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Royals Who Actually Do Something

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"'God Save the King'? Nah, he's got this."

Swan: He's a pretty good old boy. First prince I ever seen that tries to do what a prince is supposed to do.
Croaker: Rarer than frog hair, then. I'm sure.

Due to Gratuitous Princess, and other such tropes, there is a belief that being royalty means doing almost nothing else but, well, being royalty. Aside from all the pomp, ceremony, galas, balls, intrigue, and the occasional dealing with actual governing of the country, royalty just doesn't do anything else with their time. This has some Truth in Television, such as the court at Versailles or the Forbidden City in China, but not uniformly so.

Just as often as not, royalty would actually do something worthwhile with their time. For centuries from prehistoric Mesopotamia through to the Middle Ages, kings were expected to be strong warriors, defend their holdings, and inspire the people around them. In fact, "strong man who can lead the other men of the village in fighting off enemies" was probably the original meaning of kingship. Three examples are Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, and Genghis Khan, kings who gained and kept their power through their skill as generals and warriors and, in the case of the latter two, administrators. note 


This convention also led to the establishment of the feudal system. It was actually a deal between the king, nobles, and serfs. The serfs would work on the land owned by their lords, and the lords would train to be warriors (aka, knights), who would defend the kingdom against invaders, like the Vikings. note 

Either way, being royalty does not necessarily mean a life of leisure or boredom. And fiction occasionally nods to this.

Note that this trope means that the person is still acting as royalty, just doing other things. So a Rebellious Princess does not count, since she is running away from that kind of life. King Incognito may count, if the king is attempting to learn things to influence how he reigns; to do it for fun, even if it proves educational, does not count.


It should also be noted that much of the "activities" done by royalty (charity events, sport, arts, etc.) are enabled by their being part of the idle rich, instead of having to work for a living. Also, especially in the case of charity events and good causes, this is often a calculated public relations maneuver, which is not to say that it makes the activities any less of a good impact, there are simply multiple reasons for said activities.

The French have a phrase for this: noblesse oblige (lit. "nobility obligates"). It means that the nobility should fulfill the responsibilities of their position, and is a redirect for this page. For the fanfic with the same title, see here.

Especially prone to What's Up, King Dude?. See also In Its Hour of Need.

A Super-Trope to Warrior Prince, Pretty Princess Powerhouse, Politically Active Princess. Modern analogues might include the Frontline General and certain types of Action Politician.

Compare Modest Royalty, Authority Equals Asskicking, Non-Idle Rich, Rich Kid Turned Social Activist.

Contrast Idle Rich, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, Authority in Name Only, Orcus on His Throne, Adipose Rex.

