Follow TV Tropes


The Evil Prince

Go To

"A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair."

Aristocrats Are Evil. Ambition Is Evil too. So what could be worse than ambitious royalty?

Evil Prince Bob knows he's the stuff of which great kings are made. Unfortunately, while he is in line for the throne, there are a lot of lesser men in front of him. If only Prince Bob could... persuade them to get out of the way, then nothing would stand between him and the glorious reign he knows he is destined to have.

Usually the Evil Prince is not high in the line of succession and his scheming arises from the fact that he won't inherit under current circumstances. But sometimes he is the eldest son and heir and his only reason for giving his father a push into immortality is that he's too impatient to wait.

A common subtrope is to have the Evil Prince as the younger brother to the king, who tends to be his polar opposite. This usually means the king is too good-hearted to see his brother's true nature, with bad results for the children of the king once he is gone (since Evil Princes tend to make Evil Uncles).

Traditionally, there wasn't a lot of Evil Princesses (though they are slightly more common in modern media as a subversion of the Princess Classic trope). One explanation is that, perhaps because of the very strong influence of fairy tale (and Disney) heroines, princesses are generally seen as good characters. Another explanation is that royal daughters are usually not in the line of succession and have nothing to gain by disposing of their rivals. However, since in fiction queens can be evil, the odd evil princess often turns out to be a total tyrant if she's ever successful in taking the throne for herself. (Note, however, that most evil queens tend to be kings' consorts and not princesses inheriting the throne.)

In the event that there is an Evil Princess, her goals are often very different than the aspirations of usurpation shared by her Spear Counterpart (she is likelier to be treated as a twist villain because of the overtired Damsel in Distress trope). An Evil Princess who takes power typically wants to prove that she's More Deadly Than the Male and wishes to subjugate all the men around her, especially her male relatives if they had previously dismissed her as "just a woman". (If she hasn't already killed them as part of her coup, that is.)

This trope is rooted in an underlying belief that certain persons are or are not meant to rule, particularly when the monarch is understood to hold the throne by the will of some higher power. King Bob, by circumventing the rightful sequence of succession, is an illegitimate ruler—he wasn't meant to have the throne—and thus he and his rule will be bad. The irony is that legitimate rulers are not automatically good: the firstborn son may be a Royal Brat; the King who believes he is descended from the gods may become a tyrant. On the other hand, the law of succession may be a better system for determining the ruler than combat and/or murder as a man who would literally kill for the throne is unlikely to rule with kindness.

This is at least Older Than Print, stretching back to Mordred and seen as recently as Stardust.

See also Patricide, Aristocrats Are Evil, The Baroness, Evil Uncle, and Evil Chancellor. If an Evil Prince already has the throne and is trying to keep the rightful heirs off of it, see Regent for Life. Regardless of how thorough they are in killing off rivals, there's usually a Hidden Backup Prince with better credentials.

