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Royals Who Actually Do Something

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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 

Besides combat, kings have also been directly responsible for a lot of the decision-making in running their societies, such as drafting laws, spending public money and negotiating with other political factions such as the clergy or the aristocracy. While Europe's monarchies are the most famous examples, monarchies have existed all over the world at different points in history, including the Americas, Africa and Asia.

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, Rank Scales with 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, as being a royal requires you to actually do something, so any Real Life examples are redundant.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Maximillian Acorn actively took part in the Great War against the Overlanders, and 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 safeguards 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.
      • Even though Scourge usurped the title of king from Moebius' Kingdom of Acorn, and he actively tries his absolute damndest to be an Orcus on His Throne, he's still more than combat-capable, going toe-to-toe with the Moebians who turned their backs on his tyranny, and that's not even considering all the Anarchy Beryls he stashed underneath the throne, allowing him to go Super.
    • 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.
    • The alternate universe of Light Mobius depicts an alternate future in which Sonic became the King. Neither his new duty nor his relative old age (being in his late 40s) take away his willingness leap into action or his ability to kick ass.
  • 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, the heir to the throne, being groomed 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.
  • Black Bolt, Medusa, and the rest of the Royal Family of The Inhumans.
  • Both Aquaman and Namor are kings of their respective versions of Atlantis (though the latter not always a hero).
  • 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, Nubia, 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). Nubia also became Wonder Woman during DC Future State and was crowned Queen of the Amazons in Infinite Frontier when her mother joined the Justice League. 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.
  • Superman:
    • 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: Princess Projectra, a longtime member of the team who after a long term absence leading her people as Queen, returned as Sensor Girl.
    • 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.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Star Wars: Invasion: The Galfridian royal family all take part in actively resisting the Vong in their own ways — King Dulac leads their homeworld's resistance after the Vong takeover, Nina and Kaye lead the refugee group in fighting the Vong offworld, and Finn is a Jedi trainee who mostly pursues his own missions in sabotaging Vong projects.
    • 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.

    Fairy Tales 

    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.
  • By the Sea: In merfolk culture, like the Mandalorians in Star Wars canon they're based on, the royal family fights in wars as front-line commanders alongside their soldiers, including the monarch themself. Shaak Ti, as crown princess of Shili and the Togruta people, is a high general of the army.
  • 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'.
  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War: Princesses Celestia and Luna use their magic to protect the entire Canterlot Castle.
  • 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.
  • Child of the Storm, which is set roughly two years after the Avengers:
    • Loki is Reformed, but Not Tamed and Asgard's spymaster, as well as one of its chief diplomats. In fact, he's pretty much Asgard's entire secret service, having been explicitly directed by Odin to make use of his talents in the defence of Asgard as The Man Behind the Man - he is no longer in Thor's shadow, he is Thor's shadow. 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, and taking up leadership roles when his father is unavailable, and acting as one of Asgard's chief emissaries.
    • 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.
    • In general, this is a royal Asgardian thing, as their primary role is to protect Yggdrasil and keep Surtur locked away.
    • King Arthur is described as having been this, back in the day, as well as being the Good King - and on such a scale that it's heavily implied that it's why Doctor Strange shows zero respect to pretty much any authority figure he encounters thereafter, as in his eyes, they simply don't measure up.
  • 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 Honor Harrington fic One More Time, several characters are like this. Michelle Henke, Countess Gold Peak (cousin of Manticore's Queen and in line for the throne), Honor herself, and the Elvanian royals cousins of Shannon, Eimear, and Orla Foraker. While being royals, these characters are all in at least one (in Honor's, Shannon's and Eimear's cases, two) Space Navy.
  • 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.
  • Rites of Ascension: The entire gamut of royals 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.
  • The Secret:
    • Thorin aspires to be The Good King and also investigates potential threats to his kingdom personally.
    • Thorin's sister Dis is very involved with the day-to-day tasks of running Erebor and even manages to organise an entire royal wedding with just three days' notice.
    • Emma continues running her wine business even after becoming Thorin's queen, though they have an agreement that she will hand over management to her brother Billy once he’s older.
  • The Tainted Grimoire: Baron Beltorey. 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 (Othellia), 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; he builds roads in the Crownlands and demolishes the Dragonpit to have a royal garden built, while creating knightly orders to enforce royal authority in unstable parts of Westeros and help him centralize the Iron Throne's power.
    • 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. When he comes of age, he starts leading from the front, and proves himself to be an excellent swordsman.
  • A Moon and World Apart: Princess Cadance has dedicated herself to countering the effects of those who would spread fear and hatred of others simply for their beliefs, and spreading an understanding of those persecuted instead, so as to undermine said "avengers"' mentality and reduce their influence; she also helps reconnect those who live further away with the rest of their nation.
  • Sixes and Sevens sees King Azzuri of Wakanda, who currently holds the mantle of Black Panther, lay waste to a HYDRA encampment trying to smuggle Vibranium and heart-shaped herb back to their base.
  • Shadows over Meridian:
    • Elyon refuses to sit back and do nothing during the Shadowkhan attack on her castle, leading the defenses personally.
    • Jade, as Queen of the Shadowkhan, leads from the front.
    • Jade tells Phobos to invoke this trope by actively taking part in helping people against the rebels' misconduct so that his PR can improve.
  • Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse: Arashi Sukumvit is also the hereditary lord of Sukumvit Island, a prosperous port in Paradise. While his family has traditionally hunted pirates for sport, Arashi decided to officially join the World Government and personally joined the Marines where he earned the rank of Commodore due to his strength.

