruby Shell inadvertently blurts out, via a Changeling hive-mind that the heroes have been brought into, that Page Turner is the Changeling Queen. The other Bearers aren't that surprised though. Page herself inadvertently reveals it to Gentle Step in the sequel, when she accidentally says "I" instead of "she" in reference to the Changeling Queen.
- In Tangled In Time, Fyrus was born to Gerudo and Hylian barkeepers in Castle Town and grew up as a normal child, not realizing that male Gerudos are a big deal. When Ganondorf takes over Castle Town, he and his family flee to the Gerudo Desert, where he ends up being crowned king. He jokes that he should have realized it when his mother called him "her little prince."
- In Pokemon: Shadow of Time, Ash learns that he is actually a direct descendant of Sir Aaron of Rota, who was also the king of Rota in the new timeline he is experiencing and is thus Rotas Prince.
- In the Doctor In The Underworld series, Selene is stunned to learn that shes spent decades dismissing Erika as just a servant whore when in reality Erika was not only a lady before she became a vampire but the official mistress of the King of France.
- The 10th Kingdom fic "The Last Dragon" reveals that Wolf is technically a prince of the Second Kingdom, as his mother was the sister to Queen Riding Hood III, although his mother's relationship was rejected by her family because his father was the grandson of the Big Bad Wolf.
- In the Fairy Tail fanfic Wonderland, where Natsu and Lucy are teleported to another world the find, much like Edolas, there are counterparts for them as well. Wonderland Natsu is the prince of the Diamond Kingdom, while Wonderland Lucy is a runway servant girl from the Heart Kingdom who became the Golden Knight, the strongest knight of Diamond. But then Loke reveals that she is the real princess of the Heart Kingdom. She hasn't had time to dwell on it as the Heart Kingdom attacks the Diamond castle.
- In Rainbow Brite and the War of Darkness, it's revealed that Krys is the Dark Princess' brother. She recognizes him and tells him herself. Krys is not an heir as he's her younger brother.
- Not Completely, Altogether Here: Rora learns that she's the heir to the Ozian throne, the next Ozma. She was adopted by her parents and is one of only two who can read the Grimmerie.
- SAPR: Pyrrha Nikos is revealed to have come from a long line of emperors of Mistral, and one of the epithets used for her is The Uncrowned Princess.
- This forms the basis of the plot of Anastasia. The audience knows Anya is actually Grand Duchess Anastasia, but due to her suffering from amnesia, she can only vaguely recall her childhood and doesnt remember her true identity. The only clue she has is a necklace from her grandmother, engraved with the words Together in Paris. She teams up with two con men, Dimitri and Vlad, who intend to take her to Paris and present her as Anastasia to collect the reward money after seeing how much she looks like the Grand Duchess unaware shes the real thing. Dimitri figures it out first after Anya recalls escaping from the palace during the revolution via a secret passage, with the help of a kitchen boy who was actually Dimitri. It takes a little longer for everyone else to catch on, but in the end, Anastasia realizes the truth when she begins to recall Repressed Memories of her childhood, and when her grandmother recognizes her necklace.
- Barbie films:
- Barbie as the Island Princess: Ro's big reveal in the climax, when she confesses her real name "Rosella" and the queen of Paladia recognizes her as her long lost daughter, meaning Ro is a princess.
- Barbie: Princess Charm School: Blair Willows, the ordinary commoner who wins a scholarship to the titular Royal School to become a Lady Royal, is really the missing Princess Sophia of Guardania, in other words, she was already a princess by birth but suffered amnesia and forgot it.
- Barbie: The Pearl Princess: Lumina is revealed to be the missing princess of Seagundia in the climax; she was initially ordered by Caligo to be murdered by Scylla, but she had a change of heart and secretly raised her.
- The Emoji Movie: Jailbreak is revealed to be the missing princess emoji, who left because she was tired of the restrictions and stereotypes associated with her role.
- In Frozen II, Elsa learns that she is actually the fifth spirit as a gift from nature for her mother saving her father even though their peoples were at war, and that is why she has powers. She discovers this by journeying to Ahtohallan, a land her mother used to tell her about when she was a child.
- In Hercules, Hades tries to have his nephew Hercules (in this version a full god initially as the son of Zeus and Hera) turned mortal and killed by his goons. Hercules survives but loses some of his godly immortality and is raised as a foundling by two kindly mortals. After his super strength turns him into the town outcast, his adoptive parents reveal that they believe he is descended from the gods because of an Olympian medal they found on him as a baby. They're right.
- In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel's daughter Melody figures out she is descended from mermaids when she discovers a locket with her name on it in the ocean that was actually a gift for her as a baby showing the kingdom of Atlantica.
- Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights: The Sultan won't allow his son to marry someone of low class. However, when the Sultan hears Aliyah-Din's name, he mentions that's the name of the missing Princess his son was supposed to marry.
- In Tangled, this reveal is a major plot point near the climax, and is a long-running case of Dramatic Irony throughout the whole film. While the audience is told in the beginning that Rapunzel is the princess of Corona, the plot relies on whether or not Mother Gothel can continue hiding it from her, or if she figures it out on her own. Even when she's outright told that the "birthday lights" are from a lantern festival for the princess, she doesn't put it together, possibly because she doesn't know that she shares the princess's birthday. She finally does figure it out when she recognizes that she's been painting Corona's sunburst symbol as a motif in all the murals in her bedroom. This triggers her early memories of her real parents and leads to her realizing that Mother Gothel has been lying to and taking advantage of her all her life, and the plot probably would have ground to a halt if Rapunzel hadn't realized her "mother" was a lying, murderous kidnapper. (Arguably, this whole plot would have been moot if Mother Gothel had simply lied to Rapunzel about when her birthday was).
- In Wreck-It Ralph, King Candy usurped the throne of Princess Vanellope von Schweetz by replacing his code with hers. He couldn't outright delete her code, so he turned her into a glitch, leaving her as a prisoner in her own game; he locked up the memories of everyone in the game, including Vanellope herself, and developed a Fantastic Racism against her in order to keep her from racing and resetting the game. Her true role is revealed when Ralph sees her image on the outside of her game console, showing both that she is supposed to be there and that she is important.
- At the end of The Da Vinci Code, Sophie Neveu and the hero Robert Langdon have finally followed all the clues and reached the end of the quest to find the "Holy Grail", except they only find the "Grail documents", papers and details that follow the descended bloodline of Jesus Christ. Right at the bottom, Robert shows Sophie that she's the last heir.
- Played with in A Knight's Tale. When William is in the stocks for masquerading as a noble-born knight, the Black Prince shows up announcing that he has discovered that William is actually the descendant of a distant branch of the royal family, and therefore off the hook. It is implied that the Prince just made this up because he is impressed by William's courage (William was the only one brave enough to joust against the Prince in an earlier tournament). The Prince then makes sure that everyone understands that he makes this pronouncement as the Royal Heir and thus anyone questioning its validity would be committing treason.
- In The Legend of Johnny Lingo, Tama learns that he's heir to the chief of Turtle Island.
- In The Princess Diaries, Ordinary High-School Student Mia learns she is royalty. She is told her late father was the crown prince of the small European kingdom of Genovia, making her the heir to this kingdom. Now she just needs to learn how to be a proper princess...
- In Spaceballs, Lone Starr was raised in a monastery, with only an unreadable medallion to tell him of his past. Eventually, it is revealed that it is a certificate verifying him as a genuine prince, thereby making him eligible to marry Princess Vespa, and he returns to her just in time to interrupt her Arranged Marriage.
- Star Wars: Luke Skywalker discovers that he is the son of Darth Vader, and also brother to Princess Leia — which turns out to be a useful way of resolving their Love Triangle with Han...
- Tears of the Sun: Lt. Waters and his team have been escorting a U.S. citizen, her staff, and other refugees to safety in war-torn Nigeria. A local militia has been so doggedly pursuing them for days on end that Waters eventually forces the refugees to reveal the truth: that one of them is actually the last survivor of a deposed royal house whom the militia wants to see dead.
- The later chapters of The Apothecary Diaries, as a sendup of Chinese period romances, has this reveal for both protagonist Mao Mao and her Love Interest/male lead Jinshi, albeit as an internal reveal for her. The former, despite living her life with her adoptive father near the Red Light District and spending time as an apothecary and later a food taster/investigator for the Emperor's harem after being abducted, is in reality the daughter of the high ranking general Rakan. Jinshi, meanwhile, was thought to be an unusually high ranking eunuch by Mao Mao only to be revealed as the Imperial Brother and further still revealed to be switched with the crown prince at birth. It's that first reveal that allows Jinshi to justify making Maomao a serious candidate for his bride.
- Ascendance of a Bookworm:
- Late in the second arc, Myne's mentor at the temple, Ferdinand, and Sylvester, a priest Myne met several months into supposedly working in the same building as him, but seemed to have known Ferdinand for a long time, turn out to be the children of the previous ruler of the region. The latter is actually the current ruler pulling a King Incognito, with the reveal happening because, Myne, the main narrator, was Locked Out of the Loop about it.