Contrast with Spare to the Throne (someone in the line of succession whose characterization is being unprepared to rule rather than being murderously ambitious), Sheltered Aristocrat, The Wise Prince, and Knight in Shining Armor.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next steps down are The Good Chancellor, Evil Chancellor, Standard Royal Court, and Decadent Court. The next steps up are The Caligula, The Good King, God Save Us from the Queen!, The High Queen, and She Is the King.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ruu-Kain from Blue Comet SPT Layzner, son of Big Bad Admiral Gresco and leader of the Gradosian army and the Big Bad of the second part.
  • Almost everyone in The Bride of Adarshan assumes main character Alexid to be one of these. He's called the "Black Demon" for his apparent savagery in battle, he consistently wears dark clothing, and his mother was a commoner. Even his mentor, who raised him, believed Alexid harbored resentment towards his older brother the king and harbored ambitions to take the throne. This culminated in his mentor trying to kill him. The truth is the complete opposite. Alexid truly loves his brother and is actually terrified by the prospect of taking over the throne since he doesn't have the same knack for ruling a country.
  • Most of the princes in Code Geass are manipulative mass murderers raised by the Holy Britannian Empire's Darwinistic ideals to scheme and fight against each other for the throne.
    • Clovis la Britannia gleefully slaughters a Japanese district just to find his science experiment. His feeble excuse was that some of them may have killed his family, and he responded by killing hundreds more.
    • Schneizel el Britannia is a textbook sociopath who treats the world as one big video game to munchkin his way through. He goes as far as to nuke his own country's capital city, and planned to nuke every developed country 'at war' so they would all bow to him.
    • Lelouch vi Britannia himself, as an Anti-Hero, uses brainwashing and engineered disasters to slaughter hundreds of thousands of soldiers at once to achieve victories. Eventually, he assassinates his parents as vengeance for abandoning him and his sister to die (and for trying to create a stagnant existence where humanity is merged as one single conscience by killing God), takes the throne with brainwashing, and runs a massive Zero-Approval Gambit to save the world by giving it the evil overlord it so desperately craved to vanquish.
    • In fact, the only exception is Crown Prince Odysseus eu Britannia, who is so mellowed out and honest that nobody takes him seriously and everyone expects him to be immediately passed over despite being the oldest, which is pretty much what happens.
  • Cross Ange: Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi's younger brother, Julio Asuka Misurugi, is shown to have plotted to usurp and dethrone his siblings even before Ange was revealed to be a Norma. At the midpoint of the series, he leads a genocidal purge on the Paramail Companies of Arzenal - the army that unwillingly risked their lives to protect the world by piloting Norma-only mechas to kill DRAGONs - just so he can kill off Ange for good.
  • The Five Star Stories has FEMC GL IIII Amaterasu dis Greens OOE Ikaruga, better known as Sarion. While he's a pretty minor character, he still fits this trope like a glove. Ax-Crazy? Check. Made himself an orphan just For the Evulz? Check. Gleefully permitted his underlings to rape and pillage their own nation during his rebellion? Check. Rebelled after his royal cousin the protagonist commuted his death sentence (due to aforementioned orphaning) to life imprisonment because a lowly fatima was made a princess and placed higher than him in a succession? A tick mark the size of a Float Temple.
    • And for the kicker he's still one of AKD's premiere knights, commanding a sizable detachment of the Royal Guard, First Easter Mirage Corps Green Left Wing, consisting of heroic sociopaths just like him. In fact, his current princely title was given him after that story with the rebellion. He's just that useful.
  • Crown Prince Sincline from Golion, whom himself is a half-breed spawn of a human and whatever creature Daibazaal is.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam has Prince Gihren Zabi, who acts as the Evil Chancellor and The Starscream to his father, Sovereign Degwin Sodo Zabi. Cutting his father off from all genuine power, Gihren takes the reins of the state, before finally annihilating Degwin with a Wave Motion Gun when the latter hopes to make peace with The Federation.
    • Gihren's sister Kycilia is one of the rare Evil Princesses in fiction. A ruthless military commander who acts as The Starscream to Gihren, Kycilia and her brother go back and forth on the coup d'etat attempts before she finally blows him away in revenge for her father.
  • Tsukuyomi from Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga refuses to allow Amaterasu to awaken because her current incarnation, his sister, would quash his pollution-and-repression-happy regime in an instant. Actually, she'd do a lot more than that.
  • One Piece has a few:
    • Wapol, a spoiled gluttonous, tin-plated asshole who was so bad even his father, king of Drum Kingdom, was concerned about him. Unfortunately, he kicked the bucket and Wapol took over and was a terrible ass king. Luckily, Luffy literally blasted him out of his kingdom.
    • 3/4 of the royal sons of the Vinsmoke Family fit this trope nicely as Prince Ichji, Prince Niji, and Prince Yonji are huge murderous, lustful douchebags who brutally bash their decent brother Sanji for caring for people lower in status, something royalty should not do. While they have no intention to kill off their equally asshole father King Judge, they still have no issue butchering an island full of soldiers just to end a war and even ordering their henchman to play Human Shield for them. Ironically the only decent prince in the family is the one who refuses his royal status, Sanji, who is both Warrior Prince and Wise Prince. When Sanji returns to his kingdom after 13 years of training, he shows a different attitude towards his brothers. When his younger bro Yonji tries ripping into him like he used to, he gets a very different response but Sanji still fears his older brothers and is forced to act like an evil prince so they don't kill everyone close to him.
      • Vinsmoke Princess Reiju is a subversion as she acts heartless and cruel in front of her family but it turns out it's all an act and she really is a loving person, patching up her little brother Sanji everything her brothers beat him up, making her a Cool Big Sis.