    Films — 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 Gahoole. 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.
    • Ariel and Eric's daughter Melody takes on Ursula's sister in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, kicking her tentacled butt. Before that, Melody's shown just beginning to be taught duties like having to show up and be gracious at royal gatherings.
    • 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:
    • Elinor is shown in the opening meal scene receiving letters of many sorts, thus implying she is the one handling matters of state. 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.
    • 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.
    • Merida prefers spending her days doing in archery and riding through the forests than sit through her mother's princess lessons or be a royal wife to one of the other clan leaders' sons.
  • 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 the sequel, his daughter follows in his paw-steps, putting herself between Simba and Scar’s devotee Zira as the divided pride is coming to blows. Everyone but Zira listens to her and the pride re-unites.
  • In Moana the Waialiki ruling family is a chiefdom, so their duties are mostly to go and fight — especially Moana.
  • Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams:
    • The Sleeping Beauty portion 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 in the hopes that in doing so he will prove himself a true hero and be allowed to return to Olympus.
  • Princess Uni-Kitty from The LEGO Movie is a Master Builder who has quite the temper if her friends get hurt.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas:
    • Jack the Pumpkin King, who does a good job of running the town, and doesn't hesitate to put things right once he realizes the chaos he's caused.
    • Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the respective leaders of Christmas Town and Easter Town do the primary work of delivering the relevant treats on their holidays.
  • Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken: As revealed in the second trailer, main character Ruby is a princess in a long line of kraken royals sworn to do battle with evil mermaids.
  • 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.
  • A Bug's Life: Once Flik has the idea to get rid of Hopper, Atta is all the way on board. And after that, she finally stands up to Hopper.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Similar to his comic book role, T'Challa's in Black Panther (2018) was already a Wakandan prince and the Black Panther to his father King T'Chaka, then becomes the King when T'Chaka is killed.
    • Wakandan Princess and Teen Genius Shuri is head of the nation's science department and designer of many of Wakanda's technology utilizing vibranium. She's also shown to be a Warrior Princess taking part in the battlefield and going head-to-head against Killmonger.
    • Nakia is in line to become leader of the River Tribe, but meanwhile is an undercover Wakandan spy in which she travels the world to report back current events while also utilizing her position to help the needy in other nations, such as infiltrating a trafficking ring. As such, T'Challa later makes her head of Wakanda's outreach program.
    • M'Baku, leader of the Jabari Tribe, is always seen in battle alongside his tribal warriors.
  • 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.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, will jump in the heat of battle just like the other Amazons. And boy is she graceful and badass at it. Best seen in Wonder Woman and Zack Snyder's Justice League.
    • In Aquaman, 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.
  • 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.
  • Flash Gordon is full of royalty who take matters into their own hands. Prince Barin (played by Timothy Dalton) leads a guerilla army of rebels, engages the eponymous hero in mortal combat, and single-handedly storms Ming's Palace to shut down the lightning field, and then Prince Baltan (Brian Blessed) storms the palace at the spearhead of his army of Hawkmen. Emperor Ming (Max von Sydow) is himself a villainous example — he gets his hands dirty having conquered the galaxy, dispatching worthless underlings and occasionally manning his own Death Ray.
  • In 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!
  • In King Ralph, Ralph is expected to play an active role in foreign policy and trade negotiations.
  • Played for Drama in The King's Choice. As constitutional monarch, Haakon isn't supposed to do anything he isn't told to do by the parliament. However, the rapid onset of the war and Hitler's insistence that German diplomats should only negotiate with the king meant he was forced to make decisions on behalf of the parliament. The most climactic of these are when Nygaardsvol requests that his parliament be allowed to resign in the face of Nazi aggression, which Haakon refuses (this system of the king appointing the parliament was in place until 2016, but always considered a formality. If any other king attempted this at any other time, it would've likely led to upheaval) and when he refuses to surrender Norway to Hitler.
