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"The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known."
Ioreth, Wise Woman of Gondor, The Return of the King

Royal Blood! It's real, it's significant, and only the person who's really got it is suitable for the throne. In Fantasy, it may actually endow the person with magical powers, or even be required by the land (and, unfortunately, making it useful in Blood Magic). Features even in SF for a Feudal Future. And when it comes to being Offered the Crown, Royal Blood may encourage them to choose you.

Useful rule for at least curbing a bloody Succession Crisis. On the other hand, the Arranged Marriages to preserve it may lead to Royally Screwed Up Families, especially since the parents, and grandparents, etc. of the bride and bridegroom were also, likely Kissing Cousins (the Arranged Marriage is very common, although fictional royalty find it remarkably easy to throw off the arrangements, marry for love, and face no repercussions. Like, say, war in the event of a dynastic marriage). Heir Club for Men and I Want Grandkids are common.

In combat, No One Gets Left Behind applies with particular force to those of Royal Blood. Even if they are dead, the soldiers often go to great efforts to recover the body. Leaving aside issues of honor and loyalty, there is also the grim necessity of being able to establish that this person died, so that succession can be more or less orderly (Especially since this often occurs in time of crisis).

Idealistic stories on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism generally have the rightful king also be the better ruler. More cynical stories split them up, and then even Lawful Good characters may support the worse ruler because the one who would be a Reasonable Authority Figure would create a dangerous precedent in ignoring the laws of succession. Royal Blood may require your putting up with Royal Brats, The Evil Prince and The Caligula — all the time, if it's Villainous Lineage.

Super-Trope of Royalty Superpower and Really Royalty Reveal. Almost always required for the Rightful King Returns. May lead to the Man in the Iron Mask or Hidden Backup Prince. Will likely be inherent in a Princess Classic and Prince Charming. Obviously common in the Standard Royal Court or Decadent Court. Will often appear with Ermine Cape Effect and Requisite Royal Regalia, where royalty uses visible clothing to show off their status — all the time. Conversely, Modest Royalty may appear humbly dressed all the time (in Real Life, royalty will usually dress practically, and in special circumstances, dress to impress).

Compare Blue Blood, Idle Rich. Contrast Adopted into Royalty.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.: The king's grandson, Prince Schwan, is the only heir to the throne, until it is revealed that the main character Jean Otus, and his sister Lotta, are of royal blood through their mother, a princess who was thought to have died in a shipwreck before they were born. Jean is older than Schwan, making him the true heir to the throne.
  • Attack on Titan: The story talks quite a bit about the royal family and being of royal blood. The Reiss family are the true rulers of the walls on Paradis Island, and the Fritz family that's in charge at the start of the series is a puppet family. Christa Lenz, real name Historia Reiss, is the true queen of the walls and eventually gets crowned. Grisha Yeager's first wife Dina was the last remaining descendant (at least before birthing her son Zeke) of the Fritz family that didn't accompany the king to Paradis Island when he fled there. While we don't know if there are any specific royal family powers, the Founding Titan has been passed down the Fritz/Reiss family for generations (until it was stolen by Grisha and then given to Eren) and only a member of the royal family can fully unlock its Coordinate ability, which includes the powers to control Titans and alter memories of Eldians. As Eren, the current holder of the Founding Titan, is not of royal blood, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to master the Coordinate. He seems to be able to use some of its powers when he touches a member of the royal family (such as in the case of the Smiling Titan, aka his stepmother Dina), however. Also, the Founding Titan is currently what the Kingdom of Marley are after and the reason why they attacked Paradis Island in the first place was to retrieve it from the Reiss family. Too bad Grisha got there first.
  • Black Clover: The Clover Kingdom has three royal families — the Houses of Silva, Vermillion, and Kira. The Silva family includes the heroine Noelle and her siblings Nozel, Nebra, and Solid. The Vermillion family has Mimosa, her brother Kirsch, and their cousins Mereoleona, Fuegoleon, and Leopold. The Kira family is the current family on the throne. Royalty all have high levels of magic power because their ancestors stole mana from the elves.
  • In Bleach, more and more characters are revealed to be of Noble blood, including Nanao, in her backstory and even Ichigo and Isshin themselves, that it can feel like an overused, uninspired reveal in later chapters or break Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • Dragon Knights: The manga presents an incredibly complicated Blood Magic form of this: The Dragon Lord's wife has been cursed to be unable to reproduce with him, he won't take another lover to produce an heir, and his blood is literally poisonous because it's super-condensed light magic and kills anything that touches it but a blood relative or his wife. So: only Rath, a demon bound in a dragon body by the magic in the Dragon Lord's blood, is a valid heir. Someone better try to talk Rath out of those suicidal tendencies...
  • My-Otome: The members of the Windbloom royal family have the inherited ability to activate Lost Technology. This becomes important later, as some believe Mashiro to be an impostor, and therefore unable to activate the Harmonium. While Mashiro was able to activate it a little, since she knew the song and had an Otome with her, she couldn't unlock its full power because she was indeed an impostor. Nina, however, is the real Mashiro, and since she fills all three requirements (is a Windbloom, knows the song, and is an Otome), she unlocks its full power.
  • Castle in the Sky: The ancient floating city of Laputa was ruled by a royal family in its heyday, and only full-blooded members of that family could use its technology/magic fully. By the present day, the Laputan royal family has died out, with no known survivors. Both Sheeta and the main villain, Muska, are later revealed to be descendants of the Laputan royalty, making them (very distant relatives). Muska needs Sheeta (or more specifically, the necklace she wears that is a royal heirloom) in order to access the ruins of Laputa; once he succeeds, he intends to restore Laputa to its former glory and take over Earth as its ruler.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: Two members of the Royal House of Roshtaria working in concert are the only ones who can control the Eye of God.
  • Fruits Basket: Sohma Ayame's elaborate explanation of why he had to have long hair invoked this trope.
  • Hanasakeru Seishounen: This becomes a plot point later on. Kajika is actually the granddaughter of King Machaty. Since her father is Machaty's oldest son, she is actually first in line for the throne. This is not revealed to anyone outside of the main cast, as it would make her a target for assassination since there is already a Succession Crisis. In the end, her cousin Rumaty becomes king.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: The various royal lines of the Ancient Belka kings come with various powers that allow them to become Persons of Mass Destruction. The reason behind this isn't as idealistic as most examples though — during the Ancient Belka War, the different factions delved deeply into genetic engineering to seek an upper hand over everyone else, and their kings greatly modified themselves to not only gain these powers, but to force these powers onto their descendants as well.
  • One Piece: While it's unknown how much the trope is in play, the Marines certainly believe in it; the royalty they are tracking is the Pirate King's. And then there are the Celestial Dragons, descendants of the founders of the World Government. Their royal blood affords them immense wealth and political power which they are more than willing to abuse for the sake of their own amusement.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Negi and Asuna have Royal Blood, but in this case there's a good reason that this is important, as the person who started the royal bloodline is heavily implied to be the mage that created the Magic World. Konoka is also of Royal Blood, from a different family. This is a key plot point in the Kyoto arc and ignored after that.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: The whole Royal Bloodline thing is a plot point of sorts in the original Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA series. It's mostly used to confirm that Tenchi is actually related to the then-thought long lost Prince Yosho, and thus a member of the Juraian Royal Family. It doesn't sit well with Emperor Azusa.