  • Xanxus of Reborn! (2004). Subverted because he's adopted so he couldn't be the next boss of the Vongola after all. And also Belphegor. His brother Rasiel is supposed to be the next king. Belphegor killed him because of this. In the Future Arc Rasiel shows up alive and reveals that he is just as evil, that he was also planning to assassinate Belphegor and that they tried their plans on the same day.
  • Ukyo from Samurai 7 kills the emperor, who he is a clone of in order to inherit the throne sooner, although it's implied he is the last remaining clone of the Emperor (who is hooked up to a life support system), so he probably wouldn't have had to wait that long. He also caused his adoptive father's demotion in order to take his place. He did find some other heirs/clones and made them act as Body Doubles. He was the only "heir" to ever be publicly acknowledged as heir instead of being executed as unsuitable.
  • While Touka Bergatt from Snow White with the Red Hair is an earl's son rather than a prince, he otherwise fits this perfectly with his plans increase the Bergatt house's power and lands and make a puppet of the royal family's representative in the north. There's also the fact that he murdered his father to take over as head of the house.
  • Believed to be the case in-universe in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. The Valerians fear that their (supposedly) evil twin princes Fai and Yuui will usurp the throne someday and this is implied to be part of the reason that said twins are "punished" as horribly as they are.
  • Rare Female Example: Joei from The Twelve Kingdoms, younger sister to the deceased Queen Joukaku and aspirant to the Kei throne, who tries to usurp it from the rightful heir Youko.
  • Dilandau sits on a throne in a scene or two in The Vision of Escaflowne, but he is not actually a prince. He is a noble, being Allen's sister Selena and all, but he doesn't know that.
  • Voltes V: Prince Heinel of Boazan seeks to invade Earth. He doesn't bat an eye at murdering humans and enslaving them as long as it's for Boazanian honour. He is willing to kill billions in his crusade for world domination, and once the humans he associates with outlive their usefulness to him, he has them killed as well. He views humans as primitive beings, and enjoys manipulating them for his own goals. Heinel is notably more merciful to those under him that are of Boazanian blood, but he still has Jangal imprisoned for failing to defeat Voltes V. The scary thing is that he's a competent warrior on top of that, all at a young age.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman's half-brother Orm (alias Ocean Master), who is constantly out to usurp his place as King of Atlantis.
  • It's explained in his Back Story that Darkseid was second in line for the throne of Apokolips behind his older brother. With help from Desaad, he killed his older brother and usurped both the Omega Force and the role of crown prince.
  • Mickey Mouse and the World to Come has Nikolai of Illustania, who took charge of the kingdom when his father became old and ill and decided to ruin the pristine landscape with industry as well as assist international criminal the Rhyming Man in a scheme to change the face of the globe.
  • The Fantastic Four found out to their horror that Prince Zorba, the hereditary ruler of Latveria they restored to the throne after deposing Doctor Doom, was this when Von Doom showed them the tyrannical devastation he was inflicting on the country. In cooperation with Doom, the Four helped depose Zorba but were forced to leave Doom in power.
  • Loki is prince by adoption of Asgard and technically prince by birth of the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. He has enough clout with the Frost Giants to at least use them as Mooks from time to time and regularly schemes to overthrow his adopted father Odin, take over Asgard and kill his foster brother The Mighty Thor somewhere along the way.
  • Lord Nomed from Action Comics #301, the Evil Nephew of Prince Endor of the Sorcerers Planet of Zerox. He tries to depose his uncle by feeding Pegasus a potion that will prevent him from flying the day of a procession, meaning Endor will lose the throne. When Supergirl foils the plan by bringing the flying horse Comet to Zerox, Nomed tries to feed Supergirl a potion that will turn her to gold. However, Comet fires an arrow that knocks the potion onto Nomed, turning him to gold.
  • Bron from Scion began this way before killing his father and becoming king himself.
  • According to two 1940s comic stories, Queen Grimhilde had one of these for a brother.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs spin-off comics sometimes pitted the Seven Dwarfs against "The Wicked Prince", Queen Grimhilde's younger brother.
  • Tyrannus from Swordquest, who succeeds his father as king after the latter's suspicious death. One of Tyrannus' first acts was to order the deaths of two infants because he received a prophecy that they would be responsible for his death.
  • In Teen Titans, Blackfire is first in line to inherit the position as Queen, but the fact that she was born without the superpowers that are common on her planet make her seem weak, so her younger sister Starfire becomes first in line. This does not sit well with Blackfire, who then sells her into slavery to get rid of her.
  • Likewise Marvel's Thanos, who is an Expy of Darkseid, was the eldest son to the planet Titan's leader and was banished for his crimes. Years later he would return to devastate Titan and rule it with an iron fist until he was defeated by Earth's heroes during his first encounter with the cosmic cube.
  • Wonder Woman: Dr. Poison I is an evil princess. She is a member of the Japanese royal family who experiments on soldiers and civilians alike with toxins and diseases. These days she's often used as a stand-in/ Distaff Counterpart for Real Life Japanese war criminal Ishii Shiro, who experimented on Chinese civilians with biological and chemical agents.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): When King Francois of Barania dies his brother Prince Gaston has Francois' son and heir Philippe locked away, telling the people that Philippe's mind is cracking due to the grief and stress, with the end goal of murdering Philippe in captivity and Gaston taking the crown.
  • Like Loki, Vulcan from the X-Men books is a common-born brought into a royal family. Instead of being adopted, as Loki was, Vulcan exploits a loophole on Shi'ar law to marry into the Shi'ar royal family through marriage to Deathbird, the emperor's older sister. He wastes no time in wasting his new brother-in-law and taking his crown. Deathbird herself (who had murdered her father many years earlier, and been exiled for it) and her brother D'Ken (an Omnicidal Maniac) prior to his ascension to the throne were also examples; their younger sister Lilandra was apparently the only non-evil member of the royal family.