  • 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.
  • In Maleficent, King Henry leads his army against the Moors personally.
  • MonsterVerse: Justified. Practically all of the Alpha Titans have a Red Baron calling them a King/Queen (King of the Monsters, Queen of the Monsters, King of the Primates, etc.), and they at times have to fight other Titans to maintain their positions of dominance due to the creatures' Asskicking Leads to Leadership.
  • 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.
  • The Princess: The princess does not sit around waiting to be rescued demurely. Instead, using her skill in combat she takes on Julius and his soldiers. Julius himself is a match for her, albeit only after she has already fought her way through a significant fraction of his entire army.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 was a famed warrior and killed equally-famed warrior Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in battle during his rebellion to seize the throne. However, falling into self-pity after the death of his betrothed Lyanna Stark whose rescue had been his chief motivation, and having no real desire to rule, 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 to this trope by late in his reign.
    • Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters rode their dragons into battle when conquering Westeros, as their descendant Daenerys Targaryen does in the Battle for Meereen.
    • Jon Snow 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 Baratheon retreating to the Red Keep during the Battle of the Blackwater, and his mother 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. Suspisciously however, this vigorousness does not extend to actual combat. Tywin may be seen among the Lannister troops at his camp or riding to Cersei's rescue once the battle of Blackwater is effectively won, yet he is never seen actively engaging in combat or leading his army from the front into battle, or visibly putting his own life at risk in any other way.
    • 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" (as the ironmen put it) 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.
  • Kingdom (2019): Since nobody within the government bothers to eradicate the zombie plague either out of sheer incompetence or due to The Conspiracy, only Prince Chang remains to defend his people from the plague and the more oppressive members of the royal family.
  • The whole idea behind the cancelled show Kings. Even though King Silas's rule is marred by corporate politics and the whim of the general crowd, he still has almost-absolute power.
  • The Legend of Xiao Chuo: Most of the royals, both good and bad. On the good side there's Yan Yan, who personally shoots Yansage. On the bad side there's Yelü Jing, who murders his servants, and Yansage, who attempts to kill a baby and overthrow Xian.
  • 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:
    • The show 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.
  • The Other Kingdom gives us Princess Astral, who's the princess of Athenia that already shows how loyal, bold and brave she is, as she's not afraid to take a stand or call out whether somebody does something unjust, or try to talk somebody out of placing her homeland in danger or destroying it — even by harmless, non-hostile methods — all worthy qualities fit for a true ruler. When Athenia's in danger of being destroyed by Mr. Quince, rather than just returning to Athenia and leaving her parents to fend the threat, she stays in the human world and takes matters into her own hands. Also, the penultimate Season 1 episode has Astral gather a group of people (via creating a trendy cat video with a message to save Evermoor Woods on the Internet, but still) who would rally on the day of the planned destruction and rebel against the woods' destruction, and Astral would personally encourage the crowd to form a chain that would block the bulldozer meant to tear the main tree down.
    • Her father King Oberon VIII is no slouch either as he actually takes an active role in planning to evacuate the inhabitants so they wouldn't be harmed from the potential destruction of his homeland, and even sends a group of fairies to cause a diversion.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Princess Agents: Among other royals we have Yan Xun, who plans revenge against his family's murderers; Xiao Yu, the best spy in Liang; and the Emperor of Western Wei, who sets part of the plot in motion by killing Yan Xun's family.
  • 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]]