  • In the Child Ballad Fause Foodrage, Fause Foodrage declares that he will not respect this in a newborn boy; he will spare the queen's child only if it's a girl.

    Comic Books 
  • In the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics, the Boisterous Bruiser of the group, Plourr Illo, was revealed to be the last of the Eiattu royal line, her parents and sisters having been killed by other nobles in a revolution. A noble who she initially believes to have been in on that gets her to head back to her homeworld, Rogue Squadron in tow, to try and take over. Most of the nobility is happy enough with that, especially since there's another revolution going on, this one led by someone who claims to be another survivor: her brother. He's not.
  • In the Hellboy comics, Hellboy himself was recently revealed to be the last living descendent of King Arthur, which makes him the rightful king of England. Among other things, this means that he can use Excalibur and call forth an army of England's dead soldiers.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), the Acorn bloodline plays a number of important parts in the story, though it was mostly so Sally could use a powerful artifact of her family's. An interesting plot point was made, though, when Sally's brother Elias stepped up to the throne — their mother, Alicia warned that his wife's child could never be a princess because he didn't sire her. He's more than happy to make sure she never takes up the throne.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: Since Lady Mordiel is barren, Princess Amaya is the only heir to House Amethyst. Part of the conflict is that Mordiel wants to raise Amaya as her own to rule House Amethyst with an iron fist.

    Fairy Tales 
  • All the Prince Charmings and princess equivalents that heroines and heroes marry at the end of story — too many to list. Just about the only way is to be the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter (all right, the witch's, or ogre's, or devil's, or what have you), or a Shapeshifting Lover from a magical family. The heroes and heroines have more variation.
  • In The False Prince And The True, a young man is put on trial for his life because he struck the prince. He saves himself by revealing that the purported prince was a quarryman's son, and he is the king's son by a secret marriage.
  • In The Lute Player, the couple are the king and queen.
  • In Maid Maleen, she is a princess.
  • In The Six Swans, both the heroine and her six brothers.
  • In Costanza / Costanzo, Costanza nobly rejects the notion of marrying below her Royal Blood.
  • In The Bee and the Orange Tree, the girl living with the ogres who saves the prince is herself a princess — and the prince's own cousin.
  • In Finette Cedron, the sisters are abandoned by their parents in the woods for reasons of poverty — even though they are king and queen.
  • In Rushen Coatie, the heroine is a princess.
  • In Princess Belle-Etoile, the story requires that the heroine be in poverty in the opening, so she's the daughter of a princess in reduced circumstances.
  • Parodied in H. C. Andersen's The Princess and the Pea — her royal power gives her the power to feel a pea through a whole stack of mattresses.
  • In Iron Hans, the hero is a prince, even though he's been kidnapped from his home. The princess guesses as much from his golden hair.
  • Bearskin averts this trope — neither the hero nor his bride are even of Blue Blood. (Some of its variants have the hero marrying a princess, though.)
  • Prunella also averts it: Prunella is not given a background, and her Love Interest is the Wicked Witch's son.
  • In "The Wooden-Clog Maker and the King's Daughter", "The Damsel With the Long Nose", and The Little Soldier (in Andrew Lang's The Green Fairy Book) the trope is apparently played straight in ordinary fairy tale Love Interest style, but in the first, after jumping through all the hoops to marry the princess, and the second and third after tricking the princess out of what she stole from him, unlike most variants, the trope gets played with: the hero comes to senses and goes back to marry the sweet and sensible commoner girl in the beginning.