  • British comedians love to make jokes about Prince Charles being one of these and frequently trying to assassinate the Queen.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Dragonheart: Prince Einon grows up to be an evil tyrant. It pains his mentor, Bowen, but he must finally accept, that despite his teachings, the kid was always a rotten little punk.
  • Gladiator: Commodus, though he had something of an excuse. His father, rather than passing on emperorship to him, as had become commonplace note , was going to give it to Maximus, who in turn was going to use it to put power back into the hands of the Senate and restore the Republic.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army: Prince Nuada. He has the sympathetic aspect of fighting for his realm's survival, but his tactics are so extreme that everybody argues against him.
  • The Illusionist (2006): Prince Leopold, who is based on Prince Rudolph of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Prince Rudolph committed a murder-suicide in his hunting lodge; his body was found with a number of bullets in it, indicating that there was a palace cover-up and that The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much. Given that, after his death, Franz Ferdinand became heir, things might have turned out better had Rudolph gained the throne.
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets: Louis Mazzini, (eventually) Duke of Chalfont, the cheerfully amoral "hero".
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: Vortigern desperately wants to be king, but he is second-born and his older brother Uther, already has a son, Arthur, who will be king upon Uther's death. So Vortigern murders Uther, Uther's wife, and believes he murdered Arthur.
  • The Madness of King George portrays George III's son, the Prince of Wales, in this manner. Whether or not it's Truth in Television is debatable.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: Subverted. Loki shows all signs of being the evil prince, who wants his brother and father out of the way so that he can have the throne, except for one thing: he doesn't want the throne. He never intended for Thor to be banished to Earth or for Odin to fall into the Odinsleep, but they did and the throne just dropped into his hands.
      Loki: I never wanted the throne! I only ever wanted to be your equal!
    • Thor: The Dark World plays this straight, as Loki casts a magic spell clouding Odin’s memories and exiles him on Earth, then impersonates him in order to usurp the throne.
    • Black Panther: Erik Stevens (aka "Killmonger"), son of the prince of Wakanda in 1992. First cousin to the reigning Wakandan king, T'Challa, and his sister Shuri. While he has a legitimate claim to the throne, he would technically be behind both T'Challa and his sister (since they are direct descendants of the actual king while he is merely the son of the prince) but trial by combat allows him to jump the line.
  • The Mummy (2017): Ahmanet was an Evil Princess in her mortal life, striking dark bargains with the evil god Set for power and murdering her newborn baby brother to ensure no male heir could displace her as successor to the pharaoh.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Prince Nizam, although he's never called by this title since the audience could confuse him with the good guy.
  • The Princess: Julius is a ruthless foreign prince who sneers at the king's ruling with compassion, seizing control over his kingdom. Then he attempts to force the princess into marrying him to legitimize this.
  • The Princess Bride: Prince Humperdink, although he doesn't fit the trope entirely straight. He has no intention, either in the film or the book, of killing his father or doing anything else to get him out of the way. (In fact, in the book he's shown to be quite disillusioned to learn that his father is dying because it means he has to get married and actually deal with the matters of ruling; he'd rather spend his time hunting.) He only actually falls into the Evil Prince slot when he comes up with the plan to kill his wife and frame a rival kingdom for it, giving him the excuse he's always wanted to conquer them.
  • RoboCop (1987) makes a modern-day Evil Prince out of the Corrupt Corporate Executive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Prince Edmund, from the first series of Blackadder, tries very hard to be one but fails because he's so pathetically spineless. Prince Ludwig the Indestructible from the second series is also fairly comic, being a master of disguise with a silly accent and a long list of psychological problems. Oddly enough, he's a successful example. Arguably, the Blackadder of the third series would also count in so far as he ends up taking the place of George IV and presumably living out the rest of his life under that identity.
  • Carry On Laughing!: He's not a prince, but Duke Boris from "The Prisoner of Spenda" bears all the hallmarks of one, wishing to usurp the throne of Pluritania from the Crown Prince.