- This is later invoked for Myne herself. The story's society is so stratified that if commoners and nobles come into conflict, the law will always be in favor of the nobles, even if they're the ones who did wrong, as long as nobody of even higher status is significantly affected by the situation. When merely having nobles allies who will get angry if something happens to her is no longer enough to ensure her security, those same allies scheme to make it look like Myne was a noble's daughter Sent Into Hiding all along, making the penalty for harming her much bigger.
- Bardic Voices: In The Lark And The Wren, once he is encouraged to remember who he is, it turns out that Kestrel is actually the prince of Birnam, who fled after his uncle deposed his father, and is running from the assassins chasing him. However, when they go to confront his uncle, it turns out that his father was the tyrant while his uncle is a good and popular king who only reluctantly sent the assassins in self-defense. Kestrel chooses to renounce his claim to the throne in favour of his uncle and cousin, in the process showing off his stammer to the people then completely disqualifies himself by marrying a gypsy and becoming a Bard.
- King Belgarion of Riva in The Belgariad is the descendant of a Moses in the Bulrushes, a few hundred years down the line. He has a strange birthmark, and an heirloom sword which he claims from the throne room where it was stored when he finds out his station.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Horse and His Boy Shasta discovers that the reason he and Prince Corin look so alike is that they are actually twins Separated at Birth. Being slightly older, he ends up being heir, and later king, of Archenland, much to his twin brother's relief.
- The Courtship of Princess Leia: Han is outed as the rightful King of Corellia by Threepio (who's trying to help him compete with Isolder, a prince), though Corellia's been a republic for centuries. It turns out this isn't true; the ancestor from whom he'd supposedly inherited this was just a pretender, explaining why Han didn't claim the title before.
- The Dalemark Quartet: At the climax of The Crown of Dalemark, as a group of characters are trying to decide who will be the next ruler, Mitt wins the competition, which he wasn't trying to do, and to his surprise finds out that he's a direct descendant of the Adon, the last king of Dalemark. He accepts the crown after some persuasion.
- In Oath of Gold, the third book of The Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy by Elizabeth Moon, Paks takes up the task of locating the rightful king of Lyonya, a man with elven blood and specific birthright powers that make him the only one the elves will accept as ruler. He was stolen by evil forces as a child, and, it turns out, enslaved for some years, and forced to endure some terrible things that the book doesn't go into great detail on. A visitor contrived to give him a chance to escape, and he found his way to some distant relatives who didn't realize who he was but raised him well. He went on to make his own life, and it isn't until Paks figures out who he is that his true purpose and powers are revealed - but it turns out that half a dozen people actually knew where he was, but feared to bring the truth to light because 1) his time in the hands of the evil ones could have damaged him beyond help (specifically, making him an unstable ruler or making him unable to wield the powers needed to perform his duties as king), and 2) until shortly before the story begins, his sister was alive and showed great promise as a ruler.
- Throughout the first Deltora Quest series, Lief and his friends are trying to gather the gems to the magical Belt of Deltora so the hidden heir can oust the Shadow Lord. In the middle of the final battle, Lief realizes that the reason why it didn't shine when Jasmine (the person who they thought was the heir) put it on was because the gems were in the wrong order. He fixes this and goes to take it to her, putting it on again to free his hands. It promptly shines for him instead, revealing that his parents are the deposed king and queen, merely disguised as a blacksmith and his wife.
- On the Discworld it's all but admitted out loud that Carrot Ironfoundersson is the long-lost heir to the long-empty throne of Ankh-Morpork. He was found in the wild and raised by dwarfs (and still considers himself an unusually tall dwarf), and he has both a crown-shaped birthmark and a Cool Sword (which, while not enchanted, is far from ordinary). Carrot, however, is happy with his position as a captain in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, has no intention of reclaiming the throne, and even goes out of his way to obfuscate any more evidence he's the lost king of Ankh.
- Danzi tells Ping in Dragon Keeper Trilogy that she must be the descendant of one of the two dragon keeper families, which is why she is able to hear him.
- In The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick, the king of Babel has been missing for a few decades. Will, the protagonist, falls in with a con man named Nat, who comes up with a plan to pass off Will as the king's bastard son and therefore the sole heir to the throne. In the end, it turns out that Nat is both the long-lost king and Will's biological father, meaning that Will really is the heir to the throne.
- The Dresden Files: Genealogical research prompted by Harry Dresden on a hunch reveals that apparently, all present-day Knights of the Cross are distant descendants of well-remembered royal figures. Probably less of a stretch than some other examples since all the intervening generations necessarily mean that royal DNA had plenty of time to get around, and wielders of the Swords are definitely chosen at least as much for their actual character as for any other reason... but as pure coincidence, it certainly would make for a curious one.