    Fan Works 
  • In All That Glitters (Othellia), Anna and Hans have to work together to access a cave with a protective spell that requires blood from two separate royal lineages.
  • Relic Of The Future: Salem reveals that her subordinate Tyrian Callows is descended from Philip Callows, King of Vacuo; who was betrayed by one of Ozma's past incarnations and left to die in the Grimmlands, at which point Salem curried his loyalty by nursing him back to health.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, her royal blood is the reason Kida is transformed into a serene goddess-like figure upon contact with the main crystal while Rourke is... well... not so lucky. Unfortunately, Disney actually did not realize this, since they accepted "any other" and excluded "some of royal blood", despite considering Rourke as an official Disney Villain.
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel, in a switch from the fairy tale. (Then she marries a prince in the tale, but not here.)
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Naveen has it on both sides of his family, according to Facilier — who claims that he himself is royal on his mother's, though it's hard to tell whether he's serious.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Last Command: General Sergius, the Tzar's cousin.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this is part of the reason that the Sheriff of Nottingham wants to marry Lady Marian, cousin of the King.
    Friar Tuck: [horrified] He takes a bride of royal blood.
    Little John: Aye. And with King Richard gone, he'll be after the bloody throne.
  • Stardust has their royalty reappear as ghosts if they die before the next king is crowned (which they likely will, because it's a family tradition to bump the male siblings off, and the last man standing gets the crown). Unfortunately, their ghosts look the same way they did at their time of death, which makes it awkward if you got killed while in the bath. They also are apparently literal Blue Bloods. Or at least, that would explain why Septimus isn't surprised at all to see his brother dead in a bathtub, with his throat slit and a blue bloodstain down his front. On the other hand, Septimus doesn't seem fazed by much of anything, except the sight of Robert de Niro in drag, so it's possible that he's just generally unflappable. They're from Another Dimension. Tristan is actually the rightful king, inheriting the royal blood from his mother, Lady Una.


By Author:

  • Commonplace in Edgar Rice Burroughs's works, especially the John Carter of Mars ones. Though some don't know it.
    • In The Chessman of Mars, Corpals "that by commanding the spirits of the wicked dead gains evil mastery over the living" are said to be killable only by those of Royal Blood. And the weak and cowardly king cannot be deposed for a noble and brave nobleman; fortunately, he also has a brave and popular son whom he hasn't killed yet.
    • In The Mad King, the hero is an American visiting the Ruritanian kingdom of Lutha, where his mother was born. Partway through the novel, he learns that his mother was a runaway member of the Luthanian royal family, and he himself is in line for the throne. This is a mixed blessing; it means he's got some chance with the Luthanian noblewoman he's fallen in love with, but it also stokes the king's paranoia about the hero being part of a plot to usurp him. In the end, the king gets himself killed, and the hero marries the noblewoman and succeeds to the throne.
  • Invoked in G. K. Chesterton's Magic:
    DUKE. Why, the Professor here who performs before the King [puts down the programmes]—you see it on the caravans, you know—performs before the King almost every night, I suppose...
    CONJURER. [Smiling.] I sometimes let his Majesty have an evening off. And turn my attention, of course, to the very highest nobility.
    • In The Napoleon of Notting Hill, this has been abandoned.
      To avoid the possible chance of hereditary diseases or such things, we have abandoned hereditary monarchy. The King of England is chosen like a juryman upon an official rotation list.
  • In Ursula K. Le Guin's works:
    • In Always Coming Home, it is stated that when the Condor’s son was to be executed, no one dared to raise a hand against a man of Royal (near-divine, according to their ideology) Blood. Instead they gave him the chair, and said it was electricity that killed him.
    • Earthsea: In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged found an old man and woman stranded on an island. In the sequel The Tombs of Atuan, Tenar explains that they were a prince and princess, the last of their family, whom the God Emperor had abandoned at sea as infants as he feared to kill those of Royal Blood.

By Work:

  • In Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "Ballad of Lady Clare", the titular lady is the daughter of a deceased earl and betrothed to her cousin, Lord Ronald. The day before the wedding, however, her aged nurse confesses that the earl's real daughter died in infancy — Lady Clare is the nurse's daughter, whom she substituted for the dead baby. Everything she inherited from the man she thought was her father rightfully belongs to Lord Ronald, who is the next in line. When she tells him, however, he assures her that her lack of royal blood doesn't bother him at all; they'll still get married the next day as planned, "and you shall still be Lady Clare."
  • In A Brother's Price, the fact that Jerin's grandfather was a kidnapped prince makes him a Suddenly Suitable Suitor for the current princesses, since royals can't marry commoners. What it doesn't do is make him eligible to rule in any way. Men in this setting just don't, nor does he have any desire to. However, it does mean that a noble family could kidnap and marry him, making those sisters eligible.
  • There was a Choose Your Own Adventure book, Black Vein Prophecy where you are a member of a family of Royal Wizards.
  • In The Chronicles of Amber, being a member of the Royal House of Amber makes one practically superhuman, with great strength, impressive healing, the Trumps, the ability to walk between worlds... Being so powerful means their only real competitors are other members of the Royal Family. Being a scheming lot, this leads very quickly to a Gambit Pileup...
  • C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia:
  • Done every which way in Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain. Most notably, there's the matter of the sword Dyrnwyn, which bears an inscription explaining that gets quoted early in the series as Draw Dyrnwyn, only thou of royal blood... The heroes give the blade to their friend Prince Gwydion, who is able to use it because he does indeed fit the description - except that the sword's runes have been mistranslated. It's actually Draw Dyrnwyn, only thou of noble worth... While that still applies to Gwydion, it also opens the door for someone else to use the sword later.
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, a magical significance attaches to being of the house of Knorth, the Highlords' house. Breeding programs long ago concentrate certain Shanir (magical) abilities in certain Houses. Historically, most breeding pairings were between close relatives, concentrating the bloodline, the talents, and the negative traits that come along with them.
  • Codex Alera:
    • Jim Butcher's has increasing amounts of magical power amongst the nobility with the First Lord (i.e. the King) being the most powerful. Though this is implied to be as much Asskicking Leads to Leadership as it is Royal Blood — more powerful crafters automatically get more respect, and therefore get high titles, and therefore pass both powers and titles on to their children.
    • An example of this being subverted is Isana. She's just a steadholder, and her power is apparently limited. However, in Captain's Fury and later Princeps' Fury, she realizes that the concept of power being limited to station is so heavily ingrained into her — and by extension, the rest of Alera's — consciousness that it was effectively blocking her full potential. By the end of the final book, the new First Lord effectively dismantles the caste system and empowers everyone to be as strong as they want to be, effectively defying this trope.
    • It is also revealed in the final book that it's not the bloodline of the First Lords that made them more powerful than all the other nobles, but their contract with Alera itself.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The People of the Black Circle", Yasmina is very proud of hers. It makes the Break the Haughty all the more humiliating.
    "But for all your stupidity, you are a woman fair to look upon. It is my whim to keep you for my slave."
    The daughter of a thousand proud emperors gasped with shame and fury at the word.
    "You dare not!"
    His mocking laughter cut her like a whip across her naked shoulders.
  • In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion, the princess observes that despite this, she is a commoner, not having an actual title.
  • In Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air and The Rise of the Iron Moon, a very bad thing to have: Jackals keeps around royals to be abused, and deliberately breeds them.
  • Played very straight in Katherine Kurtz's Deryni books. Faced with a tyrannical king Camber's family track down the last descendant of the previous royal house (which was overthrown three generations ago)... and when they find him minding his own business as a celibate monk under a vow of silence, they kidnap him in the dark of night, hold him prisoner for nearly a year, force him to marry at swordpoint, and use mental and magical coercion to make him into a king. The resulting three centuries of persecution for the Deryni might be viewed as karma.
    • In the second book of the Camber trilogy, Joram points out to his father that he (Camber) could have made himself king with fewer problems then Cinhil Haldane is having. Camber argues that that would have made him no better then the Deryni Festils as he has no royal blood and no legal right to the throne of Gwynedd. Clearly Camber is a legitimist.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld has funny ways of dealing with this:
    • Wyrd Sisters; they end up choosing between two half-brothers, but they are not the king's illegitimate and legitimate sons, but his court jester's legitimate and illegitimate sons. The king's ghost (who doesn't know any of this) is still happy.
    • It is hinted several times that part of the reason that Carrot is so liked by EVERYONE is because of his royal lineage. It's also suggested (including by Carrot himself), that even a good king is a bad idea, so he keeps quiet about it.
    • True Troll Kings are rather hard to miss, since Discworld trolls are made of Metamorphological rock, and the kings are made of Diamond. There is no royal bloodsilicate line, as a Troll King arises among trolls only in times of duress. According to Mr Shine, any troll with a diamond composition becomes king whether they want or not, since unlike Carrot, hiding isn't an option.
  • In Dragonriders of Pern, while there aren't any kings on Pern, the bloodline that ruled Ruatha Hold was known to produce many heirs with enhanced telepathic talents.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novels, this appears to be standard for Knights of the Cross. Every long term bearer of a Sword held a connection to famous kings, such as Charlemagne,Saladin, and Sho Tai. However, it is by no means necessary. After all, both Susan and Murphy become temporary Knights during Changes, and there's no indication that either of them have royalty in their ancestry - just righteous amounts of love and faith, respectively.
  • In the Dune series, the Imperial bloodline (and that of several noble families which are closely related to the Imperial family) are secretly bred by the Bene Gesserit for Psychic Powers. During and after the rule of Leto II, descendants of the Imperial/Atreides line develop these and other useful "talents", including protection from prescience that makes them vital to humanity's survival.
  • In Wen Spencer's Endless Blue, Mikhail's family. Though they resorted to cloning rather than the usual.
  • Poked fun at in one of the Garrett, P.I. novels, when Morley grumbles about the Arranged Marriage his elvish relatives tried to foist on him. His would-have-been fiancée lost interest, but his own family kept nagging him to try to win her back, as her family has Royal Blood... which, Morley snarkily points out, applies to nearly every elf alive, given how randy elvish royals have always been.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones there is a lot of royal blood, as the kings are often adulterers. The ruling king has a bastard brother, who has a position at court, and a legitimate brother whom he locked up in order to have him out of the way. Ironically, the bastard brother is a much nicer man than the king.
  • The Initiate Brother has, in addition to a reigning imperial family, a character who is a descendant of the previous dynasty. It's remarked that she has "too much of the old Imperial blood for her own good" — anyone who marries her can thereafter use the restoration of her dynasty as a pretext for rebellion, so the current Emperor is bound to want her either safely married to one of his own sons or else eliminated.
  • Journey to Chaos: The royal family of Ataidar traces its origins to Fiol, the country's founder and the avatar of the Grand Elemental Sentience Fire, so it's a big deal. If anyone marries into the family then they don't have the blood and thus possess considerably less authority. Queen Kasile claims that this trope is why Ataidar has a more stable government than Acemo, which is a republic to the north.
  • Important for politics in The Kingdom of Little Wounds. Ultimately abandoned, since the Lunedies are too ill a family to continue; Queen Isabel takes another woman's baby as her own.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Kull / Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night", one tribe demands to be led only by a king, and one of their own blood.
  • In L. Frank Baum's second Land of Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Glinda tells the Scarecrow of Princess Ozma, and everyone immediately agrees that she is the only possible heir, being the last king's daughter.