  • Deus Salve O Rei: Princess Catarina is another Rare Female Example since she serves as the series' Big Bad from the very start, not content with just being the heir of the Kingdom of Artena but also wanting to extend control over its neighborhood, the Kingdom of Montemor. A very Machiavellian individual, over the course of the series she loses whatever positive traits she had from the beginning.
  • Game of Thrones: Joffrey actually subverts this trope. Yes, he's a Royal Brat and an evil king but he legitimately has nothing to do with his predecessor's death. His sole sympathetic moment is his distraught moment at the deathbed of the man he considers his father. His conniving mother actually orchestrated the king's death so she could put her son on the throne.
  • House of the Dragon: Daemon Targaryen also proves to be a subversion. While it's clear in his Establishing Character Moment that he covets the throne that his older brother Viserys sits on, deep down he does desire his brother's approval in spite of their Sibling Rivalry and balks at the idea of harming a member of his own family. Rather than being an Evil Uncle to Rhaenyra, who Viserys names his successor over Daemon, he marries Rhaenyra and is very sad when Viserys dies.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost puts a twist on this with siblings. The youngest brother, Alain, subverts this as despite his vile behavior, he genuinely loves his family. His older brother Adel, on the other hand, has this in spades as he killed their father, framed Alain for that, and tried to conquer the world.
  • Lanny from Pair of Kings; presumably a prince, because he was to have been king before Boomer and Brady came along.
  • Princess Eleanor of the short-lived British drama The Palace is an ultra-rare female example. Within the (fictional, and unnamed) British royal family depicted on the show, she is the older sister of the new King, Richard IV. She doesn't stoop to violence, but she clearly has no qualms about forcing her brother to abdicate through scandal and political crisis.
  • An episode of Space: 1999 had aliens kidnap Maya to extract her brain cells for their leader's bid for immortality. The prince was less than pleased about this, so he helped foil the king's plan before trying to become immortal himself.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Subverted in an episode where Atlantis visits a royal family who possesses the gene required to operate Ancient technology necessary to protect their planet from the Wraith. The king's son is a snobbish aristocrat who is clearly plotting to overthrow his increasingly fragile father and lock up his sister in the process. The subversion comes when it turns out that it was the (apparently well-intentioned) Evil Chancellor who was the real brains behind the plot and locks up the ambitious prince when he has no more use for him.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Prince Nana, an Ashanti Prince who claims to rule with an iron fist and takes tax money from Ghana in order to fund his machination in Ring of Honor. However, this stream of revenue was cutoff in 2008.
  • Prince Kanu of Arochukwu Nigeria, who is often trying to make wrestlers of the Southwest US into his "property" by goading or blackmailing them into signing ridiculous contracts.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Being a classic Feudal Future setting, BattleTech naturally has its share of examples. The most obvious one in recent times would be another evil princess — Katherine Steiner-Davion, who first arranged for the assassination of her mother after her father had already died of a heart attack and then manipulated her way into taking over her parents' former entire realm while her elder brother was busy trying to deal with the Clan threat.
    • In the Dark Age Caleb Hasek-Sandoval-Davion, killed his father the First Prince Harrison Davion when he said he wouldn't be the heir of the throne, and immediately takes the title of First Prince of the Federated Suns. It doesn't help that he is also a violent schizophrenic.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Levistus isn't really a prince, but he calls himself one.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has Horus, most favored son of the Emperor, leading half of the forces of Imperium in a war against the Emperor. Also the one responsible for plunging humanity into a galaxy-wide dark age run by an extreme Church Militant.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • Sigvald the Magnificent was the pampered son of a Norscan chieftain and his sister, who eventually murdered his father (who disapproved of his cannibalism) and headed off into the Chaos Wastes. He eventually became the Champion of Slaanesh hirself, a Fighting Narcissist who declares wars on towns because he didn't like the wine there. The fanbase refers to him as "Joffrey all grown up" with good reason.
    • Wulfrik has Sveinbjorn (a cowardly, hedonistic little turd, despite being prince of a Khorne-aligned tribe who arranges for his father's murder) and Viglundr (who is a king, but the narration says he murdered his brothers then his father to take the throne).