- Jax from The Grim Reaper's Apprentice is revealed to be the child of the Grim Reaper himself.
- Heir Apparent: The virtual reality game "Heir Apparent" starts with the player character learning that their birth parents were a servant woman and the now-deceased King Cynric, who has named the player the heir to the throne.
- Inheritance Cycle: Eragon is the son of a Dragon Rider. When he and Murtagh start comparing their families they discover that they have the same mother; Murtagh later yelling that his father's Cool Sword should have gone to his eldest son, not his youngest... It later turns out that they are only half-brothers, Eragon's father actually being Brom, also a past Dragon Rider.
- In The Land of Bad Fantasy by KJ Taylor, Ana discovers that King Petrolum wasn't lying when he told the lizard army she was his daughter and heir after all...
- Though these days the reader is likely to already know, Strider the Ranger appears in the narrative of Lord of the Rings several chapters before Elrond solemnly identifies him as Chieftain of the Dunedain of the North and Heir of Isildur at the Council of Elrond. This makes Aragorn the rightful king of Arnor and Gondor, but what matters to Frodo is that the One Ring—now also known as Isildur's Bane—was taken as an heirloom by Aragorn's ancestor.
"Then it belongs to you, and not to me at all!" cried Frodo in amazement, springing to his feet, as if he expected the Ring to be demanded at once.
- Several books later, preparing to come before the Steward of Gondor with Gandalf, Pippin still hasn't cottoned on to the fact that his Ranger friend is really royalty.
"It is scarcely wise when bringing the news of the death of his heir to a mighty lord to speak over much of the coming of one who will, if he comes, claim the kingship. Is that enough?"
"Kingship?" said Pippin amazed.
"Yes," said Gandalf. 'If you have walked all these days with closed ears and mind asleep, wake up now!"
- Aragorn is further revealed several times during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and its aftermath, most memorably by his skill in aiding the Black Breath-afflicted Faramir.
"Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known."
And Gandalf, who stood by, said: "Men may long remember your words, Ioreth!"
- Several books later, preparing to come before the Steward of Gondor with Gandalf, Pippin still hasn't cottoned on to the fact that his Ranger friend is really royalty.
- In The Lumatere Chronicles, Froi thinks that he is the orphaned son of Lumaterians lost when the curse cut off the refugees from Lumatere and the scattered across the continent. He then turns out to have the distinctive features of Serka Charionite, revealing that he is the son of the queen and her lover, the inventor who has just been mentoring him. It comes as a surprise to all three of them and they form a seriously Dysfunctional Family.
- Simeon from the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series was a foundling with a gold ring revealing him to be a direct descendant of the Fisher King (the last ruler of the previous dynasty). By the time he is told at the end of the series, he is left as pretty much the only eligible heir to the throne, and able to marry his girlfriend, daughter of the previous king (and the other current claimant).
- In the second Nevermoor book, it is discovered that Lambeth is actually a princess from the Wintersea Republic. She, like Morrigan, was smuggled into the Free State illegally—people in the Wintersea Republic aren't even supposed to know there is a Free State—in order to join Wunsoc, who can help her get her gift of seeing the future under control. The penalty for crossing the border illegally in her part of the world is death, so she has to keep her status a secret for her and her family's safety. Because she's such a Bad Liar, this results in her barely talking to the rest of her Unit for the entire first year she knows them—however, when they find out, they all swear on their lives not to out her.
Hawthorne: Always thought she seemed a bit posh.
- In the Old Kingdom books, Lirael discovers in a vision that her father was the Abhorsen, meaning that she is now the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. This is why her Clayr seer power never developed. Instead, she ends up with the ability to see the past thanks to her mixed heritage. Something that is much more important to the plot than it seems at first.
- In L. Frank Baum's second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Tip, the young protagonist, spends almost the whole book searching for the missing Princess Ozma of Oz. It turns out the Wizard gave her to a witch, who turned her into a boy, who just happens to be... Tip!
- The Perfect Princess, one of the Quentaris Chronicles books, has Tab, an orphan working in the Dung Brigade with a fascination for theatre. One day, she meets a mysterious stranger who claims to be searching for her on behalf of her mother, her hero the fabled missing Perfect Princess. Rumours get out, and people hail her as the new Princess while the Archon, Duelphs, and Nibhellines the three most powerful factions in the city try to bribe her to leave and maintain the status quo. At the last minute, she decides that it is all too much pressure and publicly rejects the throne, claiming that it was all a ruse and she is just an actor; then going off to meet her parents.