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh: 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 Bible:
    • For better or for worse the rulers are involved in the lives of their citizens. Mostly the earlier kings like Saul, David, and Solomon.
    • Moses, who'd been raised as an Egyptian prince. Unusually, Moses really doesn't want to do something and tries to persuade God to send someone else instead.
  • Chinese Mythology: 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... all of them were royals.
  • The Shahnameh has lots of real heroic kings in it along with the mythological ones.

  • 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.
  • WWE used to hold an annual tournament called King of the Ring, wherein the 8 competitors (16, in later years) would have to face each other in a knock-out competition, wrestling 3 or 4 times in one night, to win the prize and be crowned 'king'. Although the title was symbolic rather than holding any particular value, in Kayfabe its a herculean task to accomplish and plenty of wrestlers over the years have played it up and acted like true royalty after earning their win, demanding obedience and respect from their 'subjects'. The tournament still takes place, but occurs less frequently.

  • 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.
  • Fire Emblem On Forums: Very prevalent among player and non-player characters alike, like the games these roleplays were based on. The number of games that do not feature royalty (and thus royals that fit this trope) can be counted on one hand.

    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 Guy 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.
    • Zizagged by the Clans. Their society runs on Asskicking Leads to Leadership and doesn't have 'royals', only 'whoever can kick the most ass at 'mech combat and politics'. However, trueborns who achieve a Bloodname are the only ones allowed to get into the political part, while freebirths (people born the old-fashioned way) can theoretically test out as warriors, but will never run the Clan themselves.
    • Unlike other Inner Sphere states, the Capellan Confederation doesn't specifically require its Chancellors to serve in the military. The current Chancellor, Daoshen Liao, is an exception in that he was a Frontline General who often led his troops in battle in his Yu Huang Mech, whose name translates to "Jade Emperor."note  His daughter Danai Liao-Centrella, the result of Brother–Sister Incest and his heir apparent, has also repeatedly proven herself as a Mechwarrior.
  • As the CEO of the Crown Estate (Britain's dominant Mega-Corp), King Charles IV is pretty much absolute ruler of the UK in the cyberpunk future of Carbon 2185.
  • 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 Rank Scales with Asskicking and/or Asskicking Leads to Leadership 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.
    • In the early editions of the game, acheving fame as an adventurer was often a step to gaining a noble title and/or creating a new territory. You could potentially even create an entirely new state and declare yourself its ruler. Gary Gygax also suggested that some adventurers might be aristocrats who won't inherit much wealth and turn to adventuring to earn their own fortunes.
    • Greyhawk sourcebooks list the levels and classes of the rulers of every part of the Flanaess. Almost all of these rulers are at least 11th or 12th level, and often higher.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • Mikel Fandango, the leader of masonmages and king of Quillotia (one of the larger islands in the Archipelago), takes an active part in both defending and rebuilding his castle, walks one of the heroes to the infirmary afterwards, gently coaxing him out of a Heroic BSoD, and has a hand in organising The Cavalry for the Grand Finale.
    • The royal family of Majestan, as we can see firsthand in the sequel, which is set there, is responsible for maintaining an extensive dream world and well-being of dreamers throughout the Eastern Continent.
  • 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 (Dave Kellett): 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 Drowtales 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.
    • After Agatha officially claims her heritage, Zeetha finds her working on a large mech. Zeetha scolds Agatha, telling her she had people under her to do that now, and that Agatha needs to get up to some proper princessing. Then Zeetha hands Agatha a battle ax and hauls Agatha off to locate some armor.
    • In Zeetha's homeland, the queen is foremost among warriors — but also needs to know when to delegate.
  • 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.)
  • Hooky: Half the cast:
    • Princess Monica runs away from home to rescue her fiancé, prince William, who was abducted by witches after reading too many romance novels. Then she learns a bit of magic and discovers a plot of a family of witches to take revenge on the normal people. After the time skip she orchestrates a plan to break the rule of witches that usurped the country and bring peace between witches and normal people again.
    • Princess Aisha, who, after her country was attacked by a dragon, sets out with bow and arrows, sword and shield, and nearly slays the dragon by herself before she is interrupted.
    • The King/Queen of Witches themself, Damien who turns the former king and queen into frogs, protects Monica and her friends from getting found by the other witches, and later frees a political prisoner and leaves the country to rescue prince William. Obviously, neither ruling nor being the monarch was really what he wanted.
  • Last Res0rt has Princess Adharia Kuvoe, one of the four Executioners on the Deadly Game Reality Show. She tends to oscillate between being crazy and being a 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!
  • 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.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Since taking lordship from his uncle, Hinjo has been a decidedly hands-on monarch, even personally battling hobgoblins on the walls of the city and charging their clerical leader, Redcloak. Later, he's seen personally leading attacks on monsters as his people seek a new place to live.
    • Also said uncle, Lord Shojo, 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 more advantage of it by bringing the Order in to do a job he wasn't legally allowed to do, for the good of his nation, including using 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 leave of the throne room. 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.
  • Realmwalker has Thor, Odin, King Flintlock, Hela, Frey and Freya and Trollabundine all playing active roles.
  • 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.
  • Silenziosa: Both Princess Alissabetta and her parents are firm believers in this. Alas, they have very different ideas of what that something should be: the former wishes to make dresses, the latter that she become royal assassin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Active Royalty, Noblesse Oblige