  • In Carlo Gozzi's version of The Love of Three Oranges, and even more so in Sergei Prokofiev's opera based on the play, there is Princess Clarice. She is the current heir Tartaglia's cousin and plots to murder him and become queen herself. Additionally, she acts as Lady Macbeth towards her lover Leandro, the prime minister, since she wants Prince Tartaglia killed quickly while Leandro prefers gradually poisoning him.
  • In Pippin, the title character rebels against his kingly father and kills him. He's not portrayed as evil, though his stepmother, who assists him in his rebellion, is; he just has misguided (not to mention anachronistic) notions of what a good king ought to do.
  • Many, many characters in William Shakespeare, but Claudius (Hamlet), Macbeth (Macbeth) and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Richard III) are the three most prominent. Don John from Much Ado About Nothing might count as well, although he's more interested in messing with the life of his brother than taking power (during the play — he's said to have rebelled before the play). About half of the examples in other media come from works that are, to a greater or lesser extent, based on these villains.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Morgan Fey from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Destined to become village leader and usurped by her far more talented sister Misty, she has plotted to kill every other member of her family and frame the rest for the murder, just so she or her daughter Pearl can become the new Master.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice's Final Boss, Queen Ga'ran, faked her older sister's assassination and framed her brother-in-law for it to become Queen.
  • Amaranthine Voyage The Tree Of Life: When the heroine shows up in the fantasy land that houses the Tree of Life, at first it seems that the land and the Tree are under the thrall of a dark prince who killed his older half-brother by letting him drown and whose evil is poisoning the kingdom and the Tree. Turns out to be a subversion and a case of Mother Makes You King, plus said queen's toxic influence. She's the reason the inconvenient first heir died, and afterwards, she manipulated her son from the shadows. Once freed from her influence by your arrival, the prince becomes a useful ally.
  • Cesare Borgia, Captain-General of the Papal Armies, is the de facto Prince to his father, Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, having taken that spot by having his brother murdered and using his armies to conquer Italy, while privately conspiring towards sidelining his father. This doesn't succeed though, as the Assassin Order intends to push them both out, and the eventual regicide actually accelerates his own downfall.
    • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Sehzade Ahmet fills this role, trying to kidnap his nephew, depose his father, and in the long run, take away the people's freedom. His brother, Selim, isn't exactly a good person, either.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: The ambitious and treachous Prince Eldred of Wesnoth. In a prequel campaign Delfador's Memoirs, he attacks the elves for no reason other than his ambition. In the prologue of Heir to the Throne, he betrays his father in order to name himself king and allies himself with the orcs that they are supposed to be fighting, forcing Delfador to cut his rule very short.
  • Blizzard likes playing with this trope:
    • Arthas of Warcraft fame. Even though he had lost his soul at the point when he stabbed his own father, he showed a great deal of evil and selfish tendencies throughout the campaign before.
      • To clarify, he is shown to be a genuinely good and noble prince (a Paladin no less), but then a little something called The Scourge ravages the kingdom. Over the course of his hunt for the Scourge leader Mal'ganis, he gradually develops Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar tendencies, to the point that by the end he is willing to do just about anything if it means saving his people from undeath. He decides to accomplish that by wielding Frostmourne, an Empathic Weapon forged by the Lich King himself. In an ironic twist of fate, Arthas is the one who ends up leading the Scourge against his own former people and does eventually become king... of the undead.
      King Terenas: What are you doing, my son?
      • In the same game, Prince Kael'Thas also goes from Well-Intentioned Extremist to this, though he plays with it as his evil started with his rage at his father's death at Arthas' hands and what happened to Quel'Thalas thanks to the Scourge.
    • In the Diablo series, both of the princes of Khanduras are possessed by the titular demon and go on to become the respective Big Bads of two games, although neither of them seems to have intended for that to happen.
    • Finally, Starcraft II inverts this trope; one character is a good prince out to depose his evil father despite looking a lot like Arthas.
  • Crusader Kings, by Paradox Interactive, encourages this type of behaviour, by virtue of the fact that you can inherit another kingdom.
  • Prince Yurias of Tecmo's Deception is the classic example, framing your character, his brother, for the murder of the king in a bid for the throne, and he has you burned at the stake for good measure. Your character turns into an alternative example, as he is rescued by a demon named Astarte and becomes lord of the Castle of the Damned, responsible for the deaths of nearby townspeople regardless of what your motives ultimately end up being.
  • Uldren Sov from Destiny. The Awoken Prince of the Reef, Uldren is initially hostile towards outsiders (meaning you) when you first travel to the Reef in the first game, only calling off the Fallen guards when his sister, Queen Mara Sov agrees to deal with you. After Mara’s death during the events of The Taken King, Uldren goes off the deep end, eventually forging an alliance with the Scorned and murdering Cayde-6, which kicks off the events of the Forsaken add on in the sequel.
  • Subverted with Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. He wants to be the Evil Prince, but he's not quite as worthy of the "evil" descriptor as he wants to be.
  • Bhelen of Dragon Age: Origins arranges to have his older brother Trian killed and his other sibling (the PC, if they've chosen the Dwarf Noble Origin) blamed for the murder and exiled to the Deep Roads. He is also implied to have poisoned his father, blackmails half of the nobles into choosing him, uses false evidence to discredit his opponent (who was his father's choice for heir), and attempts to launch a coup if his bid for the throne fails. Interestingly, picking him as king is better for the dwarves in the long run, as Bhelen imposes social reforms and opens Orzammar to human trade, which with some help from Ferelden leads to the darkspawn being pushed far back and several lost Thaigs recovered. He eventually dissolves the Decadent Court altogether and rules as a tyrant with support from the lower classes.
  • Fable has this in Lady Grey, the Mayor of Bowerstone, who locked her sister in the Grey House basement and starved her to death in order to become Mayor. This actually forms a subplot in the expansion pack, The Lost Chapters.