  • In Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories, the throne of England combined with that of the Holy Roman Emperor. As a consequence, it is elective, but only among the Plantagenet line. At one point, we see the king's brother thinking that his nephews are more likely candidates, but he is a possible one.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the royal line of Númenor/Arnor/Gondor and thusly Aragorn descend from various elven royal families and human royal families of the First Age. One of these elven royal families includes a divine spirit, whose powers are present in the lineage in reduced form. The people of Gondor have the saying of the opening quote, that royal blood gives him healing powers. This is an in-universe misunderstanding; what it means is that a true and good king will know healing arts because the Kings of Gondor are meant to value that over the arts of war. This proves true; Aragorn only enters the city to heal those afflicted with the Black Breath of the Nazgúl and succeeds because he's taken the time to learn medicine that's been long-forgotten, such as the full and proper uses of the athelas plant. Aragorn also has a "kingly bearing" that shows up whenever he is in a clash of wills—onlookers perceive that Aragorn seems to grow in stature while the other man appears smaller, and sometimes even seems to have a white flame flickering on his brow—this, at least, would seem to be a remnant of those ancient powers.
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novel Have His Carcase, the murder victim was convinced he had Royal Blood. The murderers used it to lure him to his death. His blood ended up being an important clue He was a haemophiliac and also Russian (cf Alexei Romanov hence his belief) so when Harriet discovered the corpse covered in fresh blood he wasn't at all recently dead as they thought.
  • Chell in Masks of Aygrima is the last in the line of succession in his kingdom of Korellia and as such, doesn't have as much authority as his siblings but he did have enough authority to organize and lead an expedition to the long forgotten land of Aygrima which ends up saving Aygrima from the evil Autarch.
  • Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest takes place in an alternate English Civil War. Prince Rupert is the main character. Although the magic they work to save him carefully explains that it cares about the land and the king only in as much as the king helps the land, once it has done so, it brings down the Roundheads.
  • In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, Prince Amatus is asked to cure the sick because a prince's touch can do that. Works, too.
  • In Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series, several bloodlines, including the royal one, were invested with a lot of the power of the makers of the Great Charter. Prior to the events of Sabriel, the Old Kingdom has been in steady decline since the apparent loss of the royal bloodline protecting it.
  • In The Prisoner of Zenda, they are willing to try the imposture, because he is himself illegitimately descended from a Ruritanian king. The fact that the impostor looks exactly like the king helps...
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero in Hell, Queen Agave of Thebes. It startles Miranda to realize this about her brother's cook.
  • In Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle Master Trilogy, kings have a mystical bond, called "land-law," that allows them to sense their own kingdoms. An heir receiving this feeling is often the first notice anyone receives that a king has died.
  • In the Chivalric Romance Roswall and Lillian, Roswall has been reduced to poverty and the king's service; but the princess Lillian, even when told his father was of low degree, correctly discerns his Royal Blood.
    “By the Cross,” she said, “I cannot but think that ye are come of noble blood. By your courtesy I know it, and by your great fairness.”
  • In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt, Royal Blood is good for Blood Magic.
  • In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, one royal family is also magical; you have to be able to turn into a bird to prove you are royal.
  • Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon from A Song of Ice and Fire are currently trying to resurrect a dragon. They need a royal blood sacrifice to do so, so other characters are actively hiding children that could even remotely be considered "king's blood". Like the son of Mance Rayder, the leader of the northern wild men.
    • Melisandre uses Blood Magic, and her spells work best with king's blood. She's gotten a lot of mileage out of Stannis, but it's taken a toll on his body. She's also leeched some blood from Robert's bastard son, but it wasn't enough for anything more than a short vision (to do more would require a full-on Human Sacrifice).
  • In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno.
    "You came by the Royal Road, sweet one. Only those of royal blood can travel along it: but you've been royal ever since I was made King of Elfland that's nearly a month ago. They sent two ambassadors, to make sure that their invitation to me, to be their new King, should reach me. One was a Prince; so he was able to come by the Royal Road, and to come invisibly to all but me: the other was a Baron; so he had to come by the common road, and I dare say he hasn't even arrived yet.
  • In Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm, the royal line is possessed by a fire god — they all have fiery eyes, the fire growing brighter as one gets closer to the throne. This neatly cuts out the problem of illegitimacy, but one king is remembered as "The Bastard", since his foreign mother seduced the king in order to end a war by having her son inherit.
  • In Temeraire, Laurence is revealed to be a distant relation of the Plantagenet line, specifically Edward III of England. This is enough proof for the Chinese to allow him to be Temeraire's companion, albeit reluctantly and mostly because Temeraire would not be swayed.Later, he is actually adopted by the Chinese emperor and treated as an actual prince upon his return to China many years later!
  • Vampire Academy
    • The series has a unique take on the idea of Royal Blood. The Vampire race, the Moroi, have an elected Monarch. The Moroi elect their leader from a pool of 12 royal families. The King or Queen then presides over a council made up of one member from each of the 12 families. Lissa, one of the main characters from the series, is the last in her family line, the Dragomirs, which causes tension as she cannot serve on the council or be elected Queen if she doesn't have at least one living family member, causing tension as her voice is not allowed to be heard.
    • In the last books it is revealed that Lissa's father had an illegitimate child, meaning there is another Dragomir. The plot is a race to find the child in order to give Lissa the support she needs. Similarly, once the child is found, they are put in extreme danger as people opposed to Lissa just need to kill them in order to invalidate her. The spin-off series, Bloodlines is all about preventing that from happening and keeping them safe.
    • The way the family lines work in this series is also based on blood rather than name. Lissa's future partner has to be able to provide her with enough Dragomir blood in order to add them to her family line, rather than simply take their father's name.
  • In the Wars of Light and Shadow series by Janny Wurts, royal blood is important for more than symbolic reasons — the founders of the five royal dynasties were all given a certain trait (compassion, justice, etc) which would be inherited by their successors. Plus, the charters under which the monarchies were established were an important part of the deal which gave humanity permission to settle in its current home. The fact that the monarchies were all overthrown a few centuries before the start of the story is a significant plot point.
  • Christopher Stasheff's A Wizard in Rhyme: In Her Majesty's Wizard, the Queen is truly infallible when it comes to public matters as queen — whatever she says essentially becomes true. When she confers virtues (such as bravery) on a knight, the knight visibly gains those virtues. It only works on issues of policy or governance, being tied more into Divine Right. When the issues become personal, all bets are off.
  • In Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave,since it's a retelling of the Arthurian story, only Arthur can claim the sword and hence the throne.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: the Triluminaries are attuned to the genetic inheritance of Valen. Imagine the Grey Council's shock when it responds to the human Jeffrey Sinclair. Not so to us, considering we knew he was Valen, but generally a WTF moment to them.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Krotons", leadership is hereditary. Selris' objection to being deposed is due to this, and after his death, his son speaks of how he shall have to deal with the other man.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Targaryens and the Baratheons (who are almost a cadet branch). Additionally, all the great houses except the Tullys and Tyrells can claim direct descent from the kings who ruled before the Seven Kingdoms were united.
    • Melisandre believes royal blood is more powerful for Blood Magic.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Elendil and his three children, Isildur, Anárion and Eärien all claim descendance from several Elven and Human royal bloodlines of the First Age, coming from the line of Elros.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "King and Brooks", Miss Brooks discovers one of her students is an Indian prince. The boy's father, the maharajah, proposes marriage to Miss Brooks.
  • One episode of Stargate Atlantis is based on the premise that only those with the Ancient Technology Activation gene can be royalty, because this gene is required to activate the technology required to protect the planet.
  • Wonder Woman: Unlike the comics, where she is made from clay or a daughter of Zeus, there is no backstory explicitly stated of Princess Diana's birth. She is simply the heir to the throne and has a younger sister, Drusilla.

    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the nobility of The Realm are all related to the Scarlet Empress (her descendants, or in-laws thereof). Since their Superpowerful Genetics means many of them are Terrestrial Exalted (elementally-empowered Supersoldiers), the Royal Blood really does have powers.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the Birthright campaign setting, characters with royal blood have a divine power known as Regency. In this case, it's blended with Divine Parentage. The gods die in an apocalyptic battle, and pass on their divine roles to their high priests. Those who share the bloodline of these new gods gain the Regency power as a sort of divine over-spill.
    • In the 3E Ravenloft products, Camille Dilisnya claimed legal ownership of the new-made domain of Borca after passing arcane tests to confirm the validity of her Dilisnya bloodline. Subverted in that her entire branch of the family is actually descended from a Bastard Bastard; nonetheless, as Borca was specifically created by the Dark Powers to house Camille, all the tests came up positive anyway.
  • Played With in Traveller. The Imperium is held together by a Feudal Future. However the only advantage claimed for aristocratic blood is that something has to hold the Imperium together, it is nice to have people around who were trained to run the Imperium in their nurseries even if some of them turn out to be Upper Class Twits, and there has to be a way of choosing someone to be the boss and with trillions of people that is kind of a bother. And besides, the Ermine Cape Effect is cool.
  • A rather dark case in Dark Heresy, with the Cursed Blood of Malafi. This noble lineage was tended to for nearly a hundred years to create intelligent, ruthless, and powerful men and women to rule the worlds of man. Unfortunately, they got exactly that in a Decadent Court environment, which resulted in creating some of the worst monsters of all time, and what's even worse, it's In the Blood as the traits that made them into such powerful men is passed on through the generations.
  • King's Blood is essentially Crazy Eights played with British-style royalty. So naturally, a perfect example of this trope.
  • A human Sorcerer in Pathfinder has the Imperious bloodline as an option for where her powers derive from, the bloodline describing her as a scion of forgotten kings with a lineage rich with the dust of ancient empires. Given that she is a scion of forgotten kings and ancient empires, the source is fairly unlikely to play a real role in the story, but the powers the royal blood grants are another matter.

  • William Shakespeare used it all the time.
    • Some critics have attributed the sterling character of the princes in Cymbeline and the princess in The Winter's Tale to a belief that royal blood would show up in their character; but, on the other hand, in both those plays the older generation, just as royal, is distinctly less sterling.
    • In Macbeth, Malcom and MacDuff discuss how Edward is (off-stage) touching for the king's evil.
  • In Prometheus Bound, Prometheus tells Io that a descendant of hers will bear "A royal race in Argos."
  • Gilbert and Sullivan use it in Princess Ida, but subverts it and then play it straight in The Gondoliers. One of two Venetian Gondoliers is believed to be the heir to the vacant throne of the Mediterranean island kingdom of Barataria. Until it can be determined which is the actual king, they reign jointly — but being Republicans who "hold kings in detestation" they do all of the work around the palace, allowing their servants lives of total leisure. Then played straight when it turns out that the heir to the throne was someone else entirely.
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers' The Emperor Constantine, Helena is the daughter of King Coel.

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • During the 1st Era, St. Alessia led a slave revolt of her Nedic (ancestors of most of the modern races of Men) people against the Ayleid Empire of Cyrodiil. With the support of the Aedra (who backed Alessia against the primarily Daedra-worshipping Ayleids), her revolt was a success and she established the first Empire of Men in Cyrodiil. As part of her victory, she recognized the Aedra who assisted her as the Eight Divines, and made their worship the official religion of her empire. As part of this arrangement, Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and chief deity of the Eight Divines pantheon, made "Covenant" with Alessia. Akatosh imbued Alessia with "Dragon Blood" and her soul was placed into the Amulet of Kings, used to seal the barriers between Mundus and Oblivion against future Daedric influence. All "recognized" Emperors of Tamriel, said to be "Dragonborn", throughout the ages that followed served as Barrier Maidens, performing a ritual known as "Lighting the Dragonfires" to seal the barrier. "Recognized" being the keyword, this status proved not to be strictly hereditary. After Alessia's line came to end and the First Empire fell, the Reman Dynasty of the Second Empire claimed metaphysical descendence from Alessia. Later, Tiber Septim made the same claim when he founded the Third Empire. Even within the dynasties, blood relation was apparently not a true requirement. For example, when Pelagius the Mad was placed into asylum, his wife, the Dunmeri former Duchess of Vvardenfell, Katariah, was named Empress Regent and later the Empress in her own right after Pelagius' death, becoming the only non-Mannish ruler of the Third Empire. Her 50 year reign is regarded as one of the most peaceful and prosperous in the Empire's history. Later, her son via consort with no Septim blood at all, Uriel IV, took the throne without supernatural issue. (After his death, however, the Elder Council chose to pass over his son for the throne and instead name a cousin more closely related to the Septim family as Emperor.) It seemed that as long as Akatosh himself recognized the individual making claim to the throne, actual blood relation to the ruling dynasty was secondary.
    • In Daggerfall, this is one of the requirements to use the Control Rod for Numidium, as enchanted into by the Underking. Only those of royal blood or "supernatural connection" could use it. Even here, "royal blood" seems to have a broad definition, as one of the parties the Agent can choose to give it to in the game's Multiple Endings includes Gortwog, an Orcish leader of a city-state not even officially recognized.
    • Oblivion sees the Amulet of Kings appear as an important MacGuffin to the main quest. Emperor Uriel Septim VII is been assassinated by the Mythic Dawn, along with his legitimate heirs. However, he passes the Amulet of Kings to an escaped prisoner, the Player Character, to be delivered to the retired grandmaster of the Blades. It is then revealed that the Emperor had a bastard son, Martin, who is now the rightful heir to the Empire and the only person who can perform the Lighting of the Dragonfires to stop the ongoing Daedric invasion known as the "Oblivion Crisis". Martin is rescued, but the Amulet of Kings is stolen by the Mythic Dawn's leader, Mankar Camoran. Ultimately, the PC kills Camoran and gets it back, but not before the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon, who Camoran's cult worships, takes form in Mundus. Martin performs a Heroic Sacrifice, shattering the Amulet of Kings to summon an avatar of Akatosh, who banishes Dagon.
  • In most of the Fire Emblem series, you have one or more 'Lord' units. Invariably of Royal (or at least highly noble) Descent, they also tend to have higher stats than any unit you haven't deliberately twinked out. Not to mention being heroic, beautiful, inspirational, and so on and so forth...
    • Sometimes in the games, royal blood also grants powers that make them worth using over another unit. Other than plot roles such as Louise's relation to the Queen of Bern getting the characters an audience with her or the princess of a foreign land aiding the army, there are some certain combat privileges to being royal. A usual example are weapons only those of royal blood can use. (Namely weapons like the Rapier, Hector's Wolf Beil, Leaf's Light sword, etc.) However, when the royal unit is a normal class unit, they may still have some specific weapons only they or another royal can use.
      • In the first game, Marth's sister Elice was kept alive because she could use the Aum staff, which can only be used by a princess.
      • It's a big part of the canon in the fourth game, in which not only are there just Sigurd and Seliph, who are lords, but various other members of the royalty or descendants of the crusaders. This also ties into the Big Bad Julius's blood, as well as the Game-Breaker Julia's. Because their father Alvis and mother Diadora had the right amount of royal blood in them, Julius would inherit all the Loputoso's blood while Julia would inherit all of Naga's. Unfortunately, in order to get this union, their father Alvis had to be tricked into marrying his half-sister Diadora - without knowing.
    • Some normal units actually may be royalty but they're practically just regular units. Some characters also have a plot twist about them when they suddenly reveal themselves to be of royal blood, or are found to be royalty.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates those with royal blood on either side of the war are able to use Dragon Veins to manipulate the environment. This is due to being descended from dragons (the Dawn Dragon for the Hoshidan royals, the Dusk Dragon for the Nohrian royals, and the Greater-Scope Villain for the Avatar. Note that it is possible to give non-royals (and their children, but only if said kids are recruited after that) the ability by giving them the First Blood item, but actually getting said First Blood is a pain in the butt.
  • This is the very reason that Estelle is able to use healing artes without a Blastia. In Tales of Vesperia. Estelle's power is also poisoning the world.
  • In Der Langrisser, the only ones who can wield the titular Langrisser are the Descendants of Light, of the blood of Lushiris. These individuals also tend to be highly powerful fighters on the field.
  • Mocked in Final Fantasy Tactics.
    Gafgarion: Even Princesses can die for getting in the way. That's what 'royal blood' is all about!
  • In The Legend of Zelda, the females of the royal family are endowed with Psychic Powers, often the Triforce of Wisdom, and the name "Zelda". Also, even without the Triforce, said Psychic Powers cause her to be an almost endless source of magical energy. All of this combined causes the Princesses Zelda to be very popular targets of supernatural kidnappers. Therefore, it sucks to be royal and female in Hyrule. No wonder that the Hyrulean Princesses tend to develop a tomboyish side. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword explains that the Hyrulean Royal Family is Semi-Divine, as the first Zelda was herself a human reincarnation of the goddess Hylia. Also, an incredibly powerful demon king decided to hold a post-mortem grudge against her, cursing her line to forever be harassed by an incarnation of his hatred. The fact that they're all called Zelda, however, is simple legal obligation - as in there was literally a royal decree somewhere down the line (explained in the game manual of the second NES game) requiring that all female members born into the family be named Zelda. Monarchs can be weird sometimes.
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City has Princesses and Princes, a Class centered around their Royal Lineage.
  • Fable: In the first installment into this series, it's implied that the main character descends from an ancient royal bloodline, and it's outright stated that a sacrifice of said blood is needed to unlock the full potential of the Sword of Aeons. The other installments in the series also imply a sort of inborn heroic power behind this bloodline as it is essentially the family each player protagonist descends from and the major reason your character can pull off most of their many heroic and death defying feats... like falling out a window some 10-20 stories up.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • The Orzammar Succession Crisis puts the Player Character in the dilemma of choosing between a radical Royal Blood heir and a more reasonable mere-noble successor named in the late king's last will. The twist is that the royal heir is very progressive but tyrannical and the other sucks as a ruler.
    • Also, after the Landsmeet, the protagonist has to decide between making the Heroic Bastard Alistair king, thus preserving the Royal Blood, or confirming the Iron Lady Anora (the widow of King Cailan and Alistair's sister-in-law) as queen. Thankfully, there is a third option here: persuading the two of them to marry so they can have their cake and eat it, too. There is even a fourth option, if the character is a human of noble blood... have one of them marry him or her! The player needs just need to be suave enough.
  • It's for this reason that the Player Character's sister is killed in the PC game Shades of Death: Royal Blood - she's a countess and her Royal Blood is needed to revive the king of vampires.
  • Flora, in the Professor Layton games, is the daughter of a baron. Her genealogical connection to the royal family forms part of the plot of the bonus game Professor Layton's London Life.
  • Anduin Lothar from the Warcraft series was the last descendant of the Arathi bloodline, who created the first human empire on Azeroth. This allowed him to recruit the High Elves into the Alliance since the Elves had an ancient treaty with the Arathi. While the other human rulers initially believed Anduin planned to revive the Empire of Arathor by creating the Alliance, Anduin had no such ambitions.
  • In Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, Quova is a descendant of the royal line of the Garulian God-Emperors, but doesn't really care. He was raised by the Sura (who had been doing mercenary work for the Garulians until shortly before the Garulians were overthrown and exterminated), and prefers to think of himself as an adoptive member of the Sura tribe in question. Unlike a lot of surprise lineages in the game, this one genuinely doesn't matter.
  • Final Fantasy XV:
    • Noctis is the Crown Prince of Lucis, the only kingdom with a working crystal. The kings of Lucis are the only ones who can maintain the crystal barrier around the kingdom, and can summon weapons out of thin air. The crystal also allows them to wield magic.
    • Lunafreya is the former princess of Tenebrae, who was stripped of her title when Niflheim took over her kingdom. However, she becomes an important political figure anyway as history's youngest Oracle, gaining the power to commune with the gods — an ability that was passed down through her bloodline. As the Oracle, Luna is also the one holding back the Plague of the Stars.


    Western Animation 
  • Final Space: Season 3 reveals that Little Cato is related to his homeworld's royal family, as the last King and Queen whom Avocato assassinated were actually Little Cato's birth-parents.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has the Butterfly family, the matrilineal royal bloodline of the kingdomnote  of Mewni. This becomes a plot point in season 3, when Eclipsa's escape from prison and subsequent trial reveals that every Butterfly who took the throne after Eclipsa wasn't actually a Butterfly, but were descended from a peasant girl whom the Magical High Commission used to replace Eclipsa's half-Monster daughter Meteora. Star is distraught by this revelation since, because their royalty is determined through the mother, it means Eclipsa's not her 9th-great grandmother, and Star isn't a real princess.
  • Steven Universe has the Diamond Authority, which are revered as the next best things to goddesses by the other Gems. With the reveal of Rose Quartz being actually Pink Diamond, Steven is not half-Quartz, but rather half-Diamond; therefore, as the son of Pink Diamond, he is the second generation of the Diamonds, yet ironically he is the only one with blood.

    Real Life 
  • From the beginning of The Middle Ages to the end of the Renaissance, monarchs in England and France were thought to be capable of healing citizens (which is likely where Tolkien got his idea of Aragorn being a healer) of scrofula (known as the "King's Evil" as it was thought only the monarch could cure it) simply by laying their hands on the person, murmuring, "God grant you good health," and giving them a coin. This ended in England in 1714 with Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts; her successor George I condemned the practice as "too Catholic," and was ended by Louis XV in France, although a brief resurrection in 1825 was widely ridiculed.
    • King William III of England notoriously did not want to touch for the King's Evil, but was persuaded to do so as a sign of the continuity of the monarchy after the deposition of James II. He is said to have muttered to a victim of scrofula who besought his touch, "God grant you good health — and better sense."
    • It was also played more or less straight without the superstitious element, as the various thrones in Europe were frequently occupied by rulers of foreign lineage, which all passed without comment because they were still of Royal Blood — the different royal/noble houses of Europe were occasionally treated like one big intermarrying family.
    • One of the last children to be touched for scrofula in England was the future Dr. Samuel Johnson of Boswellian fame; although the procedure's failure in his case didn’t result in its downfall, the fact that he bore the scars of the affliction into adulthood attested to its uselessness.
  • In most of the kingdoms of southern Nigeria (especially the iconic ones like Benin and Oyo), local religious beliefs hold that the gods, ancestors and other spirits upholding the kingdom have a contract of sorts with the royal family. Exercise of this franchise allows the king to perform special ceremonies to avert disaster or solve crises. For instance in 2010, amid increasing incidences of armed robbery around the city of Benin, the Oba of Benin conducted a new ritual intended to cleanse the town and place a curse on all robbers. So revered is the Oba and his office that (according to police), crime rates dropped acutely in the following monthly reports.
  • People with the surname Fitzroy (or an ancestor with that surname) are typically illegitimate descendants of a (British or English) king.note  Other Fitzes have been used for the illegitimate children of royalty, most notably FitzClarence, the illegitimate children of King William IV of the United Kingdom (the children were all born while he was still the Duke of Clarence); FitzCharles, for some of the illegitimate children of Charles II (others used Fitzroy or FitzRoy,note  the name of their mother's husband, or in one case, the odd choice of "Tudor"); and Fitzjames, the illegitimate children of James II. Most people whose name is "Fitzsomething" aren't royal bastards, though. (For example, Henry II of England was known as Henry Fitzempress because he was the son of the claimant Matilda, who was the widow of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V before marrying Henry II's father.)
  • Arguably, the entire human race can claim at least some strain of royal blood. It's been stated that most everyone in the Western world is descended from Charlemagne. This is because with every generation going backwards through time, your number of ancestors doublesnote  - you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc. - and the population of the world has been such that it would be almost impossible for an individual to not claim at least one royal ancestor. The concept is explained in detail here. However, your ancestors don't necessarily double with each generation. A lot of people marry their cousins, although the practice has become less popular in more recent generations.
    • To illustrate this point, 12-year-old student Bridge​Anne d’Avignon, doing a simple project into lineages, managed to prove that every single American President (up to Obama, as this happened during his term), with the sole exception of Martin Van Buren, is descended from King John of England. (Yes, this includes Barack Obama, through his distinctly Anglo mother.) As if to highlight this further, Van Buren is also the only President to whom English was a second language (he was ethnically Dutch and had Dutch as a first language).


Video Example(s):


Prince Martinkhamen

Martin wakes up as the ancient Egyptian Prince Martinkhamen.

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