- The Princess Diaries is about a teenage girl, Amelia "Mia" Thermopolis who discovers that her father is actually the ruling Prince of Genovia, a small European country and, due to him being rendered sterile by testicular cancer and the resulting treatments, she is now the heiress apparent to the throne. She is not happy about this at all, preferring her previous life as an Ordinary High-School Student and it takes a lot of time for her to grow into her new role.
- Crown Prince Alaric of Caederan in The Quest of the Unaligned was sent away as a young child to be a Hidden Backup Prince. He was supposed to only stay in Tonzimmiel for about ten years before being informed of his. This plan was unwittingly wrecked when Alaric's Tonzimmelian foster parents died and Alaric was spirited off by Tonzimmiel's orphanage system. Then a Mysterious Stranger shows up, claiming that Alaric is a prince, and tricks him into going on the titular quest, during which he comes to accept his true heritage.
- Inverted in Ranger's Apprentice book 8, where a character reveals to the protagonists that he ( Halt) is the rightful King of Clonmel, though he left because his slightly younger Evil Twin (though "evil" may be pushing it a little) attempted to kill him for the throne. Halt, being who he is, was never too excited about being a king anyway, so he left.
- In the book Stardust, Tristan's mother is a kidnapped princess held as a slave. So when his father's flirtations with her turn into a wonderful afternoon, she's horrified at the prospect that her son will be just as much a slave as she, so she leaves him at the father's doorstep. Eventually, the witch holding her captive is killed, and she tells Tristan his true parentage. Thanks to a lot of plot, a dying proclamation, and fratricidal tendencies on the part of his uncles, Tristan is not only revealed as a member of the royal household, but he's also the last surviving male heir to complete the challenge set forth by his grandfather in order to become king.
- Subverted in The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibotson. The protagonist, Annika, is a foundling brought up by the cook and housekeeper of three Absent Minded Professors. She dreams that someday her true mother will come for her, and prove to be someone rich and important. Then Edeltraut von Tannenberg turns up claiming to be her mother. It is later revealed that she is an Impoverished Patrician who only wanted to get her hands on the jewels a friend had left Annika, which were supposedly fake but she discovered were actually real. Annika is still willing to go with her until her friends find the midwife who identified Edeltraut as her mother and prove she was bought off. At this point, Annika happily abandons her 'mother' and goes back to being an apprentice cook with her foster family.
- In Rebecca Reisert's novel The Third Witch, a retelling of Macbeth, the titular character is a young girl called Gilly who was taken in by two old women living in the woods after she was orphaned as a child. Her main goal is to kill Macbeth, the man who murdered her father and married her mother, the future Lady Macbeth. In the end, it is revealed that Gilly is a princess as she is the great-granddaughter of a previous king, Kenneth. Her real name is Roah, the same as her mother.
- In Vampire Academy, Jill Mastrano is introduced as a non-royal Moroi in Shadow Kiss, and spends the next two books in this role. In Last Sacrifice, she is later revealed to be royalty, the paternal half-sister of Princess Lissa Dragomir. Rose announces Jill's true parentage in a public session of Court. Jill's existence is used to give Lissa status as head of a living royal house, giving her voting rights in the royal council, and a valid claim as a candidate for the throne. Jill herself is made a Princess.
- In The Wheel of Time, through a convoluted series of events and prophecies, Rand is actually the son of Andor's previous Daughter-Heir, Tigraine. At first, he is worried by a noblewoman referring to his and his Love Interests, Elaine's, mothers as cousins, but careful questioning reveals that this is only in the sense that all the noble families are related. However, this is less important than the fact that Tigraine became an Aiel Maiden of the Spear and gave birth to him on Dragonmount, thereby making him the Dragon Reborn.
- Kvothe from The Wise Man's Fear is heavily implied (but not yet confirmed) to be a slightly inverted example. Turns out his mother may have been a Vintish noblewoman who eloped with a Edema Ruh. Unfortunately, the implications come when his prospective patron is about to marry his aunt, who now has a serious grudge against the Edema Ruh.
- Wings of Fire:
- Near the end of the first book, Kestrel reveals to Tsunami that her mother is the queen of the SeaWings.
- Sunny is revealed to be princess of the SandWings.
- Game of Thrones confirms that Jon Snow has Royal Blood and is an heir to the throne as a secret trueborn descendant of the original royal line. It is revealed this was hidden to protect this character and save this character's life.
- Once Upon a Time:
- Emma Swan discovers that the reason she was abandoned as a baby is that her parents are actually Snow White and Prince Charming and they sent her through a magic wardrobe to protect her from the world-destroying curse. She is more concerned by the fact that, thanks to the stasis produced by said curse, she is now the same age as her parents.
- Henry actually goes through this several times by the end of season 3. From starting as the adopted son of the town mayor, it turns out that his adopted mother is the Evil Queen (and his step-great-grandmother...), his mother is the The Chosen One, and his grandparents are Prince Charming, Snow White, and The Dark One. Go back another generation, and there are various additional royals. While he believes his heritage from the start, thanks to his book of fairy tales and their too-accurate pictures, it is only confirmed once the curse is broken.
- To top it off, it's revealed that one of his great-grandparents is Peter Pan.
- In Forever, the episode "The King of Columbus Circle" sees waitress Lydia learn that the man she only recently learned was her long-lost biological father really was the deposed king of the distant country Urkesh, with the result that Lydia is technically the princess of Urkesh even if the royal family doesn't have any status these days.
- Takes a particularly dark turn in the Mahabharata epic — After slaying their treacherous cousin in a costly and bloody war of succession, Arjuna and his brother find out that Karna, said cousin's best friend and Noble Top Enforcer, whom either they or their teacher mocked for being a lowborn commoner, was actually their long lost older brother - the princes are startled to realize not only that they have just committed fratricide, but that they could have avoided the whole bloody mess as both they and their cousin may have been willing to accept him as king, had they only known of his true lineage.
- The Trojan War: Paris is revealed to be a prince of Troy, sent away to be raised by a shepherd to avert a prophecy that he would bring ruin to the city. Unfortunately, that prophecy was the Ur-Example of the Cassandra Truth, Paris stays in Troy, and, gets called to judge a beauty contest...
- In A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder the entire plot is kicked off when Miss Shingle tells Monty that he is actually a member of the infamous Blue Blood D'Ysquith family through his recently deceased mother, who got disowned when she married Monty's father, a Castilian. This means Monty has a chance at becoming Earl of Highhurst... if he can bump off everyone in front of him in the line of succession first.
- In Oedipus the King neither Oedipus nor the audience knows until near the end that he is the son of the King & Queen of Thebes who had been left to die of exposure as an infant because the Oracle at Delphi predicted that he'd murder his father & marry his mother. He was raised by a woodman who kept the secret from him; when Oedipus went to the Oracle he received a similar prediction and, thinking that his adopted mother & father were his real parents, left home so he wouldn't do that. Oedipus gets in a fight with a rich man and kills him, then later comes to Thebes and answers the Riddle of the Sphinx, thus ridding Thebes of the threat and winning the Queen's hand in marriage. When Thebes is in the midst of a famine Oedipus investigates the reason and is told that he must discover the murderer of the previous king. Oedipus finds out piecemeal all of these various elements, putting two and two together to realize he himself is the reason.
- There are several instances in the Dragon Quest series where it's revealed that the Hero of that game has a royal lineage.
- Dragon Quest V plays with this in that the beginning of the game shows you born to a king and queen in a castle, only for it to seemingly subvert it as a dream and that youre just the son of a wandering adventurer. Then it's later revealed that you really are the long-lost prince of Gotha and that the "dream" was actually a memory of your birth sometime shortly before your mother was kidnapped.
- Dragon Quest VIII reveals in the post-game that the Hero was the son of prince of Argonia, who was the original heir to the throne before he ended up in the Dragovian Village and fell in love with a girl there. This reveal makes it possible so that you can marry your Love Interest, saving her from a miserable Arranged Marriage with a Prince Charmless and fulfill a marriage pact that was made generations ago by Argonia and Trode.
- In Dragon Quest X, its revealed in the fourth expansion that you are the prince/princess of an ancient kingdom, and part of a royal family that had the power to control time. The kingdom was eventually destroyed by monsters led by Cronos (later revealed to be your father), and the village where you and your sibling were raised in, Tenton, was established by the survivors of the attack.
- In Dragon Quest XI, the Hero is revealed early on to be a prince of the fallen Kingdom of Dundrasil, which had fallen to monsters in their search for the Luminarys reincarnation.
- Martin from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has this reveal delivered by the Player Character; all legitimate heirs to the Imperial throne are dead, so here comes the illegitimate Hidden Backup Prince.
- Two examples in Final Fantasy V:
- Faris is really the older sister of Princess Lenna, having been lost at sea when she was five. She and Lenna have matching pendants, and Lenna confronts Faris by calling her "sister" during an optional scene at Castle Tycoon. Faris herself, however, tries to stay in denial about it until they both find their Disappeared Dad.
- Galuf is King of Bal. He's got amnesia until he reunites with his granddaughter Krile, but neither of them see fit to mention their royal status until the others follow them to their own world and find Galuf sitting on a throne. Since both of them are Modest Royalty, they'd rather be treated like friends than monarchs.
- The Fire Emblem series like this trope, though they play with it occasionally.
- In Fire Emblem Gaiden, Celica is an Internal Reveal version of this trope: she, her starting party members and the player know she's the last remaining heir of Zofia, but Alm (her childhood friend) doesn't find out until more than halfway through the game, long after he already made some brutal anti-noble comments towards her. It also turns out that Alm is really royalty, he's the only son of Emperor Rudolf of Rigel, the country he's fighting. He only finds out the truth from his father after he mortally wounds him. Naturally, he does not take this well. Interestingly, the spoilered example combines the Birthmark of Destiny, Luke, I Am Your Father and Only the Chosen May Wield version of this trope.
- In Genealogy of the Holy War, Patty and Faval had no idea about their Missing Mom Briggid's noble origins... until midway through the game's second half, when Team Dad Lewyn explains it all.
- In The Blazing Blade, Lyn finds out early on in her story that she's not just The Chief's Daughter, she's also the heir to the throne of Caelin (her mother fell in love with the chief of the Lorca tribe, and they eloped) and has to take it back from her Evil Uncle.
- Played with in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones on two occasions. First, Joshua is revealed to the prince of Jehanna mid-way through Eirika's story, but he was well aware of this, he was just hiding it from the rest of the party (and the player). Secondly, L'arachel tries to Invoke this dramatically on Eirika, but no-one was ever fooled for a moment.
- Inverted in Radiant Dawn when Pelleas is revealed to not be the prince of Daein, the birthmark he supposedly had was really the mark of a Spirit Charmer. Played straight with Micaiah being Sanaki's long-lost big sister and the true Apostle of Begnion, however she declines to act on this and becomes Queen of Daein instead. Played with in regards to Soren, who is revealed to be the true prince of Daein through his mother Almedha recognising him. However, he never becomes aware of this himself... and considering how his father is the Mad King Ashnard, it's probably for the best.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Validar reveals himself first as the King of Plegia and later as the player character's father, and by extension, the Avatar is now the heir to Plegia's throne. Virion is also revealed to be the head of a noble house in Valm at the start of the game's second act, though this is pretty obvious given how he acts.
- Played with in Fire Emblem Fates since the protagonist is royalty, but not the royalty they think they are. They were raised as royalty of Nohr, but later find out the king kidnapped them as a toddler after killing the King of Hoshido. They later run into their long-lost Hoshidan kin... in the middle of a war between the two countries. Whether they choose to reclaim their birthright or keep fighting for the family who raised them leads to completely different storylines. A third route reveals that the protagonist is actually the heir to a third kingdom ruled by their actual biological father who is a dragon, and this comes up when he/she runs away from BOTH realms and, with the help of their best friend, go into said kingdom itself...
- Played with in several ways regarding Claude von Riegan, one of the three Lords of Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Unlike Dimitri (Crown Prince of his kingdom) and Edelgard (Imperial Princess of her empire), he's heir to the Riegan Dukedom, the leading house of the Leicester Alliance, and since they're run by a group of five houses and have no monarch to swear fealty to, he's technically only nobility. However, it's revealed to very few characters and the player on his own path that he's Khalid, a prince of Almyra, Fodlan's much larger neighbor to the east. Because his mother is Duke Oswald von Riegan's daughter and his uncle Godfrey is dead, he has legitimate claim to both Almyra and Leicester. Unless you see certain Supports of his, romance him as a female Byleth, or carefully read between the lines in certain placesThose places being... , no one finds out about his initial birthright, and he'll only be revealed as such during the Epilogue ending cards. Funnily enough, during the Golden Deer's version of the scene that occurs after Chapter 3, "Mutiny in the Mist," Claude will confess that he had this trope pulled on him regarding his Mother's heritage, as he had only learned about both it and his Crest a few years before Part I of the story takes place.
- Lysander's campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic IV ends with him drawing the legendary Gryphonheart sword which only a member of the Gryphonheart bloodline can wield. Script notes by the game's writer reveal that he's not the only Gryphonheart on Axeoth. The protagonists of the Might and Death campaigns, Waerjak and Gauldoth Half-dead, are his brothers, though none of them are aware of their familial bonds.
- About halfway through King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human, the slave boy Gwydion stumbles upon an oracle which reveals that he is really the long-lost Prince Alexander of Daventry, kidnapped by his wizard master as a baby. Also, his twin sister Princess Rosella just happens to need rescuing from a dragon, if he can escape his master and get to Daventry fast enough...
- Oswald from Odin Sphere is eventually revealed to be a long-lost member of Titanian royalty by the end of the game. In fact, this enables him to get around King Gallon's immortality since he can only be killed by a member of Titanian royalty.
- In case the title wasn't a clue, this is a big factor in the plot of Queen at Arms. With her adoptive father dead, protagonist Marcus does not and cannot know that she is the rightful Queen of Orthera until her big brother Nick tells her.
- When your captain first meets the Incognito Princess in Sunless Skies, one might think she is an incandescent young lady impersonating a princess. Then, when you speak to her to start her personal quest, she removes her tiara... only to bring out an even fancier one, stating that she is the daughter of Her Renewed Majesty (probably the Captivating Princess from seen in Fallen London) travelling incognito.
- Dead Cells: It eventually turns out that the Player Character is really the King who is inadvertently responsible for The Plague ravaging the island. Specifically, youre his soul/consciousness, trapped in a small slime and subconsciously trying to return to your true body. This is why the King is inexplicably vegetative when you confront him in his throne room; without his soul, hes just an Empty Shell. In the True Ending, you finally manage to repossess your body and reclaim your royalty... not that said royalty means much, since the plague had already destroyed most of the island by the start of the game.
- The protagonist in Cute Knight has distinctive pink hair and a heart-shaped birthmark, both of which are very similar to those of the lost princess, Alexandra. She is actually Alexandra's older sister, who was Switched at Birth with the man who is now Prince Kirelan. This is only revealed in a very few story paths, however.
- Super Mario RPG: After arriving in Nimbus Land, party member Mallow, a puffball who was found as a baby and raised by frog people, discovers that not only does everyone there look like him, but the King and Queen are his parents.
- Chrono Trigger gives us two examples:
- During the early parts of the game, it's revealed that Marle is Princess Nadia of the Guardia Kingdom. It's first brought up when Crono and Lucca had to prevent a Grandfather Paradox, in which they rescue Marle's ancestor Queen Leene back in 600 A.D., which in turn prevents Marle from being Ret-Gone. Marle's story is that she consistently butts heads with her father King Guardia, who is very strict and expects her to behave more like a "proper" princess. Her home is a Gilded Cage and all she wants to do is explore life outside the castle. As dangerous as it is, her adventure with Crono throughout the game fulfills that wish.
- Much later on, Magus is revealed to be Prince Janus of the Zeal Kingdom. He's introduced as the Fiendlord Magus of 600 A.D. and seemingly wants to Take Over the World with Lavos, an Eldritch Abomination several characters believed he created. It turns out that he didn't create Lavos and was trying to summon the monster in order to kill it because it's tied to nearly every negative event he's ever experienced. In the distant past of 12,000 B.C., Magus, then known as Prince Janus realized his mother Queen Zeal began to become unhinged with a hunger for power when she was exposed to Lavos' own power. She enlists her daughter Princess Schala to help her with harnessing the monster's power using the Mammon Machine. Janus begins to hate his mother, but still shows love and concern for his sister, as she has to put up with their mother's behavior. One day, the Mammon Machine that harnessed Lavos' power goes haywire, which caused Janus to warp to 580 A.D. He is found by Ozzie, who believes he raised a Tyke Bomb, but Janus, now known as Magus had his own goal from the start. He grew stronger and waited 20 years to finally settle the score with Lavos.
- Immediately after the magic system of Galebound is revealed and his power within it explained, farmboy Conan learns of his true identity as the heir to the defunct throne of Evenheim when his would-be assassin, Pascal, shows up just in time to spill the secret himself.
- Kaiten Mutenmaru: The Tritons reveal Umimi Sheela to be King Ocean's daughter.
- In BattleTech, Franklin Sakamoto turns out to be a secret second cousin to the heir apparent of the Draconis Combine, which Captain Vershtadt reveals by showing the royal crest on Franklin's ancestral sword. Franklin is not pleased.
- DuckTales (1987): In "Jungle Duck", the eponymous Jungle Duck happens to be the long-vanished Prince Greydrake.
- Played straight and inverted in Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Using a Magically Binding Contract, Queen Eclipsa forces the Magic High Commission to admit they switched her half-monster daughter Meteora at birth with a peasant. As Mewni's throne has a matrilineal line of descent, Meteora (now known as Miss Heinous) is the legitimate queen, while the three centuries of royalty that followed Eclipsa (include Star herself) are unknowing impostors.
- Steven Universe: In "A Single Pale Rose", it's revealed that Steven's mother, Rose Quartz, was actually Pink Diamond. By extension, this means that Steven technically has a right to a place in the Great Diamond Authority.
- The season two finale of Tangled: The Series reveals that Eugene is the child of the Dark King.