  • The sociopathic villains of both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII, Seymour and Vayne both qualify (although they aren't exactly princes, they still are the inheritants of enormous power). Vayne even goes so far as to systematically assassinate his older siblings in the backstory. The implication was that they may have invoked this trope themselves as it's indicated Vayne demonstrated both his loyalty and ruthlessness by disposing of them when they sought to claim the throne. As an interesting twist with the trope being downplayed: it's heavily implied that all of Vayne's actions are aiming for Larsa, his younger brother, to inherit the throne, so that Larsa (and Archadia) are free from the Occuria and can control their own destiny. The goal he accomplishes. Whether he meant it to happen the way it did is still debated by fans.
  • Prince Zenos yae Galvus from Final Fantasy XIV is the successor to the throne of the Garlean Empire, and is also a complete sociopath, Blood Knight, and a tyrant of the colonized provinces of Doma and Ala Mhigo. He cares very little for actual politics and princely duties, and intentionally stokes rebellion in the places he rules so he can find a Worthy Opponent. In Shadowbringers he murders his own father in cold blood, and even tells him he has NO intentions of becoming Emperor himself, thus forcing the Empire into a civil war as he plots with an Ascian to bring about The End of the World as We Know It for no other reason than to slake his bloodthirst.
  • Ashnard from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Unusual in that he was only distantly related to the previous king; a lot of people had to die for him to take the throne. Radiant Dawn explicitly shows him cutting down the king, although that was to break the curse Ashnard set up to kill everyone else before it killed him.
    • Continuing the tradition, Ashnard's long-lost son (who would probably be just as evil himself were it not for the Morality Pet and Victorious Childhood Friend aspect) has a direct hand in his defeat and death at the end of the game. Averted in that said son, Soren, was part of the Good Guys and had no knowledge of being a part of a royal lineage at all.
    • And on the subject of Fire Emblem, the gender-inverted version of this appears in Fire Emblem Heroes as the Big Bad in the form of Princess Veronica.
  • Galaxy Angel: Prince Eonia Transbaal is the main antagonist of the first game. He was exiled five years ago from the empire for wanting to use the Lost Technology to conquer worlds, and his first act upon returning is to launch an Orbital Bombardment on the capital to destroy the palace and kill off every single member of the royal family, his own father included, to seize the throne.
  • Minor character Captain Juno of the Turtle Clan in Guild Wars is one of those rare female examples. She (allegedly) killed her own father to gain leadership of the Clan. She's not an outright evil character. In fact, we learn most of this through quests involving her daughter, the Ritualist hero Xandra, from the Eye of the North expansion.
  • Guild Wars 2 makes it clear this was the case for Mad King Thorn and his son, Bloody Prince Thorn. Oswald was always twisted, getting people killed even as a child, and eventually murdered his noble brother and father to steal the throne, kicking off a reign of terror and excess. Edrick was prone to fits of murderous rage and delusions. He committed atrocities and pinned the blame on Oswald in hopes of riding the ensuing uprising to the throne, leading to the destruction of the Thorn royal family.
  • The 'not so good' Prince Archibald in Heroes of Might and Magic II, who ascends to the throne through a series of ridiculous accidents.
    • In an interesting variation, none of those accidents hit his actual competitor for the throne; rather, they hit the ones responsible for deciding between the two.
  • Morgeilen aka The Father from the King's Quest II Fan Remake.
  • Knights and Merchants plays with this trope regarding its Big Bad. While he displays most of the traits, he actually is the heir to the throne; he actually goes as far as declaring war on his father.
  • Prince Cort from Legend of Legaia is the primary antagonist of said game. He gets possessed by a Rogue and his ambitions turn toward evil from there.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Princess Hilda is revealed to be the Big Bad, with Yuga merely serving as The Dragon. Subverted in the end, as she was only trying to restore her land after its own version of the Triforce had been destroyed, leaving it on the brink of doom. Ultimately, she never meant any harm in her actions. The same, however, could not be said of Yuga.
  • One of the many people trying to murder you in Long Live the Queen is doing so in order to move up the order of succession. Of course, she's not actually out for the throne directly, but to put her husband and daughter onto the throne while she rules from the shadows.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series has Princess Pride in Mega Man Battle Network 2, who as usual for the Distaff Counterpart of this trope is a twist villain. She appears as a high-ranking member of Gospel and has deceived everyone in her kingdom because she believes she's doing what's best for her country. Interestingly, her status as a villainess isn't carried over to any other version of the character — Princess Pride gets a helping of Adaptational Heroism for the Anime and has pulled a Heel–Face Turn by the time she reappears in Mega Man Battle Network 5.
  • Rain from Mortal Kombat, a bastard demigod son of protector god Argus, fits the trope like a glove, being charming and handsome while also being a cunning and ambitious cutthroat. Granted, his heritage is divine and not royal, but it's all the excuse he needs.
  • Prince Luca Blight from Suikoden II fits this trope to a T. He is probably eviler than all of the other princes listed here combined. Yet he notably lacks one of the most common traits - he didn't kill his father. While he may eventually have wound up killing his dad, he certainly didn't seem to have any immediate plans to do so. All Luca did was slaughter the equivalent of his country's version of the Boy Scouts/Army Cadets wholesale as an excuse to restart a pointless war, sadistically abused and murdered hordes of peasants along with a couple of major characters, traumatized a little girl into becoming the game's resident Cute Mute and generally acted like a complete Khorne-wannabe. It was Jowy, one of the game's protagonists, that had been planning to murder the king and usurp the throne from practically the beginning of the main plot proper — and succeeded. It adds another interesting dimension, though, that Luca knew about the plot from the beginning and was coaxing Jowy along (he knew Jowy drank some Antitoxin before poisoning himself for the blood-exchanging ritual with the king). That could've been a test of character and loyalty he gave Jowy.
  • Sunrider has two possible Evil Princes, both from the Holy Ryuvian Empire:
    • Crow Harbor was the bastard son of the Ryuvian Infinite Emperor. He is believed to have assassinated his father and the crown prince in a bid to put himself on the throne, and he definitely went to war with his remaining brother over control of the Empire, sparking a civil war that would devastate the galaxy.
    • His brother, Sola’s unnamed father, may not have been much better despite having a legitimate claim to the throne. At one point Sola mentions that the assassinations of the Emperor and his heir might have been her father’s doing and that he set it up to make Crow look responsible so that he could have a clear shot at the throne.
  • Celdic in Tales of Graces. He kills his brother (the king) and repeatedly tries to kill his nephew, the next in line for the throne, though the whole thing backfires.