This trope is very much Truth in Television, so any Real Life examples are redundant.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Queen Historia Reiss announces her bid for the throne by finishing off the biggest and the baddest Titan her kingdom has ever seen. And while the Survey Corps did most of the work for her, she might have just as well slain that Titan in single combat, as far as her adoring subjects are concerned. Lampshaded when, after being ordered to stay back, she says that "the people won't bow to a queen in name alone."
  • Black Clover has the Silva Family, a family that composes the Silver Eagles knights, some of the strongest mage knights in the Clover Kingdom, they are though, very elitist and jerks. This can be expanded to most royals, as nobles tend to have higher magical power and a lot of them decide to become mage knights.
  • In Code Geass:
    • The Emperor strongly encourages his children to take up positions of influence (and fly around in a Humongous Mecha). The Social Darwinist philosophy and all that. However, the Emperor himself rarely takes an active role in running Brittania, considering war and diplomacy to be "mundane affairs" unworthy of his attention. He's a little too busy trying to kill God to worry about that sorta stuff.
    • Euphemia's position as sub-viceroy of Area 11 was supposed to merely be a figurehead to attend to public functions while her sister ran the country (or rather, tried to destroy the resistance movements), but she instead spends most of her time trying to improve things for oppressed people, doing "little" things like knighting the first Number, running into a dangerous situation to save said knight, and going on to toss the biggest Spanner in the Works to the entire plot to try to solve the problems plaguing everyone and creating a "gentle world" for the people.
    • Princess Cornelia is certainly one of the most prominent examples of this in the series. An extraordinarily skilled Knightmare pilot on par with several of the main cast, and a skilled politician, and a very experienced and successful battle strategist. Two of her Establishing Character Moments are 1. taking out an army of Humongous Mecha almost single-handedly, and 2. finding and storming a terrorist base, spearheading the operation herself. She is good enough to beat Lelouch in early episodes, and can still give him some serious headaches later on. As if she needed more badassery, she is shown to be very intelligent. Perhaps not to the extent of Lelouch and Schneizel, but she is able to efficiently run an entire country, garner intense loyalty and respect from her subjects, and is very skilled in predicting how other people will act very similarly to how Lelouch can.
    • Emperor Lelouch more than exceeds the requirements for this trope when he flies head-on into a nuclear explosion to neutralize it and prevent thousands of deaths.
  • Crest of the Stars: noble Abh in general are required to serve in the military, and members of the royal families are expected to be extra awesome. Succession to the Emperor's throne is dictated not only by heredity, but by merit and accomplishment: the royal who rises to the rank of Commander-in-Chief and most distinguishes themself by their actions is the one who is named the successor. This includes not only military accomplishments but also how well they rule their respective Kingdoms. Moreover, the current sitting Emperor has no say in their successor: the line of succession is determined by the Parliament. A lazy or incompetent royal would never get within a light-year of the Abh throne.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, King Delgal was the only member of the Golden Kingdom who managed to escape, retain his sanity and reach the surface to get help for his people. He kicks off the plot by promising his kingdom to anyone who can defeat the Lunatic Magician, i.e. the Big Bad who trapped him and his subjects in the first place.
  • Dragon Ball Z gives us King Vegeta. He was the commanding hero of the Saiyan Army and led his people to victory in the Saiyan-Tuffle war. Naturally his son, Prince Vegeta, follows suits taking the role of Warrior Prince to ludicrous levels.
  • Akira Takizawa in Eden of the East spends the last of his money as a Seleção to make himself the King of Japan, in order to try and "fix" the country and finish his work as a Savior. He ends up undoing this at the end of the movies, realizing that it's up to the people as a whole to fix their country, not any one man. He instead uses the last of his influence to give them a push in the right direction.
  • In Fairy Tail:
  • Princess Hisui E. Fiore, who is the true mastermind behind the Eclipse Project which aims to save Fiore from a dragon apocalypse. Unfortunately, she's an Unwitting Pawn as the Eclipse Project is actually what causes said apocalypse.
  • King Toma J. Fiore, is this to a much lesser extent. He's the Pumpkin referee of the Grand Magic games, but he does help out with the Eclipse project by talking to the crowds once he knows about it.
  • Raoh, the "Fist King" in Fist of the North Star not only rides with his men into battle but is the best fighter around. By contrast, the Big Bad Thouzer/Souther/Thouza rarely fights unless he is forced to do so, instead leaving things to his army of mooks.
  • Ling Yao and May Chang from Fullmetal Alchemist, the 12th Prince and 17th Princess of Xing respectively. Due to the Succession Crisis occurring in their country, their roles in the story are triggered by their active search for a means to gain favor in inheriting the throne. Both are highly skilled in martial arts, and May is also capable of using the alternate form of Alchemy called Alkahestry. Also, throughout the story Ling would frequently tout his belief that kings exist to serve their people. Which he intends to uphold, considering that once he secures his place as successor the first thing he promises to do as Emperor is quell the warring between the clans of his country.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the emperor Hotohori accompanies Miaka on her quest to find the other Suzaku warriors, and is handy in combat against zombies, bandits, and the occasional possessed comrade. He is also the person who convinces Miaka she is the priestess who will save his kingdom.
  • Something of a trend in Gundam. If royalty/nobility shows up in the story (and they often do), you can generally be sure they are not idle.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: While Sovereign Degwin Zabi doesn't do much beyond sit on his throne and look depressed, his children are very involved in the running of the One Year War. "Well Done, Son!" Guy Garma leads a large chunk of the Earth Invasion Force (and in fact dies in battle fulfilling his duties), Genius Bruiser Dozle and Evil Genius Kycillia are both highly respected fleet commanders (and again, Dozle dies in battle, in his case covering the retreat of his forces), and Non-Action Guy Gihren organises the war effort, plots overall strategy, and keeps up troop morale via Rousing Speech. Even Mineva Zabi, Dozle's daughter and heiress of Zeon, is quite active throughout Gundam Unicorn, though technically by this point her family had lost most of the power it once had, so her title was mostly empty.
    • Shakti Kareen, Princess of Zanscare, of Victory Gundam, who spends the story aiding the resistance and generally trying to overthrow the corrupt and malevolent government of Zanscare.
    • ∀ Gundam: Dianna Soriel, Queen of the Moon. She personally leads the Moonrace returning to Earth, and is shown to be very involved in her society's administration. She's extremely active throughout the story, often present on the front lines of battle, even helping out at a war hospital at one point (she was incognito at the time). In fact, one of the main reasons the other noble houses of the Moon agreed with her going to Earth was to get her out of the way so they could rule more directly.
    • There is also Relena Peacecraft, princess of the Sanc Kingdom in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (later Queen of the World) who is a very active diplomat on the global stage.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and its sequel have Cagalli Yula Athha, a princess of ORB who is far more at home on the battlefield than in government. Yuna Roma Seiran is quasi-royalty from the same nation, and commands a battle fleet from the front lines... though he's actually pretty terrible at strategy, so this isn't a good thing...
    • Even Marina Ismail of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. She is shown doing everything in her power to improve her people's lot in life. Unfortunately, since she is a figurehead, that power doesn't amount to very much, but she is at least trying. After Azadistan is dissolved and subsequently rebuilt at the end of season 2, she seems to have garnered some measure of actual political power, and is shown aiding her countrymen in The Movie.
    • Gundam Build Fighters gives us Reiji, who claims to be the prince of a fantasy kingdom named Arian. While the protagonist Sei dismisses this as nonsense, it seems to be completely true. Though he doesn't work in the sense of other Gundam royals, he's still very active, participating in the Gunpla Battle World Tournament and being more than willing to beat up thugs who harass innocents, especially women.
  • In The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Parsian royalty is expected to be war heroes. The king serves as the main commander and is on the front lines while the prince is expected to go on the front lines at a young age. Arslan had his first campaign at age fourteen and is basically trying to reclaim his throne at age fourteen.
  • Azalyn, the Empress of the Raaglon Empire in Irresponsible Captain Tylor, rules from the throne room of the Melva, the biggest, baddest ship in the Raaglon fleet. She's even involved in some of the strategic decision-making, and the Melva (though normally kept behind the lines) sees some main battle action.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, Yuuri goes out and meets with people and does things, much to Wolfram's chagrin.
    • [deep breath] Technically this country has no royalty other than the reigning monarch, since it's a divinely appointed rather than hereditary position, but the Twelve Families are pretty much royalty. This causes Gwendal, as ruling lord of the Voltaire line and the Only Sane Man in Yuuri's administration, to spend all his time up to his eyebrows in work and Wolfram (not in the direct line of descent, but raised as the son of the ruler) to train as a soldier and operate as a Royal Brat. Conrad is not particularly noble by this reckoning, despite his mother's status, and thus exempted.
    • There are a lot of rulers in this show, actually. Flurin, ruler of Caloria, appears to actually do things. More things after she stops pretending to be her own dead husband. Antoine of Francia never did anything before kicking Dai Shimaron out of his country; insufficient data on Cabalcade's shiny-headed rulers. The king of Sho Shimaron is conspicuously absent for the first two seasons and active in a social, schemey way in the third after pleading helplessness to excuse all the trouble his subjects gave the main character previously. Running Dai Shimaron appears to consist of presiding on a throne and running schemes to conquer the world.
      • Which makes you wonder what Conrad would have done with himself if circumstances actually had required that he press his claim to the Shimaron throne.
  • Sankt Kaiser Olivie of Ancient Belka in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who, as an Ancient Belkan queen, not only qualifies as a Warrior Prince(ss), but was also the one to unify the remnants of Ancient Belka after they destroyed themselves, and was instrumental in the forming of the Time-Space Administration Bureau. By technicality, Vivio, as the clone of Olivie, also qualifies, as she serves as a librarian and is receiving training to be a magical girl. She'd rather forget the royalty part and wants to follow in her adopted mother's footsteps.
  • In Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, virtually anyone who's both royalty and has the capacity to own a metal vessel Does Stuff. Everything is justified by the in-series system of determining who's worthy of becoming King: being badass enough to go into a dungeon and survive.
    • The Ren family probably exemplify this the best, as not only three of the crown princes are heavily involved in the politics of the Kou empire but they along with their two sisters are also generals of the Imperial army.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has several princesses who are actually useful:
    • Theodora supported Negi's father Nagi during the war, and helped in Negi's training and match with Jack Rakan.
    • Then we have Asuna, another, much older princess, who has been fighting next to Negi for quite a while. She doesn't know that she's a princess...
    • And lastly, Negi himself, who is a prince by virtue of being Arika's son. Like Asuna, he wasn't initially aware of his royal lineage.
  • Maken-ki!: As the daughter of Yamato no Orochi, Himegami is both royalty and a demigoddess. And her Orochi blood is the only thing that can break the seal atop Amanohara, which is the reason Ouken Yamato was after her. So Takeru and the others tried to protect her from him, but In the end, Himegami defeated Ouken, herself. And she's now tasked with the greater responsibility of trying to find a way to stop her uncle, Takeru, permanently.
  • Hanon in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch fights evil with everyone else, but constantly worries about her country and does whatever she can to help her people. Later, everyone in the cast takes charge of rebuilding their kingdoms as well as sending aid to that of the Rebellious Princess, whose running away would be seen as irresponsible even if it hadn't led to all it did.
  • Every single Kage in every country in the world of Naruto. Prime examples are the fourth Hokage of the main character's village, who died protecting his village, and the fifth Hokage in the same village, who almost killed herself healing injured villagers on a large scale during a massive assault. The factors of being a village leader are wisdom, experience, and a desire to protect, complemented with the ability to kick ass.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the main character (taking over for her father, who is no longer capable of doing anything on account of terminal illness), as well as most Periphery clan leaders. Torumekian and Dorok royalty also lead from the front, especially Princess Kushana and both Emperors.
  • One Piece:
    • Rather common when royalty is involved. The first example is Nefertari Vivi, the princess of the desert kingdom of Alabasta. She successfully infiltrated the evil organization that was attempting to overthrow her government, and when she was exposed, took an active role in helping the Straw Hat Pirates stop Sir Crocodile from completing his plan.
    • And her father, Nefertari Cobra (and yes, his subjects know him as King Cobra). An unknown, shadow organization is manipulating the people into a rebellion against him? He refuses to send the royal army against his own people without knowing what's happening. When Vivi sends him info on Crocodile, he immediately mobilizes the entire army to leave the capital (where the rebels are planning to meet the army in battle) and send them against Crocodile. Crocodile kidnaps him? He'd rather die, collapse the ancient burial grounds, and try to take Crocodile with him, than lead him to Pluton.
    • Boa Hancock also counts, as the empress of Amazon Lily. Her Red Baron also happens to be "Snake Princess". She may be an Alpha Bitch, and a personification of Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!, but with Haki, a Charles Atlas Superpower, and the ability to turn others to stone, she has more than enough power to back up her title…which she shows regularly as the captain of the Kuja Pirates.
    • And then we have the royalty of the Ryugu Kingdom on Fishman Island. King Neptune isn't afraid to protect his subjects when the need arises, including doing an underwater version of Kamehame Hadoken to utterly defeat the New Fishmen Pirates. His deceased wife Queen Otohime stopped a thief by slapping him several times and was very active in trying to promote peace between mermen and humans while making time to be a caring mother of four, a school teacher, and a rescue worker. The three princes are all Warrior Princes and are said to be the strongest of the Nepture army, which they also lead.
    • There's also Donquixote Doflamingo. He may not look like it, but he is the king of Dressrosa. Later on, this becomes extremely notable when it's revealed that he's a World Noble, who are often noted to be anything but this.
      • Then subverted a bit when you find out how he gained the kingdom. And that it was all mostly a front to hide his operations. But played straight with the former rulers, the Riku Family, who indeed had the people's best interest at heart, proven by the fact that until they were usurped, the country hadn't been involved in a war for 700 years.
    • The Vinsmoke Family counts as well. Despite having no land to rule over, they are still allowed to participate in the Reverie. They also maintain an influential role in the Underworld, which certainly contributes to this trope.
  • Princess Principal Princess Charlotte is the leader of a steampunk spy ring for the Commonwealth, who oppose the Royals!
  • Princess Tutu: Mytho is the prince from a Story Within A Story, and he'll go out of his way to help anyone (although this only tends to cause more work for his friends). Princess Tutu and Princess Kraehe do quite a bit as well, but they don't actually have kingdoms, so their titles are purely symbolic or honorary.
  • Kashue the Mercenary King in Record of Lodoss War is a very competent ruler who actually fights well.
  • Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars: Empress Yuinshiel Asteria is the main character of a Super Robot anime, with all fighting that entails.
  • Mirellia Q Melromarc from The Rising of the Shield Hero is this, much moreso than her currently-selfish/absolutely horrid husband who is crowned King "Aultcray Melromarc XXXII" since, while he was busy taking whatever measures to make Naofumi's life a living hell, she was busy dousing massive political fires/outrage over the King summoning all four of the Cardinal Heroes, whereas it was formally agreed to summon one hero for each of the four seperate countries, thereby having the country of Melromarc have all four Cardinal Heroes all for their own protection from the Waves of Catastrophe for themselves while the other countries were left completely unprotected by them and would have fallen if Fitoria hadn't remembered/kept her promise to a former Hero from ages long past and protected them in their stead whilst they remained blissfully unaware that the other countries were also affected by the Waves as well. As such, the other countries would've consumed Melromarc long before the Waves arrived due to the sheer amount of political anger over Melromarc summoning all four Cardinal Heroes for their own support. This alone speaks untold volumes between their reliability/duty to their Royal statuses. And after the Three Heroes Church faction is abolished, she herself commands the Melromarc fleets that arrive to defend the Cal Mira Archipelago after Naofumi uses his recently-discovered Teleport ability to inform her about the impending Wave attack there.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Although she doesn't know at the time, Usagi/Serena is a princess who fights evil. And she later becomes a Queen who fights evil.
    • Endymion/Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask also counts, as in his first life he was prince of the Earth's most powerful kingdom and later becomes Usagi's husband and King. The other Sailor Soldiers of the solar system count too, as they were royalty of their own planets in their previous lives.
  • In Saiunkoku Monogatari, Emperor Shi Ryuuki turns out to be this kind of ruler; aside from taking a keen personal interest in making sure his kingdom is not only prosperous but progressive, he's also left the palace in secret on more than one occasion to help Shuurei and other characters. He's also a skilled swordsman and has personally fought off assassins and fought alongside Seiran, Shuuei, and Ensei.
  • The Secret of Twilight Gemini: Lara is the rebel leader of the Geltic gurrellas, who're fighting to reclaim their homeland from the Igo Tribe. Though she doesn't find out about her royal lineage until the night before they depart for their ancestral home, which is when The Elder finally tells her and Lupin.
  • The Saillune royal family in Slayers, natch. Princess Amelia is a White Mage/Shamanistic Mage who is very willing to take on the Walking the Earth lifestyle in order to help others, which she does several times, namely sending out for medical aid for the impoverished kingdom of Taforashia in the anime. It's also been shown that she is a decent diplomat (or at least tries to be). Prince Phillionel also believes in going out in order to fight crime, and is a prime example of the Charles Atlas Superpower trope. It's implied that Amelia's Missing Mom was also a sorceress.
    • Subverted with Princess Gracia, otherwise known as Naga the Serpent and Amelia's missing older sister. She takes on traveling in austere settings and will help others, but is a sub-par fighter, a Hard-Drinking Party Girl, haughty, and expects fame and dotes on herself without doing much work (just watch the movies; Lina's the one who gets all the recognition for a reason).
    • Pokota/Prince Posel of Taforashia, an anime-exclusive character, is also this: a powerful practitioner of Black Magic and all too willing to save his disease-stricken kingdom.
  • In Sword Princess Altina, there's the Title Character, Altina who is the fourth born princess of Belgaria, but there's also her older brother Basitin, and the princess of High Britannia, Elizabeth, in volume 4.
  • Many royals of The World is Still Beautiful tend to be very involved:
    • Although the Sun Kingdom has a well-established bureaucracy, Livius often feels the need to personally contribute at times.
    • Also quite literally in the case of Nike and her family, whose status as royalty does not exempt them from cutting firewood, doing the laundry, or peeling potatoes for a feast.
    • Prince Taishi of the Sand Kingdom does his best to communicate and help his people in person whenever possible because he has a great urge to look after them at all costs.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, the Juraian Royal Family are the baddest mofos around, and additionally are paired off with sentient spaceships capable of generating super weapon fields of invulnerability. They actually have an Imperial Guard whose job is mainly to evacuate the civilians if somebody attacks the royals and they have to fight back.
  • The Kings of The Twelve Kingdoms work their fingers to the bone. Lazy royalty are an offence against the heavens.
  • Hakuoro, once he takes over the country by force. After that, he's a very responsible leader, but not afraid to kick ass when necessary. On the other hand, the other emperors also tend to take a very hands-on approach to war and politics.
  • Princess Allura/Fala became a pilot for Voltron / GoLion after Sven/Takashi was injured.
  • Windaria: Both Warrior Prince Roland and Princess Veronica personally lead their armies.
  • In Yakitate!! Japan, the royal family of Monaco intentionally send their children out to learn careers as commoners so that they may rule better. The current king learned to bake bread. To be fair, if he'd had the talent for it, breadmaking could have resulted in him being able to make disposable time machines.
  • Pretty much every royal in Yona of the Dawn. Su-won may have achieved the throne in a less-than-honorable way, but he is an intelligent, capable emperor, uniting the five tribes and settling disputes with neighboring countries with a mix of diplomacy and military force.
    • Yona herself develops into a strong, caring princess who tries to alleviate the suffering of the people she meets on her journey.
    • Princesses Kouren and Tao as well as the Water Tribe general's daughter Lili also do their best to lead and protect their people.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the spirit of the Puzzle is a pharaoh, and not only is he one of the lead characters (and therefore takes part in everything), but in the Memory World arc he fights on the front lines with the rest of his court and the army. He also takes on Bakura single-handedly on multiple occasions, and uses Slifer to shield the city from his attacks at one point. Zig-zagged in that this is a shonen action manga, so most of the administration part is implied (one scene in the manga shows him with a scroll), no mention is made of the relationships with other countries, and if you take the anime timeline to be right, then Bakura's attack began the same day as Atem's coronation (the manga is more ambiguous).

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Maximillian Acorn actively took part in the Great War against the human-like Overlanders. His daughter, Princess Sally Acorn, later led La Résistance against Dr. Robotnik. Sally's longlost brother Elias, who later became king, has also been seen Dual Wielding scimitars and holding his own against various enemies. Don't mess with the Acorn clan.
      • Blaze is a princess who safegaurds and retrieves her dimension's Sol Emeralds, and can fight anyone who threatens any of them. She also can match with Sonic.
      • Monkey Khan didn't start out as royalty, but was eventually chosen as "king" by the people he protects.
    • After the reboot (and Elias's subsequent erasure from the timeline) Sally's father, now King Nigel Acorn, has become this in spades. When an army of badniks and mercenaries invaded his kingdom, he confronted the mercenaries directly and attacked them with an energy sword and shield. He even held his own before greater numbers overwhelmed him.
  • Diabolik offers us:
    • Altea, the Duchess of Vallenberg: a member of the royal family of Benglait by marriage, was one of two royals with a modicum of common sense, serving as a nurse during the first terrorist crisis of the Grey Ravens, and giving useful but ultimately ignored advice to the king and his son (and thus being the only member of the royal family still able to go around in Benglait after the revolution). Even after the revolution, she's still active in charities, helping her fiancee Ginko to try and arrest Diabolik, and, occasionally, doing some secret investigations for her country (one of which ended with her holding a gun on the leader of the Grey Ravens. Then Diabolik, having a vendetta against the guy, killed him).
    • Also, her late husband Federico: cousin of the king, he was leading the fight against the Grey Ravens as a police officer and preaching for less wasting of the kingdom's money into parties and accepting the fact they were in a civil war before he went swimming and got killed by a shark. Then subverted when it was found out he was the leader of the Grey Ravens trying to take over the country, who faked his own death when his own officers proved too competent and were on the verge of unmasking him. Altea is implied to be the indirect reason the Grey Ravens failed to take over during the revolution and shown to have accidentally done the same during a later crisis (she was left comatose in a bombing. Ginko left no survivors among the responsible, even allying to Diabolik for the occasion), and was the one to unmask Federico when he returned trying to pass himself off as a hero (with Diabolik stalking her because he had also found out and wanted revenge).
  • Anna's plot in Frozen: Breaking Boundaries revolves around trying to invoke this issue. Despite being a princess, Anna doesn't usually have much of a job. She and her new friend Princess Mari go around trying to find one for her.
  • The Green Lantern Corps includes Princess Iolande of Betrassus, now ruler of her planet since everyone else in the royal family is dead. Iolande, however, much prefers being in the corps.
  • During his brief reign as king of the planet Sakaar, The Hulk did a lot of things, from actively achieving peace with a group of Starfish Aliens to personally helping in the reconstruction of his damaged kingdom. After the three days of peace and prosperity ended in a massive explosion, he personally led an army to Earth to do a lot of other things, which amounted to punching a lot of people who deserved it in the face repeatedly.
  • At least one Comic-Book Adaptation of The Little Mermaid goes into detail about Aquata's, the heir to the throne, grooming into being the next queen of the ocean.
  • Princess Zelda and her father, in the Nintendo Comics System adaptation of The Legend of Zelda, are both very involved with the people of their kingdom. Zelda in particular is shown going on goodwill visits to distant cities and putting herself in harm's way to protect her people.
  • Under his title as King of Dreams, Morpheus of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman seems to fit here — one later issue runs through a week of the royal itinerary of diplomacy, judicial duties, and dreamcrafting as a counterpoint to the frequent stories of Morpheus going out and doing things. Also, the first volume is all about him actively going out and recovering his three talismans of power, which are needed to restore the Dreaming; in his absence, it decayed badly. He also re-captures renegade dreams/nightmares, and stops a vortex that would have destroyed his realm and the mortal world. It's really only in the later books that he starts going on more personal quests.
  • X-Men: Lilandra, Empress/Magistrix of the Shi'ar Empire and Charles Xavier's on-again off-again love interest is found at the helm of the Shi'ar fleet's flagship or directly on the battlefield at least as often as she's seen on the throne, and even then she's pulling more strings than a puppet-master, trying to assure as peaceful and prosperous an existence for her empire as possible within the chaotic Marvel Universe.
  • Zig-zagged in The Snow Cat Prince. Of the seven cat princes who rule over the land, Syv is the only one who goes on the quest to retrieve the stolen magic crown.
  • Common in superhero universes. Among others:
  • Black Panther is primarily a king and does superheroics as a sideline, as did his ancestors.
  • Doctor Doom is a villainous example. He is the monarch of Latveria (most of the time) and there can be little doubt that he's spent most of his reign being a thorn in the side of the Fantastic Four (and pretty much every other hero in the Marvel Universe).
  • Black Adam was ruling his country until his massive non-Heroic BSoD
  • Queen Hippolyta of Themyscira isn't above getting her hands dirty (and, in one bit of comics continuity, was Wonder Woman during World War II). Her daughters, Diana and Donna, are more than happy to follow in their mother's footsteps, Diana as the current Wonder Woman and Donna as the first Wonder Girl (now Troia). Donna's close friend (and fellow Titan) Starfire is also a princess, though whether or not she counts as "acting" monarchy is debatable since she's in willing exile.
  • Maxima is Queen of Almerac and has a period as a superhero before pulling a Heroic Sacrifice by blocking a planet-destroying blast.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes gives us Princess Projectra, a longtime member of the team who after a long term absence leading her people as Queen, returned as Sensor Girl.
  • In Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, members of the Calaton royal family sacrifice their lives by merging their psychic energies together to form the Radiant, an energy being created to put down the rampaging creature later known as Doomsday. They do this twice in the story, although the second time it does not work, as Doomsday is now immune to the energy attack of the Radiant that once killed him before.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Plourr Ilo, it turns out, is crown princess of Eiattu. Upon becoming empress, she only does the "pomp and ceremony" as strictly required, striving to improve her planet.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: The whole Imperial family of Avalon is utterly and whole-heartedly devoted to protect and improve the lives of the subjects of the Empire and other alternate realities. Likewise, even if you are royalty, you start from the bottom and you HAVE to earn your position.
  • Arctic Rim features Queen and Princess Elsa and Anna Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg of Norway piloting the Jaeger Frozen Heart in order to defend Europe from Kaiju incursions through the Arctic Circle, largely because they are extremely drift-compatible. They are frequently compared to historical examples of this trope, which Elsa finds embarrassing, claiming they are simply fulfilling a duty to their country. Additionally, Prince Hans of Denmark is a former air force pilot and monitors the Vladivostok Shatterdome on behalf of the UN.
  • Played with in Bend Around the Wind. While Tony and Loki are a force to be reckoned with and as much of a threat as you would expect, Juyu is dumbfounded at the fact that neither of them have the slightest idea at how to use a mop.
  • A Brief History of Equestria presents us with Princess Platinum, who managed a vast underground network of spies and agents that guided the unification of Equestria. Of course, being reduced to a Puppet King tends to free up a lot of spare time.
  • A Diplomatic Visit:
    • A big part of the story is that Twilight's learning more about her duties and being given a chance to practice them (as opposed to the original cartoon's season 4, where she spent most of her time doing comparatively little with her authority as a princess), including about Equestria's diplomatic ties with other nations. Also unlike canon, she's actually being told about some of what she'll be doing in the future, once she's had proper training (such as in legal matters).
    • By the climax, Twilight has taken this to the logical conclusion of continuing her diplomatic visit and traveling the world, acting as a Diplomat at Large for her people.
  • In Emperor, Henry I of the Northern Sun formerly known as Harry James Potter takes to the field in the wars his country is involved in, using his magical powers, while Queen Elicia is one of the nation's foremost scientists.
  • Royalty in Honor for the Enemy is this as a rule among the Fimbulvetrians, especially considering that they're pretty much 'vikings'.
  • Princesses Celestia and Luna use their magic to protect the entire Canterlot Castle in Ace Combat: The Equestrian War.
  • In The Cadanceverse, Princess Cadance both runs Equestria and teaches music to her students.
    • Additionally, Prince Blueblood of Monacolt is a skilled and active ruler. He's also been described as a skilled boxer and harpist.
  • Loki in Child of the Storm, which is set roughly two years after the Avengers, is a Reformed, but Not Tamed and spymaster and is explicitly directed by Odin to make use of his talents in the defence of Asgard as The Man Behind the Man. This is largely because the qualities that make Thor a future great King make him a terrible statesman. While Loki would not be a great King, he is a brilliant statesman.
    • Thor's heroics also fall under this category, leading in battle from the front.
    • Odin and Frigga tend to be busy with administrative stuff and, in Frigga's case, teaching magical medicine. Though when they do step in, it is usually spectacular, with Odin going toe to toe with Chthon.
    • Harry himself tends to get stuck in when it comes to fighting evil, much to his family's mingled pride and despair.
    • King Arthur was this, back in the day.
  • In Dream of Gods and Colors, Children, a crossover of Hollow Knight and RWBY, Ghost and Hornet prove themselves to be exceptionally proactive rulers. Scarcely a day passes after they've taken their respective thrones and they've already set up a council between Hallownest's different tribes and set off to establish contact with Remnant.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has several examples of these. Baron Leopold and Duke Libasheshtan are warrior nobles who lead their troops in battle and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. King Albrecht and the Emperor of the Shining Concord Empire are always seen working to respond accordingly to the threat of keepers in general. Mostly the rising power of Keeper Mercury. Subverted with Queens Beryl and Metallia, who are only Queens in name, and depend entirely on their underlings to come up with plans and execute them to further their goals.
    • Then it gets even stronger with Empress Mercury and her sister, Princess Tiger. They lead their troops to battle, prepare and execute plans and further their own goals by themselves. The Empress even takes on an entire city and conquers it by herself.
    "I hope I'm not expected to sit on my throne all day too as an empress. I'd never get anything done."
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: Celestia (who is also The Emperor) and Luna lead their armies from the front, with Celestia personally taking on some of the greater threats they encounter.
  • In Insatiable, Starscream is one of these, due to being the Crown Prince of Vos and becoming one of Megatron's soldiers.
  • In Keepers of the Elements, Queen Tiana is the most prominent example of this. She is fluent in a few languages, has been Queen since the age of fifteen and is currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the same time. She also happens to be quite proficient with machines in general and loves riding her flying motorcycle as seen in the scene in which she is introduced.
  • In The Masks We Wear, Zuko commands the defense of the Fire Nation Capital against the invasion during the eclipse, making the invaders pay a heavy toll in blood prior to the eclipse, and all but stopping their advance during the eclipse; when Azula launches a counterattack after the eclipse with the Fire Nation Air Fleet, she is impressed by Zuko's achievements.
  • Invoked and averted with the Grand Ruler from My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic. While he takes constant care of the ecosystem of Unicornicopia, he does not go into battle when Titan shows up the first time, despite being the only one able to stop him. The author later tried to excuse this by explaining that the Grand Ruler had faith in his prized student, Lightning. Problem is, Lightning can't do magic and the only reason he did not die is that he conveniently discovered he can summon the Uniforce.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni, Jade, while her royal title is self-proclaimed, is not shy about dishing it out on the battlefield along with her minions.
  • The entire gamut of royals in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Rites of Ascension play this straight. Princess Celestia is busy running the country, Princess Luna is busy trying to get her political power back, Prince Shining Armor leads the Royal Guard and later the Night Guard, Princess Cadence represents and fights for the underrepresented and underprivileged, and even Blueblood appears to be an important pawn for Celestia.
  • Baron Beltorey in The Tainted Grimoire. For example, when an underground sport was causing harm to civilians, he took measures to minimize the harm and in the process, also turned it into a legitimate sporting event.
  • In Things We Don't Tell Humans, Optimus Prime, Elita-One, Megatron, and Nightbird become very popular among the people for this. They're involved with charities and resources for addicts and the poor, and support the arts and sciences.
  • Due to the establishment of Anna and Elsa from Frozen as this trope, there are a considerable number of Frozen fanfics that are Government Procedurals documenting the inner workings of Arendelle's government.
  • In Wearing Robert's Crown, Stannis Baratheon has served as Master of Ships, Master of Coin, Master of Law and finally Hand of the King. Meanwhile his brother Renly is an officer in the Royal Navy.
  • The W.I.T.C.H. fanfic Ripples portrays Weira, mother of Phobos and Elyon, as a much more hands-on and approachable ruler than her distant mother, Allora. However, Phobos feels she goes too far with this, and lacks the air of superiority that a ruler should have, and is thus not as deeply respected. Though ironically, after ascending to the throne he rules pretty hands-on himself, working to keep his faction stable and strong in the midst of a Civil War.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, this is inverted in Princess Luna's case; she wants to lead the Royal Guard into battle against the changeling remnants in person, but as the princess of the night, she is hopelessly tied down by mundane work (and, strongly implied, her sister) in Canterlot and forced to delegate military command to lower echelons.
  • The Bridge: Most of the royals or royal equivalents fit the bill. Princesses Celestia, Luna, and Cadance all run numerous affairs across Equestria and the Crystal Empire as well as manage the investigation of possible unknown kaiju roaming about; while also being more than willing to step into the fray themselves should a battle endanger their citizens. Godzilla Junior's title of 'King of the Monsters' might be more symbolic, but he has been leading the Defender faction for over a decade and has constantly been in the action for most of his life protecting humanity and then Equestria in the royal guard.
  • Prince Vince, in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series, is depicted as a very active ruler in the Neitherworld, personally involved in the day-to-day details of the realm and still taking the time to personally provide his friends with whatever assistance they require.
  • Becoming Lífþrasir: With the exception of Heather (who even still is technically royalty via marriage to Thuggory), every member of Hiccup's dragon riding team (including Hiccup himself) are heirs to their own respective tribes.
  • In All That Glitters, Anna and Hans search for an artifact that can stop the Endless Winter. Anna also takes on a job at the Arendellian embassy at Corona. Later, Elsa is on the frontlines of a war, conjuring up snow soldiers and controlling whether the fjord is frozen, depending on whether Arendelle's enemies are trying to cross it by ship or foot. After Hans takes over Arendelle, she and Kristoff search for a way to defeat. And when he becomes a king, Hans takes an active interest in the work of ruling and politics, something Anna begins helping him with as she works on a plan to convince him to give up his power.
  • In Purple Days, King Joffrey leads his Raider force from the frontlines, skilled and strong enough to destroy Renly's Rainbow Guard by himself, and intelligent and cunning enough to seize control of the remnants of Renly's army rather than annihilate them. Queen Sansa is heavily involved in King's Landing courts, and at the death of the Hand of the King Eddard Stark at the hands of a shadow demon, takes direct control of all defensive forces in the city, inspiring every single soldier under her command to the point Stannis' numerically superior army is completely destroyed in one night. Sansa herself duels and wins against Stannis.
  • Chasing Dragons:
    • Robert and Stannis are kings who both lead forces from the front in war. Stannis is also a far more engaged king than Robert was in canon; apparently he is building roads in the Crownlands and demolishes the Dragonpit to have a royal garden built.
    • Viserys, even lacking a proper kingdom, strives to be this. Even if he can do little but stand behind a battle line and be seen, or preside over diplomatic meetings being actually carried out by his underlings, he'll do it proudly.

    Film — Animated 
  • Stoick in How to Train Your Dragon takes his role as chief of Berk seriously and is often the one to lead the charge. The spin-off series adds to this. Some of Stoick's chiefly duties including: officiating weddings, mending fences, settling interpersonal disputes, inducting newborns into the tribe, repairing ships, attend meetings with other chiefs (bringing a gift is a must), etc.
  • King Boron and Queen Baran in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. They rule over the tree of Ga'Hoole, but regularly teach classes to the trainee Guardians, and lead their fellows into battle.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie features a whole family of this. The King and his wicked brother Robert are both Gadgeteer Geniuses, creating a Time Machine and Powered Armor, respectively. The King's children are Prince Alexander, who fights alongside his crew when their ship's attacked, and Princess Eloise, who will stop at nothing to find Alexander after Robert kidnaps him.
  • In Thumbelina, Prince Cornelius covers a surprising distance (considering his size), nearly dies in a frozen lake, and fights a large irate frog to save Thumbelina.
  • Disney examples:
    • The Little Mermaid (1989): Prince Eric is a competent sailor. Ariel fights Ursula when the sea witch turns her dad into a sea plant and, prior to that, risks drowning to swim to a ship and prevent Ursula from marrying an enchanted Eric. Their daughter Melody takes on Ursula's sister in the sequel.
    • From Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Kida is quite the warrior.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Prince Philip kills a sorceress-turned-dragon to save the kingdom and his beloved.
    • The prince of Cinderella. In the third film, he dives out a window, races at top speed on his horse, jumps onto the sail of a moving ship, slides down on his sword, and blocks a magic spell with that same sword, all for the sake of Cinderella. She herself jumps from a runaway carriage onto a horse and rides back to the palace just so her stepmother won't steal her happiness and deceive the prince.
    • Original plans for Snow White's prince included him escaping from a water-filled dungeon after refusing to marry the Queen. Although none of this ever actually made it into the film, it is implied that he spends the entire movie searching for Snow White while the plot is going on.
    • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast qualifies, as he does rather effectively govern a large household and lands. He also fights wolves in the snow and (eventually) helps to fend off an invasion of his castle. Oh, yeah, and he's actually a prince.
    • Pocahontas, with pretty much only John Smith's help, defuses the Native American/European tension.
    • The Princess and the Frog: For a prince, Naveen sure does adapt quickly to life as a frog. Then, at the end of the movie, both Tiana and Naveen play this straight, with Tiana running the restaurant of her dreams and Naveen alternating between waiting tables and performing live music.
    • Frozen shows this trope off very well:
      • Anna personally goes hunting for her missing sister Elsa, rather than commission soldiers to take on the task; Prince Hans, meanwhile, runs the kingdom for her in her absence. Of course, Hans is a villainous example of the trope, but Anna doesn't know that when she leaves him in charge, and from what we're shown he appears to be quite good at the job.
      • Elsa herself qualifies, as the Duke of Weselton's concerns with securing his trade interests in her kingdom make this one of the only Disney Princess movies (the other being Brave) where political diplomacy and international affairs are an explicit concern. However, to be honest, it's only the Duke who's concerned with it at all, but Anna and Elsa have more personal problems keeping their attention. At the end of the movie, Elsa cuts off the trade agreement between Arendelle and Weselton after the Duke tries to have her killed.
      • Early in the film, the sisters' royal parents are shown dealing with a family crisis (Anna's injury and Elsa's "curse"), re-organizing their lives to cope with and conceal Elsa's situation.
  • The royal family of DunBroch in Brave qualifies as a whole: Merida is a Princess. Elinor is shown in the opening meal scene receiving letters of many sorts, thus implying she is the one handling matters of state. Fergus was explicitly chosen as their king after he led the other clans to victory against invading Vikings, and whether it's evil monster bears or invading armies, he takes care of it. Even the toddler triplets are crafty tricksters capable of distracting an entire castle. The other clan leaders and their heirs are also shown as being pretty battle-happy, especially against each other.
    • Not to mention, Elinor seems to be tougher than even Fergus, as she completely keeps him in line (even when he tries to express male dominance), and can stop a massive brawl of tons of badass warriors simply by her intimidating presence alone. That's before she turns into a bear and whoops ass. And oh, yeah, she kills Mordu at the end, something Fergus had been trying to do for years — losing one of his legs in the process.
  • The Lion King (1994) examines this trope. Mufasa is The Good King because he has responsibilities that he takes care of. He teaches Simba that "there's more to being king than getting your way all the time". Indeed, after Scar murders Mufasa and usurps the throne, the Pridelands become a wasteland thanks to Scar's selfish negligence. Simba eventually becomes a good king by deciding to leave his exile to reclaim the throne from Scar.
  • In Moana the Waialiki ruling family is a chiefdom, so their duties are mostly to go and fight - especially Moana.
  • The Sleeping Beauty portion of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams has Aurora in charge of the kingdom while her parents are away. She is soon overwhelmed by the difficulty of everything. The Aladdin portion also shows that Jasmine has a lot of tasks to do each day.
  • Hercules is the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods, and therefore a prince. He spends all of his time whupping every monster that terrorizes Greece.
  • Princess Uni-Kitty from The LEGO Movie is a Master Builder who has quite the temper if her friends get hurt.
  • Princess Marianne of Strange Magic is a sword wielding Action Girl who attempts to single-handedly rescue her sister kidnapped by The Bog King, who is another example of this.
  • Prince Derek from The Swan Princess is the first to discover that King William's carriage has been ambushed, and Princess Odette captured. Derek practices his archery, including a Dangerous Forbidden Technique called "catch-and-fire," and manages to trace Princess Odette to the Evil Sorceror's clutches. Derek ultimately defeats The Villain and rescues Odette.
  • Trolls: Princess Poppy, who takes it upon herself to go out and save her friends, even if no one else wants to. In the past, her father King Peppy led the Trolls' initial escape from the Bergens.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Aquaman (2018), the rulers of all four civilized underwater kingdoms (King Orm of Atlantis, King Nereus of Xebel, the Princess of the Fishermen, and the King of the Brine) personally lead their forces into battle. It's heavily implied by Orm that his his father Orvax was also like that. Even Arthur himself is the son of an Atlantean queen and spends his days helping others (although he wants nothing to do with Atlantis). Mera is the daughter of King Nereus and spends most of the movie helping Arthur and fighting; she's also an excellent pilot. Even Queen Atlanna is shown to be a competent fighter.
  • Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty all actively fight in Avengers Grimm and the opening of the movie implies that this is standard in their wars.
  • Nyssa Damaskinos in Blade II is the daughter of Overlord Eli Damaskinos, one of the rulers of the vampire nation. Despite this, she is a member of the Blood Pack, an elite team of vampire warriors trained to hunt Blade. She actually gives him a pretty good run during their first encounter. It is also made clear that her father does not put a lot of stock in family.
  • Dracula Untold:
    • Vlad III, who is the Prince of Transylvania, gives up his humanity to gain the power to destroy the Ottomans and protect his family.
    • Mehmet II as well, who marches with his army and is one of the better fighters among the Ottomans.
  • Enchanted: As out-of-it as he is, Prince Edward is still pretty brave to dive through a Portal Pool to a strange land, fight a "metal monster" (bus) with a sword, and search New York, just to save Giselle.
  • In the movie adaptation of The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield, the King Under the Mountain, is trying to take back his home with the help of twelve other dwarves, a Wizard, and a Hobbit. Fíli and Kíli count as well, as they are Thorin's nephews and heirs. Hell, most of the company is somehow related to Thorin. Thorin is indeed a royal who does something, though for most of the story (and indeed most of his life) he hasn't had the opportunity to be a royal who does nothing, since his kingdom is under the control of an occupying power. He's only "King Under the Mountain" in the same way that, say, Charles de Gaulle was President of France in 1943.
  • In Uwe Boll's In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, King Konreid of Ehb personally leads his soldiers into battle against the Krug. While Farmer, after finding out that he is Konreid's long-lost son, leads a one-man mission to find his wife and kill the Evil Sorcerer. Duke Fallow is a subversion, as he'd much rather enjoy all the perks of being royalty without any responsibility. That said, he's pretty handy with a sword.
  • In Jack the Giant Slayer, King Brahmwell fights alongside his men during the final battle with the giants, joins the soldiers tugging on the lanyards to secure the drawbridge, and refuses to flee when things look hopeless.
    Elmont: Get the king to safety!
    King Brahmwell: (pulls out his sword) Like hell!
  • Lampshaded in The King's Speech when George VI complains that he has no power as a 20th Century king, except as an inspiration for the people such as in giving public addresses, which he has no confidence doing with his stammer. However, with Lionel Logue's help, he does that role marvelously. He does mention that he's an officer in the Navy, implying that's what he knows and is most comfortable doing. So he does have a background of doing something.
  • Ridley Scott's Robin Hood (2010): Prince John is the first to charge into the siege of upcoming French, eager to prove his worth.
  • Star Wars:
    • Princess Leia was a key leader in the rebellion. Even though her biological mother wasn't royalty by inheritance (Naboo being best described as a sovereign republic, with a maximum of two four-year terms for the ruler, albeit terming its head of state by the monarchial terms "Queen" or "King" rather than, say, President), her adopted parents were the Queen and Prince Consort of Alderaan.
    • Padmé herself is quite an active queen, in part because she posed as one of her own maids-in-waiting whenever she wasn't needed for royal duties, allowing her to get involved in important but "unofficial" matters.
    • Dooku is a villainous version. Hereditary Count of Serenno, political manipulator, and deadly warrior with a lightsaber.
  • 300: King Leonidas of Sparta leads his troops on a suicide mission to protect their home from pillage and slavery. It's Truth in Television. In real life they had two kings just so they could do this and have a backup.
  • Queen Frigga personally guards the king against his would-be assassins in Thor and fights Malekith to protect Jane Foster and the Aether in Thor: The Dark World.
  • In Maleficent, King Henry leads his army against the Moors personally.
  • The Prince of Orange is the closest the Netherlands has to Royalty in Michiel de Ruyter. Despite being known for liking ballet and being very young, he ably takes over command of the Republic's land defences during the Disaster Year of 1672 and helps protect the country from the enormous French invasion army.
  • King Llane of WarCraft (2016) leads armies to battle, actively participates in combat and refuses to escape through the Portal until as many of his subjects as possible go through.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: While Centauri Emperor Turhan doesn't do very much, something he laments, his wife, Lady Morella, in addition to acting as a prophetess, also personally tends to Vir when he's hurt in a riot.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Despite everyone else's skepticism, Brea's willing to fight against the Skeksis when she realizes the horrible things they've done to the Gelflings.
  • Doctor Who has accumulated a few over the years.
    • King Yrcanos who, aside from being a classic Warrior King, was played by BRIAN BLESSED. And ended up marrying one of the Doctor's companions.
    • The very awesome Liz 10 (Sophie Okonedo) from "The Beast Below", a two-gun wielding hands-on Action Girl who endlessly investigates the mystery of her kingdom, and then chooses to forget.
  • Game of Thrones :
    • In general, royals and nobles actually fight in battles as soldiers. King Robert Baratheon killed Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in battle during his rebellion to seize the throne. However, he became an Adipose Rex who did as little as humanly possible that didn't involve food, strong drink or women, preferably all three, and a notable exception by late in his reign.
    • Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters rode their dragons into battle when conquering Westeros, as Daenerys does in the Battle for Meereen.
    • Jon fights in the Battle for Winterfell before being declared King of the North.
    • This seems to be so commonplace that morale is significantly lowered if the royalty and noblemen do NOT participate in the battle. Joffrey retreating to the Red Keep during the Battle of the Blackwater, and Cersei's refusal to make him return in fear for his safety, results in much of the city watch deserting and the city almost being taken.
    • Tywin Lannister is also a very hard-working and able administrator which is revealed as a character trait in his very first scene when he has a conversation with Jaime while skinning a deer, work he could easily have left to servants.
    • Say what you will about the wisdom of Stannis Baratheon's actions in "Blackwater", you can't accuse him of being a coward, or leading from behind. (Unlike Joffrey.) And with the addition of Renly's Stormlands bannermen to his army and having the largest navy of any of the Five Kings (save possibly Balon Greyjoy), he has a good chance of taking the city — and almost does. Just too bad for him that Tyrion Lannister is around and he has vast stockpiles of wildfire at his disposal, which you can't really expect Stannis to plan for considering its rarity. He's also one of the very few people south of the Wall who is concerned with the impending White Walker threat. Furthermore, he's also the only royal claimant in Westeros to respond to Maester Aemon's call for aid at the Wall.
    • Talisa Maegyr works as a field medic in Robb Stark's army. Even after he marries her and makes her his queen, she goes right back to her job tending to wounded soldiers despite having no obligation to do so.
    • Euron Greyjoy becomes King of the Iron Islands, and actually pays the iron price by leading his men into battle.
    • Lyanna Mormont, the child leader of House Mormont, chooses to lead her soldiers in the battle against the White Walkers instead of taking refuge in the crypts. Jorah tries to talk her out of it since she's the last bloodline member left to rule House Mormont, but she refuses on the grounds of if her people are going to put their lives on the line for the House, then she should be willing to do the same for her people.
  • Deconstructed in To Play the King, the second series of House of Cards (UK). The King desires to be this, and begins to interfere in the running of government, prompting a rivalry with Francis Urquhart, his ultra-machiavellian Prime Minister, and eventually a constitutional crisis. While Urquhart is opposing the King mainly for his own venal and self-serving ends, however, he does point out that the monarchy taking an active role in politics beyond their constitutional role is frowned on in the Westminster system for a reason, as it compromises and threatens the authority of the people's elected government.
  • The whole idea behind the cancelled show Kings. Even though King Silas' rule is marred by corporate politics and the whim of the general crowd, he still has almost-absolute power.
  • George III is portrayed like this in Longitude. When the Longitude Board persists in Moving the Goalposts to keep the Harrisons from claiming the prize for their very functional naval timepiece, George is appealed to and gets involved to fund additional testing and poke Parliament with a stick. It is notable for being one of the few times he's portrayed as a competent monarch (American works invariably portray him as tyrannical and/or clueless, and any other appearances are usually about his mental illness later in life).
  • Merlin shows Prince Arthur to not only be Camelot's heir apparent, but also the day-to-day commander of the kingdom's armed forces. He not only leads them in battle, but also recruits the knights and oversees their training. He also seems to be the closest thing that the kingdom has to a sheriff or chief of police. If any "crime" occurs, it's usually Arthur that's sent to investigate.
    • It's heavily implied that his father King Uther was this as well in his youth. He does prove himself quite handy with a sword.
    • The first episode that showcases Guinevere as Queen makes a point of demonstrating how active she is: she gives advice at a council meeting, she rules the kingdom in her husband's absence, and she ferrets out a traitor that was leaking information to her enemies.
  • In Ocean Girl two of the characters are princesses. One is a government figurehead, the other a kind of ambassador. Their father, royal by marriage only, led a fact-finding mission, and their mother personally walks into a battle to disarm the other side's major weapon.
  • Once Upon a Time is full of these. Prince Charming, his now-dead twin brother whom he replaced, Snow White, Emma (since she's technically royalty as Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter), her son Henry by the same token, and even the Evil Queen - albeit an evil version.
  • In Power Rangers Zeo, King Mondo was a villainous example, having fought the Rangers personally on more than one occasion. His eldest son Prince Gasket was even more capable, apparently.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riva, crown prince of Ramatis, is a successful diplomat, bringing peace to warring factions no matter how long it takes, even when the telepathic "chorus" who allow him to communicate despite his deafness are killed by one of the factions.
  • On The Tudors we have Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Parr excelling in different fields and tasks. All the king's legitimate children are wonders of learning as well.
  • In Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok becomes this once he assumes the position of Earl, continuing to lead his warriors on raids.

  • On Gloryhammer's second album, Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards, we have Angus McFife XIII, King of Dundee: From the song "Legend of the Astral Hammer":
    Slashing my way through
    An army of goblins
    On the darkside of the moon
    far overhead
    Lunar dragons are swarming
    My Hammer will be their doom
    Angus McFife the XIIIth my name
    Scion of mighty Dundee
    Intergalactic, great hero of steel
    Ruler of whole galaxy![sic]]

  • Older Than Dirt: Gilgamesh did lots of things after the gods answered his subjects' prayers to get him the heck out of their city and away from their wives.
  • The discoverer of tea is often credited as being a Chinese emperor who had practised medicine, and tested many of his experiments on himself. Tea must have been his best discovery.
  • Nearly any king or prince mentioned in myth will have long careers, primarily as warriors and/or monster-slayers. Hercules, Achilles, Theseus, Odysseus, King Arthur, Beowulf, Solomon, all of them were royals. The Iranian national epic Shah Namah has lots of real heroic kings in it along with the mythological ones.
    • And the same with religion: among them, the kings of Israel and Judah in the Bible, and before them Moses, who'd been raised as an Egyptian prince.

  • One of the classes in the Cool Kids Table game Here We Gooooo! is Princess, so this is built into the system. The campaign itself has Princess Crania and Prince Dario Mario (who is technically a Plumber class, but still royalty because of his parents) helping save the Soda Pop Kingdom.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • According to their theme song, the kings of wrestling actually had a playing card theme but the Queen of Wrestling was adamant that they were wrestling royalty.
  • Given that one of his Red Barons is "King of Kings," Triple H could be an example, as he's still wrestling to this day since his debut in the 90s and despite being in a high position of power as kayfabe CEO (and a real Executive VP) of WWE. He's also married into the McMahon family, which is, for all intents and purposes, the closest thing wrestling has to a proper wrestling royalty. And speaking of the McMahons, Vinny Mac and his children Shane and Stephanie aren't afraid to step onto a ring and defend themselves, even scoring some accolades in the process.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: Ikea, the king of tabletopia, was summoned as a boss. Not only that, but his entire army went down in three rounds. Ikea survived twice that length, then kidnapped the godmodder.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many monarchs in the BattleTech universe actively serve in combat, and much of their prestige as leaders is dependent on the skills they show in 'mech warfare. With an over three hundred year long metaplot, needless to say there are a lot of examples.
    • You can't even become the First Prince of the Federated Suns without serving at least 5 years in the military and traditionally this includes front line combat.
    • The Draconis Combine is somewhat more informal, but their Proud Warrior Race culture and adherence to bushido means Coordinators (and their heirs) either earn the respect of their armed forces by feats on the battlefield or become Puppet Kings because their soldiers won't obey them.
    • A long line of Steiner tradition dictates that the Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth have graduated from a military academy and at least be a passable warrior. Even the soft-spoken and pacifistic Melissa Steiner was qualified as a Mechwarrior on the Hunchback she inherited from her mother, the previous Archon.
    • Averted by the Clans. Their society runs on Asskicking Equals Authority and doesn't have 'royals', only 'whoever can kick the most ass at 'mech combat and politics'.
  • The king and queen in Chess. While the king may hide behind his bodyguards in the opening and middlegame note , he frequently becomes a key fighting piece in the endgame. And the queen is the most powerful piece on the board and is in the thick of things throughout the game.
  • Most Dungeons & Dragons settings have Authority Equals Asskicking and/or Asskicking Equals Authority as a matter of fact. But even if the land is not under constant attacks or a hereditary magocracy, expect high-ups to keep their hands (or other appendages) very busy with large-scale juggling. Which applies to ruling monarchs and other Blue Blood alike.
    • Forgotten Realms has a lot of it. For an example when it's not a plain necessity, Tethyrian lesser royals are accorded duties in whatever branch of power their talents and inclinations allow. Heirs were traditionally well taught to rule, and expected to pick up some of these when coming of age, including specifically the post of Crown Ecclesiastic; which means having to command as an united force religious knightly orders that theoretically are loyal to the crown and belong to the allied churches, but practically have at best different priorities and at worst cross-purposes — from 15 years old and until the heir claims the crown. House Tethyr had absolute power for over 350 years, was deposed after one greedy and complacent king and some infighting, and still got their triumphant restoration later.
    • The Aristocrat NPC class, which typically represents kings and nobility, seems designed for this. They're automatically given decent weapon and armor proficiencies, an average BAB, a good list of skills and skill points, and the highest starting gold in the game. They're not supremely dangerous, but a first-level aristocrat can definitely hold his own (though, being an NPC class, he quickly falls off afterward).
    • The Birthright setting focused around the players as important figures - including royalty - who had magical powers granted to their bloodlines when the ancient gods died long ago.
  • The Scarlet Empress of Exalted is the only person who can control the superweapon that ended the Fair Folk invasion, and has built the Realm's government so that it can't work without her. She's far from the only example- most notably, any number of PCs, as "Become God-King of [Insert City Here]" is a pretty standard Motivation for a Solar.
    • There's also any number of gods (the Syndics of Whitewall come to mind, as do the trio of gods ruling Great Forks) and the Solar Exalted themselves as the Princes of the Earth. Hell, even the Infernals count, being the Green Sun Princes.
  • Fellowship: The Heir playbook represents a heroic noble who has joined the fight to defeat the Overlord. Born leaders, their core stat is Wisdom and they have the ability to negotiate for free room and board from the rulers of other lands, and to order around many types of non-hostile NPCs (as long as you don't endanger them with your orders). They gain other abilities, depending on whether they come from a kingdom of Great Builders (allowing them to analyze architecture and engineering to find out how to fix or sabotage it), a Lost Line of Kings (allowing them to reroll one die once per scene), Stalwart Defenders (making it easier for them to Overcome powerful enemies, or attacks that threaten someone they have strong Bonds with), or Forgotten Lands (they gain a unique ability that they can temporarily sacrifice to avoid being wounded).
  • The entire point of the Pathfinder Kingmaker campaign is to become this. The player characters wind up taming a wild land, establishing settlements, and then ruling it. The whole time, they must continue to defend their kingdoms from threats both external and internal, deal with any consequences of their policies, and deal with other nations. Basically, it's Dungeons & Dragons when you act personally, but similar to a 4x game when things happen to your nation.
  • Imperial Nobles in Traveller. While there are a number of Nobles who do nothing they are looked down on as the regrettable detritus of their class. Many Imperial Nobles have high business and government positions and there is a tradition of "troubleshooters" who roam about solving crisis (indeed having a pool of such people on hand is one of the stated purposes of the nobility). It is also the custom when promoting a commoner to an important position to give them a noble title to match to ensure that they have the right amount of precedence when they have to go to a Fancy Dinner.
  • The God-Emperor of mankind from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Although ones 'Milage may Vary' as he went out and smote for only a short time and has spent the past ten millennia static on life support, on the verge of death.
    • And pretty much every leader of every faction. Ork Warbosses become that way because they really are the biggest, meanest, and usually the smartest Ork in the bunch. Imperial Guard Lord Generals, unlike some of their lesser leaders, are ONLY chosen from the cream of the officer corps, the best of the best. While some governors are incompetent, these usually don't survive long. Governors are usually Machiavellian in political skill, because there's always someone ready to replace them if they aren't.
    • Within the fiction of the 40k universe, the pilots of Imperial Knights are actual aristocrats hailing from houses of nobility on their respective homeworlds. They are basically written as ye olde timey knights riding horses, with their 40 foot tall murderbots functioning as their steeds. Even the hierarchy within the knight houses, both on and off the battlefield, is analogous to the political structure of a castle court, with a king on top and other ranks below him.
    • The God-Emperor's sons, the Primarchs, mostly qualify as most of them became regents of their home planets. Or at least, they did during and prior to the Horus Heresy. Afterwards those who aren't dead, presumed dead, or might-as-well-be-dead have become subversions as they've either vanished from the Imperium or spend most of their time doing Emperor-knows-what on some daemon planet in the Warp.
  • The Silver Fang tribe from Werewolf: The Apocalypse is considered to be nobility amongst the Garou; as such, they are expected to lead the tribes in battle, in judgment, and in the fight for Gaia. Key word being "supposed," as the tribe's star has fallen in recent centuries due to an ancient curse of madness from Luna herself. Some Silver Fangs, like High King Jonas Albrecht, are the shining lights of the Garou Nation; others are so deluded or egotistical that some of the other tribes are considering a coup.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are the Monarchs (Emperors in Japan), an archetype of Monsters based on Attributes; all the base Monarchs (except Zaborg) are Level 6, they all have an ATK of 2,400, there is one for each Attribute (except Light, which has two), and most gain their effects from being Tribute Summoned. Mobius the Mega Monarch is an evolved Level 7 form of one of them, released in the latest set, suggesting more Mega Monarchs are to follow.
  • In Rocket Age the vast majority of the Martian Silthuri are actually bureaucrats and military officers, despite being the royal caste. However, many of the ruling sub-caste have also been forced into more proactive roles and actions, to avoid being crushed by imperial Earthling powers or the Martians that have allied with them.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Zig-zagged depending on the royalty.
    • The Imperial (medieval-Renaissance) nobility are generally expected to be warriors, and most are, though rich idiots are plentiful. In one case, the Chaos Champion Gharad the Ox was dueling an Elector Count so widely hated the townswomen actually started cheering Gharad. This led to a Pet the Dog moment where he left the town unsacked.
    • Bretonnian (King Arthur-esque knights ruling over Dung Ages peasants) nobility usually fulfill their protective oaths towards their serfs, although this is both out of self-interest (you can't tax dead bodies) and the belief that they have a duty to aid their lessers. While there are a few lords who genuinely care for their people (one of them has newly-married peasant couples brought to his bedchamber... and then sleeps in front of the door so they won't be disturbed), one who lives out the Feudal Overlord life may actually one day find himself besieged by other Bretonnian lords because he's letting the side down.
      • The King of Bretonnia, meanwhile, is actually required to be a great knight. There are four ranks of knighthood in Bretonnia (Knight Errant, Knight of the Realm, Questing Knight and Grail Knight), and no knight would ever swear fealty to a knight of lower rank. This means that, in order to command the loyalty of all his subjects, the king must be a Grail Knight before his coronation.
    • Dwarf High Kings are chosen by deed. When the old High King is dying, potential successors go out into the world to accomplish as many great deeds as possible, and whoever accomplishes the most is crowned the new High King.
      • Ungrim Ironfist, Slayer King of Karak Kadrin, is something of a Deconstruction. Ungrim is constantly seen on the front lines with Karak Kadrin's troops. However, this is not because he wants to lead, but because he wants to die. His desire to find something badass enough to kill him drives him to declare war on the flimsiest of pretexts, and his style when it comes to civic and administrative matters can be charitably described as "hands-off".

  • The main plotline of George Bernard Shaw's "The Apple Cart", where King Magnus thinks rings around his quarreling cabinet. When the Prime Minister tries to stop Magnus from appealing to the people over their heads, the King makes him back down by threatening to abdicate and run for office.
  • Probably how Charles sees his refusal to sign a bill into law in King Charles III. He argues to both Prime Minister Evans and Prince William that his duty as a monarch isn't merely symbolic, and that in practice his approval of a bill must be genuine or else it has no meaning.
  • In Pippin, Pippin, Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life and aware that his father Charlemagne is preparing for war against the Visigoths, invokes this in pleading with his father to participate in the campaign, even though he wasn't raised to be a soldier like his Dumb Muscle brother Lewis was:
    Pippin: I'm your oldest son. That means I might be king one day. Fighting wars is an important part of being king, isn't it?
    Charles: Fighting wars is the most important part of being king. I mean after all, the Pope and I have dedicated ourselves to bringing Christianity to the entire world...
  • In the original version of Elisabeth and real life, Crown Prince Rudolf writes articles anonymously against his father's rule because Rudolf has no real influence at court. The Japanese productions take it even further, inventing a fictional subplot where Rudolf actually participates in revolutionary activities and gets arrested at a demonstration.

  • Nobles in A Magical Roommate study magic and perform experiments. The general impression is that if a war really did break out, they'd be ready for it, but since war is so unlikely, they're ready for governing and magic. Except Alassa and Lettie, but they're shallow and need therapy.
  • King Arthur in Arthur, King of Time and Space. In the Space Arc he's a bold explorer, in the Fairy Tale Arc, he's a brave knight, and in both (and the Contemporary Arc, where he's CEO of Excalicorp) he's dedicated to helping ordinary people.
  • In The Challenges of Zona two of the three main characters, Zona and Tula are princesses.
  • King David Johann from Dominic Deegan. He had apparently been manipulating the events of the world for at least twenty years without being discovered. Did we mention he enchanted the other four archmagi to convince them to make him one?
  • The Dreamland Chronicles. You even have to prepare for it
  • Drive: La Familia are the only ones with access to the Ring Drive technology which enables FTL travel.note  This means that every Ring Drive ship has a chief engineer on it who is related (fairly closely) to the Emperor of all mankind. It also means that if you're in the family ... well, hope you like engineering; the limiting factor how many ships the Empire has appears to be the number of family members there are to run them. You'll also be drafted young; the protagonists' ship has a 15-year-old Chief Engineer ... he's not some kind of wunderkind technological genius, he's just what was available.
  • The clan nobles in Drow Tales are universally taught some degree of fighting skills and specialize in either weapon or mana-based combat.
  • In Erfworld, Royals level up faster, have higher stats, and grant significant leadership bonuses to any units they command. Exactly how this works has yet to be revealed. Even the ones who aren't in combat make cities work better, simply by inspecting the relevant facilities. Possibly the most mixed example of this trope up here.
  • Hero of Evon: Heir to a duchy in The Pridelands and a world famous heroic adventurer.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Baron Klaus Wulfenbach is often shown resolving disputes and coming up with schemes. He's also one of the best combatants in the series, leading some of his armies' assaults personally and out-swordfighting Zeetha. His disproportionate title comes up several times — he could have declared himself Emperor Klaus I as well, and the fact that he didn't is one of the indications he's not a straight Evil Overlord character. Royalty has rules the Wulfenbachs see no reason to follow, and the nobles resent Klaus' rule partly because he comes from a minor house, which is an important factor in the willingness of the Fifty Families to recognize a new Storm King.
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, who fenced with monsters he had enhanced just for training, and was subject of constant drills as Klaus tried to make him the proper heir. After being asked what kind of Empire's heir didn't even built a Death Ray ("Apparently a better one [heir] than I thought"), he invents a Lightning Gun and proceeds to personally test it on an intruding mechanized army. In a later chapter he managed to throw a Mini-Mecha with his bare hands after getting shot. He's not quite up to the Baron's level in the scheming department, but is under pressure to learn fast.
    • Played with somewhat in the Sturmvoraus clan, who at first appearance seem like an entire family of Chessmasters in a vast conspiracy to overthrow the Baron's government. Two are killed off, and the remaining family member, Tarvek, is left as the Unwitting Pawn at the end of a Gambit Pileup. He did, while pretending to not pay attention, pick up enough skills to fight Gil to a standstill. Tarvek also manipulates everybody else's plots throughout the Sturmhalten arc, especially his "sister"'s, though since Agatha was unexpected he has to do a lot of Xanatos Speed Chess and does wind up being shot by Lucrezia at the end of the arc.
    • More than once, rulers were told off by their supporters for allowing the enthusiasm to pull them from strategical heights and trying to do personally more than necessary during a crisis.
    • In the novelization Agatha H. and the Airship City, it's mentioned that the Baron encourages this among his vassals, insisting they take part in planting, harvesting, and so on. A lot of Gil and Tarvek's peers have embraced this, because it's fun and pisses off their parents.
    • There is also Krosp I "Emperor" of all cats, Agatha's Liege lord, and one of the few people in the entire comic working solely towards her health, welfare, and safety. As any good king should for his subjects. Well, the ones intelligent enough to bother with, anyways.
    • Bangladesh Dupree is a Pirate Queen, a genuine blue-blooded member of the Fifty Families reduced to piracy due to some economic downturns. The other royals constantly look down on her for this—not because she's a pirate, but because she actually works. Of course, as Gil points out, all the old families are descended from various cutthroats and brigands who became rich enough that they could convince people that they had some natural right to rule.
  • Homestuck: Feferi Peixes sits at the very top of the blood-caste hemospectrum and is slated to become Empress of Alternia except the planet was destroyed. Given how troll society seems to actually encourage sociopathic jerkass behavior, you'd think she'd be the worst... nope. She's likely the nicest and friendliest of the whole group, and the time she's not spending feeding her lusus so it won't annihilate the troll race, she's caring for animals and preparing a social reform pertaining to actually caring for and helping the weak and infirm (as opposed to killing them off for being weak and infirm). When she takes the throne, Alternia may be in for a very positive change. Except that won't happen now, due to there being no Alternia anymore.
    • The various Black and White Kings are also very active, to the point where there's an entire planet designed just for them to lead battles on.
    • The current Troll Empress, Her Imperious Condescension serves as the emissary of her race with a flagship that rides at the tip of her space armada powered by an incredibly powerful psyker, flying to new races first and making a good impression. That is, before she leaves and lets the rest of her fleet conquer said race.
    • And, strictly speaking, every player of Sburb is either a Prince or Princess of Derse or Prospitnote , to say nothing of the players whose titles are "Prince of (Aspect)", namely (Dirk Strider and the late Eridan Ampora.)
  • Last Res0rt has Princess Adharia Kuvoe, one of the four Executioners on the Deadly Game Reality Show. She tends to oscillate between Crazy Awesome and Lady of War most of the time, but in her defense, she's fighting to regain control of her kingdom, by demonstrating what a good warrior the reality show has turned her into!
  • Since taking lordship from his uncle, The Order of the Stick's Hinjo has been a decidedly hands-on monarch, even personally battling hobgoblins on the walls of the city and charging their clerical leader, Redcloak. Also said uncle, who took advantage of being old and not being a Paladin to be able to fool everyone in thinking he was easy to manipulate and that he was being manipulated by someone else when he did something they didn't like, thus being able to govern properly. He then took advantage of it by bringing the Order to do a job he wasn't legally allowed to do, for the good of his nation. Making a Kangaroo Court with a fake holy warrior as a judge. Keep in mind, he did this to fool not only people who wouldn't hesitate to kill him for their own desires, but a full army of paladins. And the only other person he could count on was a ghost that he couldn't allow to get out of his room, so no help from him. That Magnificent Bastard had serious balls, no wonder Belkar of all people respected him.
  • Princess Princess: Sadie, Amira, and Prince Vladric all shirk their royal responsibilities for their own reasons, though Sadie's reluctance is at least partly due to her sister constantly telling her she's not smart or capable enough to rule.
  • Samurai Princess: The king and princess of the fictional kingdom of Samprini are seen in the field way more than they are in their castle.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: In a surprise twist, Stephanie Kane begins the series as a cryptid hunter and eventually becomes one herself, when she's abducted by the mothmen and chosen to become their new Queen. As such, her primary responsibilities were to help defend them against the Reptilians and to repopulate their species.

    Web Original 
  • Chaos Fighters has its own share of royal protagonists: Clair and Shefan, a princess and a prince in different countries in Route of Land along with Selia, a queen and Clair's mother in a side story Robbery Assault. They are all as capable of fighting as other characters.
  • Played with in The Fate of Paul Twister. Princess Ashley Rebekah de Morgan is known as a member of the Royal knights and an agent of her father's, and when she shows up she's able to get Paul bailed out of prison... except that the woman who showed up was actually an impostor, not the real Princess!
  • In The Insane Quest of Unfathomable Randomness, Mortal, the Prince of the Blob planet, and Luna, Princess of Haruvia, both are no slouches when it comes to helping the group. Luna's mother defended her home planet from incoming attackers, but was killed by the original Smoosh.
  • RWBY: The King of Vale personally led the defending forces against the armies invading Vacuo during the Great War. The Vacuo Campaign was the decisive battle of the war; the King was so awe-inspiring in battle that some of Remnant's historians have attributed his actions to freak storms. After Vale emerged triumphant from the war, he refused leadership over Remnant, working instead to broker peace between the Kingdoms and founding the Huntsman Academies. He's heavily implied to have been Ozpin's previous incarnation.
  • Several royals in Malê Rising take this to heart, the most notable of which is the Ethiopian Empress Anastasia Romanova, who personally handles anti-aircraft weaponry during the bombings of the capital by the Republic of Egypt.
  • Mahu: In "Frozen Flame", Prince Arius personally leads his men into battle against all manner of foes. He does this both for moral and practical reasons. After all, as an exiled prince he now requires all the assistance he can get, including royal troops who will fight for him as hard as he fights for them.

    Western Animation 
  • A villainous example is the Queen of the Crown from Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. She is attempting to hold together a large and crumbling Evil Empire, and is doing well enough at it to pose serious threats to most of the galaxy. Several episodes, including "Mindnet", show that she is a capable and lethal sorceress and her favorite bit of Magitek, the Psychocrypt, is used for stripping the souls out of compatible beings, mashing them down for Life Energy, and using them to create constructs through which she can see and hear - administering her empire personally.
  • In Adventures of the Gummi Bears, King Gregor is a man of action and Princess Calla takes after him well as a Pretty Princess Powerhouse.
  • In The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, Prince Arin personally goes out to find his sister, Aruzia, after she's kidnapped. Later in the series, both take an active part in helping their subjects during a drought, as do their parents the King and Queen.
  • Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time works actively to help her kingdom and occasionally get Finn and Jake out of trouble. Finn also tried to do this after being Offered the Crown of the goblin kingdom, but they really didn't want an active monarch.
    • The Earl of Lemongrab is a negative example of this trope. His short but disastrous reign of the Candy Kingdom shows just how dangerous it is to have somebody inexperienced (or just plain ignorant) in power. All he wanted was an orderly, quiet, clean kingdom, but he went about it in a way that was completely BEYOND wrong. (He imprisoned everybody for one million years!)
    • The Ice King, if you sort of stretch it. He doesn't really have any subjects other than penguins, but in the pitch documents it's said that he was the one who shaped all of the mountains, and built his own ice castle. He spends a lot of time making fantastical ice creatures and changing the weather. How does that really benefit anyone, if he doesn't rule over anyone? It doesn't- but it's still awesome. The Ice Kingdom seems to be doing well for what it is.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, royalty tends to be this more often than not, especially since the war with the Fire Nation made being an idle royal a bad idea. Even the demure Princess Yue joins with the Moon spirit to save it. About the only royal who truly didn't fit this was the Earth Kingdom king, who was kept in the dark due to an Evil Chancellor.
    • King Bumi is an excellent example of “royals who actually do something”. He’s a 112-year-old King who is one of the most powerful Earthbenders. Despite his age, he reclaims the city of Omashu from Fire Nation rule singlehandedly during the solar eclipse. He also joins the final battle to help reclaim Ba Sing Se.
    • The Legend of Korra: General Iroh, Zuko's grandson and the current Fire Lord's (Zuko's daughter) son. Also, he doesn't serve in the Fire Nation's army, but in the United Forces army with members from all the nations.
    • Zuko himself is traveling the world during this time as an ambassador for peace. He's in his eighties and it's not slowing him down at all.
  • In one episode of the animated adaptation of Babar, Babar and Rataxes switch roles and rule each other's kingdoms for a day. When he arrives at Babar's palace, Rataxes is aghast to find that Babar spends most of his time actually governing Celesteville.
  • Birdman episode "The Empress of Evil". The prince of the Maja Raja saves the day when he gives Birdman a diamond from his turban that he says came from the sun god, Ra.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood:
    • There's King Friday and Prince Wednesday. Prince Tuesday seems particularly fond of doing low-level work as a hobby (babysitter, waiter, grocery clerk, etc.).
    • "King Daniel for a Day" is about Daniel learning that being king is not simply about getting your way and bossing people around.
  • On Dave the Barbarian, the King and Queen of Udrogoth are currently off trying to defeat all evil in the entire world. (It's taking a while.) They've left their older daughter Candy in charge of running the kingdom and their oldest son Dave in charge of defending it, both with the help of their younger daughter Fang and Uncle Odwidge.
  • In DC Showcase: Green Arrow (a short that appeared on the Superman / Shazam DVD), when Green Arrow took an arrow in the leg from Merlyn while rescuing 10-year-old Princess Perdita of Vlatava from an assassination plot, the young princess, who had kept her head throughout the ordeal, applied a field bandage to Green Arrow's wound. She also encouraged Black Canary to accept Green Arrow's marriage proposal.
  • The Martian Queen in Duck Dodgers isn't a combatant, but man can she sing.
  • In Elena of Avalor, Elena considers it her duty to serve the people, and as shown in every episode, she means it. She's even invited by a neighboring king to teach his son how to be a proper royal.
  • From Futurama: I AM LRRR! Ruler of Omicron Persei 8! I have no problem leading an invasion on Earth, or eating a smelly hippie!
  • The Galaxy Trio. Gravity Girl is the princess of her home planet, but chooses to explore the galaxy as a superhero and leave the ruling to the rest of her family.
  • And then there are all the Royals Who Actually Do Something in Gargoyles. You have Princess Katherine, who actively protected the Gargoyle eggs from destruction, and shot Demona for attacking her clan. Then there is Macbeth, who has spent over nine hundred years becoming one of the greatest warriors alive, and then there was the fact that he was actively involved in battles to protect his wife and son. And then there is King Arthur, who once he is woken up by Elisa, hands Macbeth's ass to him on a platter and searches the world for his friend and mentor, Merlin.
    Princess Katherine: Nobody hurts my eggs!
  • On Goldie & Bear, after pulling the sword out of the stone and being crowned king, Bear soon learns that being king means he's supposed to make decisions that help everyone solve their problems. He soon ends up with two long lines: one of supplicants waiting for advice and one with folks unhappy with the decisions he's already made. Fortunately for him, it turns out that the stone with the sword in it was broken such that anyone could easily pull out the sword. He was never supposed to be king.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: Adora and Glimmer would both like their services in the name of the Rebellion noted.
    • Luckily for Eternia, the 2002 version of King Randor successfully redeems his family. In addition to his diplomatic prowess, he is a highly capable swordfighter and former captain of the royal guard.
      • Randor and Marlena were pretty badass in the original series, only they didn't get to show it off as much. Randor once went to town on a room full of Killer Robots to aid in his own rescue from Snake Mountain; He-Man was impressed and assured him that "Adam" would have been, too. Marlena was an astronaut and Ace Pilot in her backstory and once saved her family and friends by owning Skeletor and his forces in an aerial battle.
  • The 2017 reboot She-Ra and the Princesses of Power uses this as a major source of conflict. Glimmer is a bit of a Blood Knight who wants to get out and fight the Horde. Her mother, Angella, is far more passive, to the point of inaction. She has her reasons, the previous version of the Princess Alliance fell apart and her husband died in the war, but Glimmer resents her for doing basically nothing to combat the Horde. In season 4, Glimmer is forced into a far more passive role following her mother's death and her ascension to the throne due to being too important. She obviously hates this, and it causes a split with her friends when they insist that she stay behind. This, combined with her resentment of Adora for not preventing Angella's death and the influence of Shadow Weaver causes Glimmer to take several... inconsiderate steps, such as sending Adora as a distraction without her knowing and ordering Adora and Bow to stay behind rather than go rescue their lost friend. Once Adora and Bow disobey her direct orders, the split between them grows so large that Glimmer goes ahead with a plan almost everyone agreed would be too risky, due to her desire to end the war.
  • Hurricanes:
    • Prince Rupert of Mulravia is also a soccer player. His father was one as well.
    • Given the kind of power and influence the Garkos Family has over the Island of Garkos, Stavros Garkos, his brother Spiro Garkos and his sister Melinda Garkos are also examples of this trope. Stavros' niece, who expected to obtain a vice-presidency in Garkos Enterprises in exchange for helping him with one of his plots, might also qualify.
  • The Little King in the Van Beuren Studios theatrical cartoons, who often takes the initiative to do something in his own hands, including fighting his own assailant in "The Fatal Note".
  • The source films are vague on what kings do however The Lion Guard shows that it is more than just a title. Simba is shown advising over events and going to funerals.
  • Speaking of My Little Pony, Rosedust, the queen of the Flutter Ponies from the movie and the original cartoon, was the one to lead the charge when the Flutter Ponies took action. And she is not someone you'd want to mess with. The six princesses of Ponyland also went on a "save the world" quest. In the UK Comics, Majesty (the Queen of Ponyland, who never showed up in the cartoon) was very proactive on the "kicking evil's behind" thing. And her abilities could give Twilight Sparkle a run for her money.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic :
    • Princess Celestia is, among other things, responsible for raising the sun and moon. Her younger sister Princess Luna resumes responsibility for the moon once she is freed from being Nightmare Moon.
    • Another milder example in Celestia's case is that she notably took up tutoring and technically raising the show's asocial bookworm hero, Twilight Sparkle, for the remainder of her childhood, as well as Spike.
      • It is also worth note that she is consistently portrayed at having very little to no free time, as her official responsibilities often drag her away from things she'd rather be doing.
    • Then there's villainous Queen Chrysalis of the changelings, whose duties involve actively searching and providing food sources for her subjects. She also infiltrates Canterlot and leads the invasion on Equestria.
    • It happened in the backstory, but Princess Mi Amore Cadenza babysitting a young Twilight Sparkle probably wasn't a royal duty.
      • Her duties as the ruler of the Crystal Empire includes raising a massive barrier to protect it should some terrible evil threaten it, and keep that barrier going until said evil is vanquished, no matter how long it takes. Sleep? This princess sleeps when the job is done, not before.
    • During the royal wedding preparations, Luna spends the nights keeping watch over Canterlot. As in, patrolling the grounds and surveilling key points with a large telescope.
    • Princess Luna is also the protector of dreams. Meaning that she sneaks around inside ponies' dreams and vanquishes anything that could cause distress or fright.
    • In Inspiration Manifestation, the Princesses seem to be at Equestria's beck and call to solve big magical problems: Twilight gets called to rescue two ponies from the crystallized gazebo, and Princesses Cadence and Luna assist her in fixing Rarity's messes in Ponyville later on.
    • In Equestria Games, when the cloud falls, Celestia and Luna are seen entering the fray like all the pegasi. This picture proves it. Twilight (attending the games in a royal capacity, complete with crown) is also about to lend assistance, but Spike makes his move before she can act.
    • Deconstructed in Twilights Kingdom Part 1. Twilight spends most of the episode lamenting how she hasn't been given much to do as a princess other than "smile an wave" and unfurl a banner for some visiting dignitaries, and is especially distraught when Celestia tasks Discord over her with tracking down the escapee from Tartarus. Twilight is finally given a role at the end of the episode when the other princesses inform her that they must rid themselves of their magic to protect it from Tirek.
    • In Twilights Kingdom Part 2, after the Mane Six harness the Rainbow Power version of the Elements of Harmony, Twilight earns the title of "Princess of Friendship", with the role of spreading the Magic of Friendship across Equestria.
    • Twilight Sparkle almost counts as an inversion. Her elevation to the rank of Princess comes about as a direct result of her capabilities and achievements.
    • In the Season 5 finale, The Cutie Remark, Celestia is seen leading the Royal Guards and Wonderbolts into battle due to history being altered by Starlight Glimmer so the Mane Six were not there to defeat King Sombra instead. Sombra also fights on the front lines against Celestia's forces.
    • In the Season 6 premiere, The Crystalling, after Cadance and Shining Armor's new daughter unintentionally shatters the Crystal Heart with her crying, Celestia and Luna risk their own lives (and the future of Equestria if anything happens to them) to hold off the approaching blizzard for as long as they can. When they can do no more, they attempt to evacuate to avoid leaving Equestria leaderless and defenseless, but on the suggestion of one of Celestia's former students, they join their magic with Twilight's to restore the Crystal Heart, and succeed, saving the Crystal Empire, and their own lives in the process.
  • Another villainous example: Princess Ingrid from Pierre et Isa, a series about the Winter Olympic Games. Sure, she is a bad loser and an inveterate cheater, but that doesn't change the fact that she is an actual princess who is also an Olympic games level athlete!
  • In Princess Natasha, the royal family of Zoravia undertakes secret missions to keep the country safe.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • Jack himself is a prince, technically, but has lived in exile most of his life, due to Aku having destroyed his father's kingdom; he's devoted his life to defeating Aku and undoing the hellish future he's turned the world into.
    • His father was no slouch either; as seen in "Birth of Evil", he kicked Aku's ass good, and this guy was Emperor of Japan.
    • And there's Aku, the Shape-Shifting Master of Darkness who rules his future with an iron fist, and is seen demanding tribute from newly conquered peoples, usually in the form of regular commissions of new Aku-shaped structures, to remind all who runs things around here. Most metropolitan regions in the series feature Aku horns in the skyline.
    • Minor example in the episode "Jack and the Spartans", the Spartan King is not only king, but leads the Spartan army against the invading robot horde. His son would lead the Spartans directly against Aku during the Grand Finale.
    • In the Villain Episode "The Princess and the Bounty Hunters", there is Princess Mira, not just a princess but a Dark Action Girl and bounty hunter.
  • Shimmer and Shine: Princess Samira of Zahramay Falls is in charge of supervising the genies-in-training.
  • Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis of Terra Cyclonia is the teenaged empress of the Cyclonian Empire who spends most of her time planning the conquering of the kingdoms of Atmos, and on the occasions she's taken up her staff to lead at the front she shows she's just as good at fighting as her best soldiers.
  • In Tangled: The Series, the king and queen are shown doing their royal duties. In one special, they leave their daughter Rapunzel to take over while they're away on vacation for two days. Things don't go as planned and Rapunzel has to make many serious decisions.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Except for the time she deposed her villainous sister from the throne, Starfire doesn't actually do much for her own planet, which she is a princess of. She even gave away the crown to her Parental Substitute almost as soon as she got it. Not because she's lazy (probably), but because she's much too busy doing something on planet Earth. In the comics, it was because she was sold into slavery as part of the peace agreement and could never return to Tamaran (and the former part was, at the very least, heavily implied in this series), otherwise the deal would be off and her people would wind up destroyed. Not like it didn't happen anyway...
  • The title ThunderCats were members of the nobility who were expected to be competent warriors who could protect the people. Commoners who demonstrated exceptional bravery and skill in this regard could even be promoted to this rank, such as with the New ThunderCats, and it was implied that Cheetara came from a similar background. (One of the not-so-Darker and Edgier Wildstorm comics expanded on this.) Then there was the Lord of the ThunderCats, who not only wielded the Sword of Omens, but had to prove his mettle by besting each of the ThunderCats in their area of expertise and defeat his most evil foe in combat without the help of said sword. He wasn't allowed to use the Sword. He won by smashing Mumm-Ra's sarcophagus, turning him to dust. At the end of the episode, the casket pulled itself back together, and Mumm-Ra's voice gave this chilling line...
    Mumm-Ra: As long as evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives. Mumm-Ra lives. Mumm-Ra lives!!!!
  • The revived series plays the Cats' Proud Warrior Race angle for all that it's worth and then some; it's implied that the only reason that the generals are the ones to lead Thunderan expedition armies is because the King, being the strongest swordsman and best strategist, stays behind to safeguard his kingdom, personally leading counter-charges when appropriate. Lion-O was seen as a disappointment because he was interested in rediscovering the mythical technology and seeking peace (or at least minimized hostility) with the other races, rather than keeping them in line with an iron fist.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender has Princess Allura, she acts as the Big Good and Mission Control of the team. While she is not a pilot like the Paladins, she hardly stays sat down on her throne: she works with Coran to re-organize and re-build the castle and it's mechanisms, she works to start an intergalactic alliance against Garla, is a perfectly capable fighter capable of opening a steel door with her bare hands, and has enough power to bring an almost dead animal of the size of a small planet back to life. So, you have to add that to Pretty Princess Powerhouse, bordering Messianic Archetype sometimes.
  • In Winx Club we have Stella, the princess of Solaria, and Layla, the princess of Andros, both are powerful fairies in their own right. Bloom as well once realizing she's the lost princess of Domino. Roxy in season 4 once finding out that Queen Morgana is her long lost mother. Sky is the prince of Eraklyon, but is also a fighter. Shown prominently when he's armed with the Sword of Domino.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Queen Elyon thought life after her coronation would be all rest and relaxation, but after finding out she actually had to run the kingdom's affairs and deal with its problems, she began longing for the "princess" part of being queen. This all on top of her role as the Heart of Meridian, giving her powers equal to those of the main heroines combined.
  • Young Justice: The first thing Queen Perdita of Vlatava does after life-threatening heart surgery is tell her supervillain uncle she's revoking his title and diplomatic immunity. That is one tough kid.
    • Her uncle is a villainous example, actively working as the leader of the Injustice League and agent of the Light prior to his arrest. And speaking of which, two members of the Light are royal: Queen Bee and Ocean-Master/Prince Orm.

Alternative Title(s): Active Royalty, Noblesse Oblige


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