  • Thief in 8-Bit Theater is an inversion of this. He's evil and he's a prince but he's loyal to his father; it's just the rest of the world he's prepared to screw over for pocket change.
  • Prince Vince, in the Beetlejuice cartoon, is a benign and friendly individual who is quite fond of both Beetlejuice and Lydia. In Cobweb and Stripes, however, he's been recast in this role and is absolutely determined to make Betelgeuse's afterlife as nightmarish as he can. It has yet to be revealed exactly why he hates the Anti-Hero so much.
  • Drowtales gender-flips this trope due to the matriarchal hierarchy. Three of the five crown princesses usurped their Empress by unleashing a demon invasion and imprisoning their mother in her own throne room during the chaos. Their master plan was to turn all of drowkind into brainwashed, demon-infused multiversal conquerors. Then it turns out the Empress (who was technically a princess) used Grand Theft Me to escape into the body of a slave, and eventually possessed the corpse of a god. It all goes downhill for the princesses from there.
    • Subverted
  • Averted with Kyo in Evil Not Worth It, although Kelli fits this trope.
  • In Goblins Of Razard,Reign's brother has taken over this mantel & is on a quest to have Reign assassinated so that he can solidify his position.
  • In Latchkey Kingdom, Princess Rosaline poisoned her parents into a coma for the crime of trying to conceive a male heir, which perfectly fits the page quote. She was perfectly fine with waiting as long as she was sure of the prize at the end.
  • Fang "Overlord of Darkness," the main villain from Lin T, killed his entire family to take over the kingdom even though he was already first in line for the throne!
  • Plume has Auran prince Aricon, who murdered his older brother to become the king.
  • The Tourist and the Frog, a humorous take on The Frog Prince by Diana Nock the un-frogged Prince clarifies: "I was not cursed for being kind".
  • Crown prince Eros from Your Throne: He goal is to get the divine power of healing Lady Psyche has to practically become a god. To get it, he stops at nothing: he stages a murder attempt against his own father, pretends to be in love with Psyche just to emotionally abuse her, tries to have her killed, and when his loyal assassins fail at that task, he angrily stabs at their corpses and later has them publically strung up.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Prince Geraden, the cousin of the current King Gerard Aurelac de Maar Sul, was kidnapped as a baby and ended up corrupted into an amoral, power-hungry warrior. He sees his younger cousin as a weak, easily manipulative fool who has in his view robbed him of his rightful throne and that it is his destiny to turn Maar Sul into a powerful, feared kingdom which it once was. Emira Adela al-Saif ends up killing her twin sister Razia in order to become the Sultana of Vanna.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time the Fire King usurped the throne by killing his brother. His reaction when his nephews reminded him of this...
    Fire King: Oh yeah.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko subverts this trope entirely as even before his Dark and Troubled Past is revealed it is clear that he is loyal to a fault towards his father the Evil Overlord. It is only after two and a half seasons of Character Development, IOW when he makes a Heel–Face Turn and becomes the Sixth Ranger/The Atoner, that he seeks Ozai's overthrow, and still only for the purpose of ending the war. While he does become Fire Lord, it was never the true reason for his decision. In fact, [[spoiler:he initially rejected the prospect of leading the Fire Nation, because he believed there'd be no place for him once his father is overthrown.
    • Played straight with the current Fire Lord Ozai, who killed his father (or had his wife kill him) and then usurped his older brother Iroh as heir.
    • However, also averted, in that Ozai's daughter Princess Azula, is not only one of few Evil Princesses, she consistently proves herself loyal to her father at significant risk to her life and cheerfully passes up golden opportunities to usurp him. Whether she was acting out of actual affection, habitual/conditioned obedience, or simple disinterest in taking the throne herself yet was a longtime matter of debate among fans. At show's end, it is plain that Azula loves her father as much as her screwed-up mind is capable of loving anyone. Not only that, she gets the one reward every Bastard Understudy wants: the crown. She was to be crowned Fire Lord Azula, until Zuko came back to dish out some destiny-cooked justice on her. She could have had it all if her best friends betraying her didn't seriously shake her. However, the title and position of Fire Lord was summarily reduced to something between a hollow gesture and a bad joke by her father assuming the position of Phoenix King and going forth to remove the Earth Kingdom from the map — and Azula knew it.
    • Also played straight with Unalaq in The Legend of Korra, yet that was part of something bigger, that he'd otherwise have no reason to care for the throne.
  • Ben 10 features Princess Attea, who is the daughter of the Incursean leader. Omniverse has her usurp her father when the heroes beat him. Unusually, she offers to take the incurseans away from earth in exchange for the heroes letting her go, thus using the heroes to her advantage in keeping this power.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch audition for the roles of the bears in a filming of "Goldilocks And The Three Bears." The film's uppity star, Twinkles Sunshine, rewrites it to include an evil prince, a role that zookeeper Peevly winds up getting.
  • Prince John, as tradition dictates, in Ivanhoe: The King's Knight.
  • Ninjago:
    • In Season 8, known as The Sons of Garmadon The Evil Princess Harumi, who was manipulating Lloyd for the entire season and is easily one of the darkest villains yet. Her aspirations of power are not related to the line of succession, though, so this is not a straight example of this trope; she's more of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
    • Season 15, known as "Seabound" has Prince Kalmaar as its main antagonist, being a treacherous, cruel, and ambitious member of the Merlopian royal family and wanting to wage war on the surface, going as far as murdering his own father to take up the throne.
  • Randall becomes this in the Recess episode "Prince Randall".
  • In Total Drama, Mal, Mike's evil alternate personality, fits this trope to the letter. He even has an evil spire!
    Manitoba Smith: Behold, the tower of Mal!
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Lotor becomes the new Galra emperor after impaling his father Zarkon through the chest with a sharp stick in battle. Unlike most examples, he seems to actually be noble at first...until it's revealed he got just close to Team Voltron so he could drain the surviving Alteans from his secret colony of their life-force for quintessence.
  • Tritannus in Winx Club is one of the twin sons of King Neptune. He considers himself a far better candidate to be king than his brother Nereus. He's also a complete psycho and attempts to assassinate Nereus when Nereus is being named crown prince.
  • On Young Justice (2010), Count Vertigo is this, despite having a different title. He attempts to steal the donor heart intended for his niece, the ten-year-old Queen Perdita, to gain the throne of Vlatava. Word of God has hinted that he might have had a hand in whatever happened to Perdita's dad, as well.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Evil Prince


Hans Reveal

Prince Hans reveals himself to be a duplicitous man who faked his romance with Anna so he'll be closer to the throne of Arendelle.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / BitchInSheepsClothing

Media sources: