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What's Up, King Dude?

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"Please, go on in. The king will see anyone who wishes to see him."
Adelhyde Castle Guard, Wild ARMs

The phenomenon in fiction (primarily in High Fantasy) of commoners being allowed improbably free access to the royal family.

In Real Life, access to royal families is usually tightly controlled, and in most cases commoners, unless they are friends with royal family members, are not allowed to have extended interaction with royals outside of formal events. Not in fiction, though. In fiction, Farmer Alice can go into the royal palace and give King Bob the Nth their secret handshake and a slap on the ass and say "What's up, King Dude?" Royals Who Actually Do Something tend to do this more than others, since they're already active anyway and "actually doing something" more often than not entails working with common folk.

The reason for this trope is probably the fact that, in ancient times, rulers of small clans and chiefdoms were often referred to as "kings". Later on, such as in the Renaissance, these stories were modified to better fit then-modern times (i.e. with bigger kingdoms and more powerful kings) but they forgot to edit the part about the farmer visiting his "king". Sometimes when erstwhile clan chiefs became actual royals by conquering neighboring tribes, they tried to keep their traditional open doors policy as much as possible to show that they "hadn't really changed". In most cases though, after a few foiled assassination attempts this practice will tend to be curtailed. The exceptions tend to be royals who are also Memetic Badasses. Or situations where the "King" wasn't actually all that powerful: such as Sparta.

Royal security did, however, remain rather porous; common peasants were certainly not allowed in the palace, but just about anyone who could afford a nice set of clothes and some bribes could enter freely, especially during the eras of feudalism where local lords held more practical power than the king did. It was in early days of colonialism that royals grew tremendously in power and thus allowed few of common blood into their courts. (The fact that easy access to concealed firearms suddenly made political assassinations depressingly easier certainly didn't help things.) Also, the smaller and less wealthy the kingdom in question, the more this trope is Truth in Television. It is important to remember that a King is not necessarily fantastically wealthy, they are just more likely to be if any wealth is flowing into the country at all. But for those whose kingdoms aren't on the trade routes or are otherwise out of the way, the King might be only marginally more wealthy than the commoners. In this case, unless he is truly tyrannical, he's unlikely to be overly worried about assassinations since there is very little for a potential assassin to gain. Importantly, this trope does not imply the royal in question has no security. It simply implies the royal in question is not a snob and/or not unduly afraid of the commoners. The royal guards will presumably still watch anyone who enters the king's presence very carefully, be heavily armored and armed to the teeth, and there may be additional security measures such as traps which the ruler can set off on anyone who tries anything funny.

In fiction, however, it's rather common for anyone — nobles, farmers, merchants, bribers, and military chaps alike — to be able to waltz into the palace with few or no repercussions. Many RPGs require players to consult the king before the adventure proper begins. In particular, this breaks immersion when the player is allowed into the King's presence fully armed and armored, particularly when the King is not. In Real Life this would definitely never be done, even in a very small and poor kingdom. Even clan chiefs in ancient times usually disallowed people from carrying weapons in their presence, except for their trusted guards.

If only one ruler in the setting invokes this trope though, chances are you're dealing with a Physical God who obviously has little to no need for security since there is almost nothing that could potentially threaten their power and basically no one who could kill them (and anything that could, won't be stopped by mere guards). That situation would make this a Justified Trope.

Compare Swiss-Cheese Security and The Guards Must Be Crazy, where supervillains do a rather poor job of securing their lairs; they often overlap in the case of Evil Overlords.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • It's something of a Running Gag that Son Goku treats everyone, from commoners to kings to powerful aliens to gods, with the same casual, easy-going country bumpkin attitude. He's never outright disrespectful, he just never learned social niceties due to living alone for the formative years of his life. It gets really interesting in Dragon Ball Super when we meet Zen'o, the King of Everything and literally the most powerful being in the Dragon Ball multiverse. Goku's casual attitude completely horrifies everyone else, but Zen'o likes Goku specifically because he treats him like a normal person, whereas everyone else in the 12 universes treats him with a mix of utter respect and pants-wetting terror because he once destroyed six entire universes because he was in a bad mood.
    • More to the point of the trope, Goku has had astonishing access to some pretty important folks in the Dragon Ball cosmos in his lifetime.note  Of them, Goku only speaks formally to the God of Destruction after learning he can easily destroy the Earth and must be appeased. The rest of the time, however...
      Goku: Yo! Did a guy named Raditz pass by here a minute ago?
      Kami: Goku! You do not address the great King Yenma with a "yo"!
  • Sort of inverted with the Princess (and later, Queen) Henrietta de Tristain in The Familiar of Zero, who despite being depicted as alternatively pressured, sheltered and/or cloistered by the royal court seems to be able to slip out of the palace incognito for a brief chat with her lower class friends with remarkable ease.
  • One Piece :
    • Princess Vivi was shown in a flashback to be a Tomboy, who played with other kids all the time. It is noted how unusual it is for commoners and royalty to be able to freely associate in that manner.
    • To a lesser extent is Queen Otohime of Fishman Island's Ryugu Kingdom, who would daily make public addresses in the middle of town when she could just as easily do so from the palace. It's noted as a part of both her own nature and those of her abilities (a form of clairvoyance called Haki) that she prefers to be among her people.
    • Luffy tends to treat everyone he meets, be it the king of a nation he just saved, a Navy admiral, or even the World's Strongest Man, like any old joe.
  • Hotohori in Fushigi Yuugi and later his son Boushin, relishes this due to loneliness although his advisors discourage it.
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic: Sinbad regularly spends time with his citizens and pretty much anyone in his country could have an audience with him. This situation contrasts with every other kingdom or empire, though, admittedly, Sindria is just an island with a relatively small population and he would have no worries about his own safety.
  • The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World: Due to his typical Hot-Blooded niceness and Fish out of Water status, Red quickly treats Princess Teltina like an old friend without any of the stuffy decorum or manners. This enrages Rosie for not showing Teltina proper respect.
  • In Castle Town Dandelion, as the king wants his children to blend into the normal people as much as possible, this is a given. Princes and princesses are literally walking around the city like any commoner, as long as they are greeted with -sama.
  • In Snow White with the Red Hair, Second Prince Zen Wistalia dislikes being called His Highness (at least by the people close to him), often goes out among people, and on their first meeting Shirayuki does not even realize he is a prince (nor does he bother telling her that). Shirayuki herself does not use honorifics when addressing him; Zen doesn't mind, while Marquis Haruka is horrified. He also uses the much less formal personal pronoun ore when referring to himself, instead of the more formal watashi.

    Comic Books 
  • In Next Men, after Murcheson is thrown through time and ends up in The American Civil War, she is startled to learn how easy it is for her to walk into the White House and meet with Abraham Lincoln. This probably counts as Truth in Television (see Real Life below).
  • Asterix:
    • Asterix and Obelix have a habit of doing this (even when there is security, it just does not last long). They also have a habit of calling Caesar by his first name whenever he shows up.
    • In Asterix the Legionary, Asterix's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits unit wanders one by one right into Caesar's tent during a strategic meeting, Obelix helpfully identifying their unit when an exasperated Caesar demands to know who these people are. When their CO starts berating them for this, Caesar has him arrested for not keeping discipline.
  • Wonder Woman: The royal family of Paradise Island/Themyscira is very accessible to their subjects, though given just how long their people have all lived on one island together and the fact that their "kingdom" is quite small and cut off from the outside world a degree of familiarity is understandable

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: When they are not on duty, Daniel and Rayana — the God Emperors of Avalon — are very informal and approachable. In chapter 26 Asuka and Shinji find them sunbathing nonchalantly:
    The coast of their island's shore curved around and brought them back towards their own cabin's end. They'd sighted a few other cabins along the way, but saw no other people or signs of activity until they reached a point near the next cabin up the island from Ching's. Under a wide sunshade, two beach chairs were occupied by figures that grew more familiar, but puzzling as they walked closer.
    Asuka tilted her head and tried to reconcile what she was seeing with what she knew. The blonde hair and red beard were the same, but it was still hard to believe that the man in the first chair with the aviator sunglasses, white and red short-sleeved tropical shirt, and ratty shorts was their usually armored and caped host. Just as normal yet thereby odd was the Witch Queen next to him, now in a colorful sarong and backless swimsuit.
    Daniel raised a coconut and paper umbrella drink at them as they drew near. "G'day, howdy-do, and hiya, kids. Having a good morning?" He nodded at their still joined hands. "Or are you still sort of feeling your way into things?" he asked in jaunty Japanese.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, Kojiro simply walks up to the Legiones, the mightiest adventurer in Rakia and one of its highest authorities, and shakes his hand while addressing him by his true name Romulus-Quirinus, much to the horror of Bell and the nearby soldiers, who demand Kojiro show him respect. But given that they once fought alongside each other at Chaldea, the Legiones waves them off and greets Kojiro and Bell warmly before declaring that they're under his protection.
  • Triptych Continuum: The Day and Night Courts of Canterlot have open sessions, like in the beginning of Triptych Continuum: A Mark of Appeal.
  • The typical attitude of the Norfolk towards Harry in The Difference One Man Can Make is quite casual, and they don't hesitate to tease or criticize him. Ygritte even threatens to shoot him if he decides to act "lordlike". Harry himself appreciates, and firmly corrects Southron guests when they call him a lord.
  • In the Blackworks Loop of Purple Days, Sansa intervenes personally in a quarrel between a merchant and a client. It's deconstructed when she explains it's a waste of her time, and points that there are lower courts suitable for ruling in the issue, and threatens any other claimants with similar complaints to either accept lower rulings, or deal with a very cranky and overworked queen.
  • The MLP Loops: When Vinyl Scratch starts looping, she proves it to her friend Lyra by dragging her into the throne room, barging past all the guards, and yelling to her princess/goddess "Hey, Celestia! Code Beeblebrox!" Celestia calmly confirms what Vinyl has been saying and then returns to what she was doing.
  • Roxas in A Song of Fire, Ice, and Hearts is very casual when conversing with the nobility of Westeros, talking to them as if they were old friends. Individuals such as Arya Stark and Robert Baratheon greatly appreciate this attitude.
  • In Lancre, (as envisaged by A.A. Pessimal) everybody knows everybody else and a sort of easy informality applies. When Crown Princess Esmerelda Note Spelling flies home to have her Pegasus reshod by the only blacksmith in the world who can do it, Jason Ogg greets her with
    Right you are, Miss Nottie, love, err, your Highness, Your Almost-Majesty, sort of thing.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf has a very self-sufficient attitude toward everyone he meets, even if they have dragons. Not only does he wander into important meetings as he pleases, he also never asks permission to leave, merely stating what he has to say and turning around. Tyrion suspects that he doesn't even do this intentionally, it's just part of his Blood Knight personality to give people reasons to fight him.
    • At one point the guards refuse to let him see Daenerys while armed, and while he complies, he makes it very clear he doesn't need to, by ramming his several swords through a big wooden door. Then he knocks loud enough to wake several people in the castle and cheerfully tells her he went against her orders but it all worked out fine in the end before leaving.
  • Zigzagged in The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor. Early on, Xanna is rather annoyed at having to act as judge for two shepherds arguing over ownership of a sheep, but endures it as she and Naruto are the only true authority in their kingdom. Centuries later, it's still possible for anyone to meet with them but it does require an appointment. Of course, Naruto himself is still the sort to go out and mingle with the commonfolk whenever the mood strikes him.
  • In RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse, the Elements of Harmony are given the Right of Approach, which means that if they want to see Princess Luna, only Luna can turn them away. The guards must let them through and carry their request to the Princess.
  • In My Inner Life, the heroine - a traveling merchant - has somehow become so close with the Royal Family of Hyrule that she is officially in line for the throne.
  • Momentary Weakness: In the sequel series, it's explained that one of Nia's primary duties as queen is to use her divine-level healing to heal the worst injuries of her people. Furthermore, she enjoys advising new mothers on their babies, and has personally met every single child born since the nation was founded, usually as soon after their birth as possible. Because the rest of the royal family often accompanies her on her rounds, they are quite casual with their people as well.
  • Inverted in A Thing of Vikings. Stoick, Chief of Berk (which is now a major power thanks to the dragons, making him effectively a king in all but name) overhears Fintan, Murchadh and Una's conversation on politics and ends up joining it. All three are former slaves who were freed and inducted into the tribe.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen:
    • Zigzagged in Frozen, the castle doors were closed for thirteen years to try to hide Princess Elsa's ice powers. The plot is kick-started when the doors are opened again for Elsa's coronation ceremony. Once they do, Princess Anna rushes out among both aristocracy and villagers, eager to mingle with "everyone". The opening is only temporary, though, Elsa continues to invert the trope so much that even her own sister, the usually bold Anna, awaits Elsa's permission to stand next to her - even after the royal steward physically moves her there, Anna steps back to give Elsa a respectful space until Elsa herself indicates her interest in speaking with her. However, Anna shows Elsa how to overcome her fear and the film ends with them opening the gates permanently and ice-skating together with the public.
    • Also, the Anna & Elsa spin-off books portray Elsa as a down-to-earth queen who often leaves the palace and mingles with the commoners. That's not even mentioning Friend to All Living Things Princess Anna who enthusiastically attempts to befriend people throughout the town.
    • By Olaf's Frozen Adventure, Elsa and Anna go door-to-door to gather large numbers of volunteers to search for Olaf when he has an episode of depression.
    • In Frozen II, the royal sisters both help clean up after the Harvest Festival. Queen Elsa makes ice toys for children and Princess Anna works together with townspeople to set things up. Princess Anna is particularly involved, eating and dancing with the villagers, and she even dates a homeless ice-harvester.
  • In Mulan, Mulan hugs the Emperor after he gives her a gift, prompting Yao to ask whether she's allowed to do that (No, but given that she just saved his life and most probably his country, he's probably not going to enforce it).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure averts this, showing why acting so casual toward the king is probably not a good idea.
    Bill: How's it going, royal ugly dudes?
    King: Put them in the iron maiden.
    Bill & Ted: Iron Maiden? [air guitar] EXCELLENT!
    King: Execute them!
    Bill & Ted: Bogus!
  • Coming to America: The people in Queens, NY behave very familiarly with Prince Akeem's parents. And that's nothing compared to how several people treat Akeem before learning he's a prince.
    • One of the men in the barber shop reaches out to stroke the skinned lion that King Jaffe Joffer is wearing as a sash and asks, "What is this, velvet?"
    • Cleo introduces himself to Queen Aoleon by sticking out his hand. She initially seems taken aback but graciously shakes his hand and introduces herself. And if the wedding scene at the end is correct, she seems to have become downright fond of Cleo.
    • Cleo also repeatedly addresses Jaffe Joffer as simply "King".
      Cleo: [on the phone] Hello, King? Cleo McDowell here.
    • However, he even drops the royal title after Jaffe Joffer insults his daughter.
      Cleo: I don't care who you are. This is America, Jack. Say another word about Lisa, and I'll break my foot off in your royal ass!
  • This is the case to the U.S. president in Gabriel Over the White House, leading to a Narmtastic scene where the Mafia does a drive-by shooting at the White House footsteps.
  • Pixels, the president (played by Kevin James) is friendly with his high school friend Sam, to the point of letting him in his room unguarded. Sam also refers to the Secret Service by their first names.
  • In whatever town Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge is set in, a teenage girl and her reporter boyfriend can rock to the mayor's home to explain their theory about how the new malll is being haunted by a Theatre Phantom, and they will not only be allowed in, but listened to.

  • Discworld:
    • Usually not played straight, but Lord Vetinari's guards are under orders to accept any and all bribes, and he generally doesn't object to any commoner with both enough courage and a good enough reason to walk right up to his desk. Given that he cultivates a reputation as a tyrant (a very benevolent and competent one, nonetheless), anyone who gets that far is probably worth listening to for a minute. It helps immensely that he's known to be an alumnus of the Assassin's Guild, but no-one can quite remember exactly what his focus was. And no-one wants to be the one to find out by trying anything funny. It should be noted that the people allowed into the Palace to see the Patrician aren't simply free to wander into his office. They're shown into a waiting room with very hard benches and the door is locked behind them, leaving them to wait if Vetinari is inclined to see them — or let them leave. He's also been known to reverse the situation by visiting people at their home or workplace unexpectedly, without any bodyguards. (Though the other people are hardly relaxed enough at this point to be typical examples of this trope.) He's largely protected by the fact that nobody wants him dead, at least not urgently enough to take a potshot at him in the street.
    • The situation in Lancre is... complex. Basically, royal security consists of Shawn Ogg, who is more likely to obey his mam than his monarch. Verence wants to be a man of the people in any case, but the Lancrastians believe the king should be holed up in the palace eating, quaffing and exercising his droit de seigneur (which is believed to be some kind of big, hairy dog), and are mistrustful of one who wants to listen to them. In fact, when Verence attempts to make a parliament and form a constitutional monarchy the Lancrastians think he's just trying to fool them into doing his job for him.
  • Arthurian Legend: The below events, and many others, took place at Arthur's Pentecost Court which might be considered a sort of royal open house where all comers were feasted and invited to ask for boons.
    • In Thomas Malory's magnum opus Le Morte d'Arthur, a poor cowherd seems to just walk up to King Arthur and asks a favor of him. In fact, a lot of quests and tales begin with some stranger just waltzing in to say/do something.
    • The Green Knight from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight rides his horse straight into the main hall during a feast.
  • Fflewddur Fflam in the The Chronicles of Prydain is king of a country so small you can walk across the whole thing in a single day. Children often play games and sports in his throne room because of ease of access, and they know that he is far more likely to join in their games than shoo them out of the castle.
  • Deconstructed in Septimus Heap, since the lack of guarding results in Princess Jenna being kidnapped.
  • Eon in Belisarius Series is first seen arm wrestling with Roman soldiers. He comes from an informal but spartan and militaristic culture where princes are first and foremost expected to prove themselves as soldiers and playing with soldiers is as natural to him as fighting beside them. The pragmatic reason for this is that the soldiers of the regiments are the ones who have final say on which prince will inherit the throne. A prince who is not liked by the common soldiers will not become king.
  • Subverted in Vorkosigan Saga. While the main characters refer to the emperor informally they are closely related. Armsmen have close access but not informal access.
  • Played with in the Dragaera novels. Technically, any citizen of the Empire can seek an audience with the Empress at a certain time each week; in practice, her guards and bureaucrats make the process of requesting such an audience so intimidating and bothersome that most commoners back off and leave long before they get near her. Likewise, while it's possible for any citizen to communicate with the Empress psychically, peasants are never taught how to do so, and other social classes are warned that she might use the Imperial Orb to destroy their minds if they contact her for any reason she doesn't consider worthy of her time.
  • Mostly averted in A Song of Ice and Fire; however, while hearing petitions on King Robert's behalf, Ned is surprised when many of the peasants do not know what their king looks like, hinting that things may typically be less formal in the North.
    Arlan: Kings rise and fall, and cows and smallfolk go about their business.
  • Used in the Honor Harrington series when Harrington remarks that she should probably drop in to the palace to visit Queen Elizabeth III. The person she's saying this to, Elizabeth's cousin and one of the few people who actually could just decide to drop by for a visit (although probably needing an appointment herself), is privately amused that Harrington, a career naval officer coming from a middle-class family on one of the kingdom's secondary planets, had become someone so politically and personally important that she should so casually suggest doing something that her highest-ranking military superiors and the vast majority of the kingdom's nobility and aristocracy simply wouldn't even consider or even be allowed to do.
  • Wolf Hall generally doesn't have this— by the time of Henry VIII kings were more separated from their people, although Henry makes a point of showing himself in public places a few times and it's not difficult for the nun Elizabeth Barton to get close and start giving him disturbing prophecies. And on the informality front, there's his boyhood friend and brother-in-law Charles Brandon, a Boisterous Bruiser who will wander into a room and shout things like "Aren't you ready, Harry?!" This irritates Thomas Cromwell to no end, especially when Brandon starts gossiping loudly in front of a foreign ambassador (at which point Cromwell physically drags him out of the room).
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Mule": Because Ebling Mis is the most respected scientist on Terminus, a planet founded by scientists about three centuries ago, he alone manages to get away with being informal around the the Head of State. He wears shabby clothing, smokes, speaks profanely (or so the narrative says), and insult the Mayor directly.
  • Not uncommon in several kingdoms of The Riddle Master Trilogy trilogy, owing to their small size and/or sparse population allowing subjects to have rather casual relationships with their monarch. Morgon, the main protagonist, is the Prince of Hed, but as Hed is a tiny island that doesn't take much more than a day to cross on foot and is mostly inhabited by farmers, his job is less that of a monarch and more that of the mayor of a rural community, complete with local swineherds dropping by most mornings for breakfast and people asking the Prince to personally fix their leaky roofs being a fairly typical occurrence (and he'll do it, too). Har, the Wolf-King of Osterland, is personally intimidating but nonetheless fairly genial unless you cross him, and his far-northern kingdom has more animals in it than people and his throne room tends to have the air of a mead hall more than a solemn center of government; Danan Isig, who rules the mountain of the same name, is more the patriarch of a large extended family than anything more formal. Subverted with the nations of An, Ymris, and Herun, which are larger and more powerful than any of the above and have much more formal and complex royal courts.
  • Number the Stars: While the main character never tried to approach him herself, it's commented that the reason the king of Denmark has no guards during his parade is because every citizen of Denmark would gladly lay their life down for him.
  • The Queen of Ieflaria: Ieflarians are much more familiar with their rulers than other countries. Esofi mentions that on her journey, many peasants were perfectly willing to walk up and shake her hand, then talk loudly in her earshot about how pretty she is and how she'll have no trouble getting a new hand in marriage.
  • In one of The Royal Diaries, Princess Redbird notes that her people, the Hsien, expect to be able to do this to their ruling family. It leads to teasing by the people when the royal family wear Chinese garb for an outing (that Redbird takes care of by dispensing the Chinese treats she brought from the town she's attending school at), and later one of the maids tells newly ascended ruler Little Tiger that she won't listen to a king whose bottom she used to spank.
  • In The Queen's Thief, the rulers of Attolia and Sounis are feared by their people. Eddis, in contrast, is loved by her people. The general character of Eddis is also more straightforward and blunt than the other two countries (except in their tradition of the royal Thief), which leads to Eddis' attendants and courtiers being downright informal around her at times, while her attendants take liberties with her wardrobe and pushing her around to get ready for being in public.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Featured on two separate occasions in the original House of Cards (UK):
    • Invoked, quite literally, in "To Play the King" — The King decides to embark on a meet'n'greet tour through Britain without his security detail (to manifest his reputation as a 'people's monarch' and to build popular support against PM Urquhart). Urquhart, in return, exploits this by arranging a 'summer theatre' in which the King gets 'kidnapped' by a group of paid thugs and then be "rescued" by the British Army at Urquhart's behest, making him look like a hero and the King like a callous idiot.
    • Played straight in "The Final Cut" — Urquhart's own limousine is rammed off the motorway by some random trio of drunken punks in a minibus who are looking for a fight (but probably didn't realize whose limousine they just hit). Then subverted in that they're promptly shot by Urquhart's own bodyguards as "terrorists".
  • Various people have startling amounts of access to Kai Winn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, especially considering that she is essentially the Bajoran Pope. Major Kira, who granted is the second-in-command to the Emissary on the most strategic installation in the quadrant, still seems to get away with a lot in terms of informal meetings in which she can get very lippy indeed. Then there's Jake and Nog in "In the Cards", and, more grimly, "Anjohl Tennan" (read "Gul Dukat") in the closing arc. In the last case, the Kai's aide was at least duly incredulous (eventually), pointing out that the man simply appeared one day for an audience with the Kai and had, over-night, become her closest adviser to the point of living in her residence and ordering her servants and priests around.
  • The short-lived comedy That's My Bush! parodied the George W. Bush presidency as a standard Dom Com, which includes giving George a next-door neighbor who drops in Once per Episode. Made doubly ridiculous by the fact that the real White House is completely fenced in, with no residential buildings on its immediate vicinity.
  • The "Big Block of Cheese" days in The West Wing serve this purpose, allowing people who don't usually have access to politicians to talk to White House staff.

  • Child Ballad 99, Johnie Scot, and 110, The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter—with the usual variety of titles and texts—have lines in which, after a character has "dingled at the ring" or "tingled at the pin" or "knock-ed and she's ring", then "none was so ready as the king himself/to let the fair maid in" or "rise and let him in". In 110, despite the maid having swum across a stream without a chance to change into dry clothes, his majesty (e.g., King Edwards [sic]) graciously ignores her dishevelment.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The supplement "The Seven Sisters", for the Forgotten Realms, describes how High Lady Alustriel invites to dine on her palace pretty much everyone down to beggars with her also liking to walk down the streets of the city of Silverymoon, that she rules, in plain sight. Of course Alustriel is one of the best spellcasters of the setting — in top of what she has for being a Chosen of Mystra — and is protected by both a number of magic objects and the wizards, etc. of her court.
    • A Dragon article about dwarf culture says that dwarven kings are more accessable than human ones ... up to a point. While anyone may address the king, the story of the dwarf who yelled at his king for days, and thereby changed his mind is completely untrue, and any dwarves who attempt to duplicate it will quickly find themselves chucked out by the guards.

  • In Pippin, when Pippin becomes king, he graciously invites "high and low alike" to stand in lines and submit their petitions for reform. At first he's inclined to grant them all what they want, but when that turns out to be not such a good idea, he falls back on telling them the same answers his father used to give to nobles' requests: "Denied!" and "Take that man away and hang him!"
  • A central theme in Henry IV. Prince Hal has a friendly, casual friendship with Sir John Falstaff that his father the King thinks entirely inappropriate because being overly familiar, especially with disreputable people, means they will not respect the King when the time comes. Sure enough, while Falstaff is jolly, and has some surprisingly nuanced thoughts on honor, he is an unreliable and shifty character that stains the prince's reputation with his very presence, and Hal only starts becoming a good king (or starts being perceived as such) after ridding himself of that association.

    Video Games 
  • World of Warcraft does this with literally every playable race leader. As long as you are of the same faction, you can just barge into the royal throne room and talk to the king/queen/president. Semi-justified as Asskicking Leads to Leadership is in full effect here. It literally takes, at the very least, 15 enemy players, all at max level, to fight the faction leaders.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online lets you stroll up to some fairly important people, like Elrond or Galadriel. In fairness, though, you're not exactly having a casual chat with them... either they've specifically sent for you because they want your help with something, or someone they already know has sent you to talk with them. Depending on your race, you may even know some of them already yourself (for example, the introduction for elves shows that you were on the scene six hundred years ago when Elrond soloed a troll; your contribution to this epic combat was basically to stand there and pee yourself, but he does know you). Of course this is somewhat justifiable. To meet Elrond for instance, one has to first walk through most of the valley of Rivendell to the Last Homely House, presumably being watched at every turn. To meet Galadriel is even harder as one has to earn the right to enter Lothlórien first, otherwise you risk getting peppered by arrows by multiple hidden archers.
  • Seems to be the case in the Super Mario Bros. series. Okay, Mario and the like might be justified for having saved the kingdom a few hundred times, but apparently anyone even remotely affiliated with them can walk straight through the front door of the castle without opposition. Or how Bowser really, really ends up getting right next to Peach pretty dang often, at least in the RPGs, where he apparently just walks through the front door before Mario and Luigi have to defeat him practically next to the throne.
  • Suikoden:
    • Lino En Kuldes in Suikoden IV, who lets anyone on the island just walk into his throne room and talk to him. Seeing as Lino doesn't dress like a king and acts very casually himself, he could easily be mistaken for a servant. A very large, muscular servant.
    • Averted in Suikoden V: the Queen is living in an insular bubble, and relies on her sister and a few select knights to maintain contact with the common people. The player character's access to the Queen is on account of being her son.
  • Kings and Queens in Dragon Quest games are typically lazy about security. Sure they'll have guards stationed at various points in the castle, but you can pretty much walk up and talk to them without any trouble. In most cases, the main character is either royalty, a hero or offspring of a hero whose deeds are known the world over; or the local ruler is so desperate to find a way to deal with whatever monster invasion of the week is tearing his kingdom apart that he pretty much accepts anyone with a sword and a willingness to accept suicidal missions.
  • Common in the 2D-era Final Fantasy games, up to and including exploring the royal bedrooms. In the very first game, you even have to go and find the king on your own initiative (more or less). Several games in the series justify this: Cecil is the foster son of Baron's king in Final Fantasy IV, most of the player characters of Final Fantasy V are royalty themselves, and King Edgar of Figaro is in liaison with the Returners in Final Fantasy VI.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, Vayne, prince of The Empire and consul of Rabanastre, presents himself as this early on, insisting that one of the shopkeeps, Miguelo, doesn't have to be formal, and invited Miguelo to drink with him on Vayne's own coin.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, The Warrior of Light is placed at the center of Eorzea's politics due to being the land's best hope at beating back the primal and Garlean threat. Beause of this, they become quite close to its most powerful authority figures, including numerous members of the nobility of Ishgard as well as the royals of Ul'dah and Doma. Raubahn, Nanamo, and Hien in particular speak with candor around the Warrior, who lets them vent and express their most private thoughts around them. At one point, the Warrior can even offer Hien to the Buduga with a, "Sure. Why not?" to the bewilderment of the Domans. In Shadowbringers, they have a magical pact with Feo Ul, who is the new Titania, King of the Faeries. After Feo Ul's crowning, the rest of pixies subsequently refer to them as "the king's sapling".
    • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Brandt and his friends are frequently cautioned by the guards of whatever castle they visit to be on their best behavior in front of the throne. (Even though one of them is herself a princess—though of the Royal Brat variety.)
  • Played with in Dragon Age: Origins:
    • You are able to speak to Teyrn Loghain before the Battle of Ostagar, though the easiest way is for you to pick the Human Noble origin and tell the guard that the reason that Loghain should deign to speak to you is because you're the child of the only other Teyrn in Ferelden, Bryce Cousland, who has been killed in a sneak attack on his castle.
    • Another way is to persuade the guard to allow you to speak with him. This still makes sense however, as the Warden is a member of a well-respected order dedicated to fighting the Darkspawn, the enemy they are soon to be facing in the upcoming battle.
    • Deconstructed by King Cailan, who mentions driving Loghain insane by constantly disappearing to spend time talking and drinking with the soldiers at Ostagar, with very few guards present to keep an eye on him.
    • If Alistair becomes King at the Landsmeet, it's mentioned in one of the epilogues that he does the same thing as his half-brother, often sneaking out of the palace to buy everyone a few rounds at the local tavern.
  • It's actually averted pretty neatly in Dragon Age II.
    • While you can wander into the Viscount's Keep whenever you want, you're only allowed to see the Viscount himself when you're called into his chambers. Unless you personally save his son's life in Act 1, you won't meet him until you've made your fortune.
    • Similarly, while Hawke can wander into the Gallows' courtyard at any time in the first two acts, they're only granted access to the inner sanctum and Knight-Commander Meredith and First Enchanter Orsino in the third act, after having become Champion and one of the key players in the city.
  • In The Sims Medieval, villagers are frequently seen in the Throne Room interacting with the Monarch, Royal Advisor and visiting diplomats. Also inverted since when playing as the monarch you'll spend a lot of time running around the kingdom bothering your subjects in person.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind downplays the trope. You can try and waltz into the personal quarters of various Great House nobles if you want to, but they will not talk business with you unless you have a reason for bothering this particular noble (i.e. have a letter for them, are a high-enough ranking member of their House to serve them directly, are sent with a secret diplomatic mission, are a noble too and want to get a land deed from the Duke, are The Chosen One and need them to acknowledge that fact to fulfill a prophecy, etc). To have business with them, you should have business with their henchmen, hirelings, and recruiters in the House Council Halls first. And the god-kings of the Tribunal avert this absolutely; you will not meet one unless they want to meet you (or you're brazen enough to crack the Difficulty 100 lock, in Vivec's case, at which point he simply refuses to speak with you).
    • In Oblivion, the Counts and Countesses apparently have an open-door policy, allowing anyone who comes during visiting hours to wander in, armed to the teeth, and have a friendly chat. It makes the one Count in the game who generally refuses audiences with commoners to seem stand-offish by comparison. This is possibly justified later on in the game, when you're a hero renowned throughout Cyrodil, and have done each and every one of the Counts and Countesses at least one personal favor. But at the beginning of the game, when you're a total nobody (and an escaped convict at that), it doesn't make a lot of sense.
    • Skyrim:
      • Jarls seem to have the same kind of open-door policy. The Dragonborn can just walk in and ask if they have a job for him. In fact, it is usually harder to get into a town jarl resides in (one dialogue with a guard) then to get into the Jarl's palace.
      • It's played with in the beginning of Skyrim, as when you first go into Dragonsreach, Balgruuf's Housecarl Irileth stops you and demands to know your business, and you can't get past her until you tell her. She later tells Balgruuf he should stop sneaking down to the local tavern for a pint with the commoners. Balgruuf, being The Good Jarl and as hard-drinking as any Nord, refuses.
      • Also the first time you visit the Palace of the Kings, when Ulfric Stormcloak tells you that "only the foolish or the courageous approach a Jarl without summons." It's worth noting that the extra caution in Windhelm and Whiterun is justified, since Ulfric is leading a rebellion and Balgruuf is pissing off the Stormcloaks and the Imperials alike by trying to maintain neutrality - both are prime assassination targets.
      • Faleen (housecarl to Igmund) also confronts you the first time you approach him in Understone Keep.
      • Similarly averted in the Dawnguard expansion, where the only reason Lord Harkon agrees to allow the Dragonborn into the Castle Volkihar for an audience, is because they are escorting his daughter. If you turn down his offer to become a Vampire Lord as reward for your service, he spares your life but immediately banishes you from the premises.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, despite being a prince, Chrom does not put on airs or demand respect.
    Avatar: C-Chrom... I mean, Prince Chrom! Sire! Please forgive my dreadful manners!
    Chrom: Just Chrom is fine. I've never been one for formalities.
  • In Shining Force, in one of the towns about halfway through the game, the item and weapon shops are connected to the castle. When you approach them, the King comes running up to stand behind the counter, and says something like "Just because I'm King, doesn't mean I can't make some money!"
  • Averted in RuneScape. Players can freely approach the king and queen of Misthalin, yet the king and crown prince of Asgarnia do not even appear as ingame characters. One of the two kings of Kandarin is likewise accessible, yet the throne room guards of Miscellania will only allow a 'hero' in to see the king. These are some examples, but there is a bit more as well.
  • A frequent occurrence in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, though there are lampshades all over the place, and in most places some form of justification:
    • The Man Behind the Man pulling the strings for you (Kaocho and arguably Morgal),
    • Kraden having ingratiated himself with world leaders everywhere over the last thirty years, and during the events of The Lost Age (Champa, Yamatai),
    • The most heavily-lampshaded instance is when, after your awkward arrival into Ayuthay, you are immediately taken to see King Paithos... because he had a standing order that any Adepts who showed up were to be brought to him in case Amiti's father was with them.
      • This clearly runs in the royal family of Ayuthay. Amiti's reaction to learning a group of Adepts sent by their enemies have infiltrated the sanctuary? Personally greet them and offer Sacred Hospitality. And Amiti's mother was apparently a little more than friendly to an unknown foreign Adept about twenty years prior.
  • Might and Magic VI appears to have this, though it might just be that the convincing of the guards to let you in takes place off-screen — your commoner main characters do have a perfectly valid reason to see the Regent (proof of a plot against the Kingdom involving the missing King), but it isn't shown that you tell anyone before you see the Regent, and it wouldn't make sense to show the proof of it to the guards.
  • Averted in Tales of the Abyss, since the party consists of the son of a high ranking noble who's also nephew to the king, and fiance to the princess, who's also part of the party, and his personal servant who is later restored to his former status of noble, as well as the best friend and personal advisor to the emperor of another nation, personal guard to the highest religious authority in the game world (who also travels with the party) and a soldier who works personally for yet another high ranking religious authority and is a descendant of Yulia, giving her status in the Qliphoth. The party more or less has access to everywhere in the world, conveniently enough, which leads the aforementioned princess to wonder out loud if it was ordained by the score.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • Link needs to sneak past extensive (if incompetent) security just to reach Zelda, and only sees what is presumably the royal audience chamber through a window (which Zelda herself apparently has to spy through).
      • Darunia also bars himself off until a royal messenger arrives, although he apparently has an open door policy at all other times.
      • The Great Deku Tree seems like he's supposed to be like this, but Mido arbitrarily won't let Link through.
      • Averted with King Zora; only the Royal Family or its messengers (i.e. anyone who can play Zelda's Lullaby) can enter Zora's Domain.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Link is able to just waltz into the mayor's office during an important town meeting, and his wife's audience room (where she just kind of assumes that he's an investigator that she sent for). There's a receptionist who seems like she's supposed to control visitors, but she seems pretty disinterested.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Prince Sidon meets Link on a commonly used trail and invites him to meet with his father King Dorephan in Zora's Domain because Hylians lack the Zora's weakness to electricity. However, if you manage to skip that meeting spot and travel straight to the throne room, Sidon is instead prepared to escort Link out before realizing that he is a Hylian. Still, beforehand he can freely walk into the throne room and none of the guards will try to stop him.
      • In Gerudo Town, the throne room is guarded but lacks a door, which becomes conspicuous when the Gerudo chief Riju asks, "How did you get in here?" The guards seem to be a little more serious about guarding Riju's bedroom and will stop Link if he tries to walk past them, though before Riju grants him permission he can still sneak in.
  • King's Quest: Graham tends to take this approach to leadership. Justified by the fact he started his career as a low-level knight and hadn't any ambitions higher than serving the country of Daventry. He just happened to be the knight the dying Edward the Benevolent trusted most, which made him heir to the throne. Graham is very much a soldier and adventurer at heart and will ditch royal finery for his favorite red tunic and hat as soon as he's given opportunity: he's rarely seen wearing anything else, and according to the opening of the fifth game, makes a habit of walking through his kingdom unescorted.
  • Averted in Three the Hard Way. The party is only able to enter the palace because they are travelling with Duchess Fayette, and even the Duchess herself was only allowed to eventually meet the king because there was an ongoing conference between the King and his vassal dukes.
  • In Faria, one of the player's first tasks is to walk into the King's castle and tell him you want to Save the Princess. The manual Hand Waves this by mentioning that the player is specifically responding to the King's summons. The one time you aren't allowed to just walk into the castle is when an impostor has seized control.
  • In Fantasy Life, king Erik of Castele invokes this and insists on having commoners being able to come to his throne room to chat with him. His guards however want visitors to at least dress decently. The player first meets Olivia and Daemon/Damien (the rulers of the two other human kingdoms) as Castele's de facto ambassador and becomes quick friends with them. The player is free to come and go to their palaces once the story chapters in which they are introduced are finished and Olivia tands to spend lots of time outside her palace anyway.
  • Studiously averted in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Not only is security around Emperor Emhyr tight, but Geralt is forced to bathe and shave before being granted audience at Emhyr's request.
  • Asgore, King of All Monsters, is built up throughout Undertale as the final boss, the one who you have to get past in order to escape the monster populated Underground. However, as you approach his castle, you see notes telling you exactly where to find him and inviting anyone with any concerns to come and talk to him.
    • Possibly justified, given Asgore is a Hope Bringer and a Universally Beloved Leader, the kingdom appears to have a low crime rate, and anyone threatened by his regime live outside the Underground and probably don't even know Asgore's kingdom exists, so the chances of anyone having motive to assassinate him are pretty low. He's also a powerful sorcerer and one of the deadliest combatants in the Underground, so he can probably keep an open door policy since any attempt on his life during visiting hours would be suicidal.
  • In Princess Maker 2, this is downplayed. As the daughter of a hero, you have the right to visit the castle, but you won't be admitted to speak with anyone of importance if you don't have enough Decorum skill. Still, you can chat with the King all you like once you get that high, and you can meet the young prince every January regardless of your Decorum.
  • Played straight in Mount & Blade, but sometimes averted in Warband. In the latter, if you meet the King in the field, he'll give you the time of day, but admission to the royal palace during a feast is limited to nobles and tournament winners. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, meanwhile, completely averts it, as entering a keep demands you to bribe the guards, be a member of the owner's kingdom, or have sufficiently high renown.
  • Usually averted in most Might and Magic games. Getting into a castle requires either a key, a pass or status of some kind, though the specifics differ from game to game and castle to castle. If you have admittance to a castle, you can usually speak to the local lord or king (if he's there) and get his quests.
  • In The Lost Heir, you are the monarch starting in the middle of the second game, but commoners will come running up to you to ask for help or do business with you, and nobody thinks that that's odd. In the third game, you can try to rein in some of this if you want.
  • The society in King of Dragon Pass is made up of tough hunter/gatherer tribes who strongly believe in Sacred Hospitality. So anyone, no matter how foreign or poor, can and do randomly walk in and make requests of the chief. It helps that the chief's council is semi-democratic, and when a tribe gets too big (over 1000+ people) tensions will rise because now many families aren't represented on it. According to legend, the chief god Orlanth runs his court in exactly the same way.
  • In the adventure game Day of the Tentacle, of the protagonists, Hoagie, is sent back in time in the late 1790s and he finds the Founding Fathers of America at a mansion: George Washington (who at this point is the President of the USA), Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin. They are just lounging at a living room, smoking cigars or playing with a kite, with no guards or any security personnel to protect them. Hoagie, a complete stranger, can just speak with them and give items as he pleases.
  • Random events in Crusader Kings can sometimes give the impression that your Player Character has an open door policy and walks around their realm without entourages or bodyguards, letting just about anyone in their realm within arm's length with no problem. This can be justified playing as a tribal ruler or a minor count, not so much when playing as the Emperor of a major world power like The Byzantine Empire. Most events also don't check for alternate government types like horse nomads, leading to events like people trying to assassinate you by sabotaging the balcony of your yurt... and succeeding.
  • The Egyptians in Age of Mythology have access to the Pharaoh as a Hero Unit. While most of the time you'll be using him to empower an important buildingnote , he's also a healer, and can restore the health of anyone around him that's injured whether by command or by being left idle. He'll even patch his servants up faster than a Priest.
  • In Fate/Extella Link, Charlemagne dispenses with his title as the King of the Franks, simply asking Hakuno and the other Servants to call him Charlie or Chuck and treat him like any other Servant when they try to address him formally.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Soon after Aloy first arrives in the Carja capital of Meridian, she is escorted before Sun-King Avad, and thereafter can run up to speak to him at any moment. It's made clear that she is an exceptional case; there is a long line of petitioners when she first arrives, complaining that a savage outlander is allowed to skip the line. By this point, Aloy already has an impressive reputation as a problem-solver, a reputation only confirmed when she meets Avad and immediately helps him with a number of serious issues he is facing.
  • ZigZagged in Octopath Traveler: The royal palaces in both Atlasdam and Marsalim are both wide open, you can waltz into the throne room and the closest guards encourage people to seek the king's guidance... But the king himself is never present in said throne room (except in H'aanit's final chapter, where her audience with the king is perfectly justified).
  • Zig-zagged in Fallout: New Vegas: If you're following the storyline rather than exploring, by the time you see any of the major faction leaders face-to-face, you've been summoned by them and you do get challenged on the way through the Legion camp. However, in most cases there's nothing stopping you from walking up to any of the leaders after that point and striking up a conversation, and you can walk into multiple NCR military bases and talk to the people in charge without anyone even blinking. Most of the smaller faction leaders are easily accessed as well, with the only barriers between you and them being a single conversation or (in the case of the Boomers) a sprint through an artillery barrage, and those only happen the first time you approach.
  • In World Neverland, the king and queen roam the kingdom like any other NPC, and you're free to walk up and chat with them if you wish. In fact, they're as easy to befriend as any other NPC, and they even have special dialogue during certain events if you're close friends with them.
  • Hades: As far as royalty goes, and especially as far as deities go, Hades is unusually approachable by commoners. Just about any shade can come up to him in his throne and lay a grievance or a request on his desk so long as they stand in line, and other than a blunt denial he's unlikely to get too snappy about it.
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance Partly justified, partly averted. Henry, a blacksmith's son, has shockingly free access to sirs Divish, Hanush and Radzig, and gets away with running his mouth very freely. It is made clear very early on that this is because he is working for them, and because they all knew his recently-deceased father they are inclined to cut him a fair amount of slack. You can push it too far, though, and expect to have the rude slapped straight out of you if you do. The same goes if you mouth off to other authority figures too; for example, the Custodian of Sasau will have you pilloried if you sass him too much.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Very much not the case; most soldiers only ever see the Queens during the Homecoming ritual, when a soldier successfully lives out their ten year lifespan and dies in front of their Queen. This is a rare enough event that the Queen comes out to the colony and witnesses the event personally; the rest of the time, they're holed up in their castles, and even colony commanders rarely get a chance to see them. As it turns out, the "Queens" everyone knows are actually robot duplicates spouting Moebius propaganda. When the heroes find the real Queens, they're happy to travel the world with the team after having been trapped in one place for centuries, connecting with their people on a more personal level. Also overlaps with Royals Who Actually Do Something.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Very commonplace in Adventure Time, where civilians address monarchs with nicknames while partying in their palaces and royals tend to be either incompetently guarded, if they are at all. Occasionally justified: Princess Bubblegum considers herself a mother figure to her subjects and thus regularly consorts with them, while many of the other royals are teenagers and/or live modestly. Downplayed with the Fire Kingdom under the Flame King, who must be formally and subserviently addressed, even if he does allow the same level of access.
  • The Dragon Prince: Zigzagged with Ezran since he's just a young prince at the start of the show and most of the people he's friendly with are his close friends and family members. After Ezran becomes king in season 3 he's often seen accompanied by guards for formal occasions onwards, with the sole exception being when he pays a visit to Barius the baker to ask him to take care of his pet glowtoad Bait.
  • "Gerald McBoing! Boing! on Planet Moo": The king of Planet Moo is freer with his subjects than Earth sovereigns. When he finds out he doesn't have enough money to pay for Gerald's trip back home, he goes to a hock shop and pawns his crown.
  • Played for Laughs (but also subverted) in the House of Mouse Goofy segment How To Be A Gentleman. At one point, Goofy is presented to the Queen Of England to showcase the proper way to greet royalty. Naturally, Goofy bungles it up with such lines as Hiya, Queenie! and she hits him in the head each time.
  • My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts: King Haakon VII has to carry his own luggage to the palace after being selected as King of Norway, and Haakon has to open the palace door with a key.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: While Celestia and Luna are fairly well-guarded, Twilight lives in the town library (at least until said library is destroyed) and regularly goes about her business in Ponyville normally to the point that it's actually a pretty rare occasion when someone actually does treat her with the reverence you'd expect a princess to get. Her friends and their families in particular seem to mostly ignore the fact that she's technically royalty and treat her like anybody else. It's justified here, as most ponies already knew her before her coronation, and she's not really inclined to make them treat her differently. As Princess of Friendship this is basically her job.
  • In Peppa Pig, the Queen (who, for some reason, is the only human in a World of Funny Animals) is as friendly to Peppa and her schoolmates as every other adult on the show, even driving them on a bus tour throughout London.
  • The Simpsons: In Bart vs. Australia, Bart's prank call to an Australian man racks up an enormous bill. He declares he's going to take up the matter with his Member of Parliament, who's right outside his house. The two of them agree to contact the Prime Minister, so they run over to a nearby pond where the PM is relaxing and shout for him. Bonus points in that the Prime Minister doesn't react until they yell out his given name instead.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In the Whole Episode Flashback "Moon the Undaunted", we see a young River Johansen trying, and failing, to remember to be formal and deferential to Moon Butterfly now that she's queen.
    River: [to himself] Did I just call the Queen "pal"?!
    • This happens again in the present day, when Marco casually greets Moon with "Hey queen" in season 2's "Face the Music".
  • While the various royals of Sofia the First don't tend to interact much with commoners (with the exception of Sofia, who was a common girl until her mother married King Roland II), they also don't tend to have much security around their castles or public appearances. Unknown royalty (and impostors of such) can waltz in unannounced, even if the castle staff hasn't even heard of their kingdom before.
    • Seems to be played straight by the mermaids of Meroway Cove. At least one of the two princesses frequently mingles with the populace, and the palace doesn't seem to have doors. Queen Emiline and a merman who is presumably either her guard or advisor quickly recognize that Sofia isn't from the colony, which indicates that they're also familiar with the commoners.

    Real Life 
  • Early U.S. presidents were fond of doing this, starting with Andrew Jackson, who often invited working-class folks to his parties, which were informal and wild and featured whiskey and roast beef instead of champagne and caviar. Grover Cleveland made sure the White House's phone number was in the phone book and answered all of the calls himself; interesting to note, he also answered his own doorbell.
    • "Schott's Miscellany" includes a description of Presidential meet-and-greets: everybody (from foreign aristocrats to poor folks) gathered in a waiting room, lined up. They would then file through the meeting chamber, shake hands with the President and maybe exchange a few words, and file out. To be clear, there was no vetting process, no verification of why one wanted to meet the President, or what one intended to say to him. President William McKinley was assassinated during just such an event at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, and James Garfield was assassinated while walking unguarded into a crowded train station. In fact, Garfield's assassin had earlier gained entrance to the White House and met Garfield (he was trying to get a diplomatic post).
    • There was a time when anyone could walk up to the front door of the White House and knock. Exactly when this stopped is up to some debate - during the Civil War or World War II, but the fact is you once could.
    • For those touring the White House, from time to time, the tour group might run into a member of the First Family, usually the President or the First Lady, who are not busy and happy to talk a little with the tour group. Typically these are planned but not announced, and usually favors school groups.
    • Jeffery Dahmer, a notorious serial killer, once called up the Vice President while on a high school trip to D.C. and got a meeting with the Veep for his class. He wouldn't begin killing until just after he graduated high school.
    • As late as the 1950s, Harry Truman was taking morning strolls about town, accompanied by only a single guard. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the era of semi-unfettered (semi-fettered?) access to the President ended with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Though the Secret Service is surprisingly good at making it look like the President is mostly unguarded, don't be fooled. If you see the President, there are at least a dozen Secret Service agents close enough to tackle you and several more ready to shoot you. Also, don't be fooled by how chill the Secret Service are compared with your average goon-for-hire at an office building. They are chill because they are good at their job.

  • At the closing ceremony of the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Swedish King Gustav V praised American Jim Thorpe as the greatest athlete in the world. Thorpe's response? "Thanks, King!" This sort of thing tends to happen when people from countries that don't have royalty unexpectedly find themselves interacting with foreign royals. Usually more just awkward than threatening.
    • His son Gustaf VI faced even more informality after The World Cup in 1958: once he went down to the pitch to salute the victorious Brazilian team, the team dentist hugged him while saying "Hey King! How you doin'?".
  • Charlemagne to a great extent. As well as dressing very much like a commoner, it is also said of him that he would happily dine with commoners. His court was more or less a continuous feast, interrupted chiefly for sleep and prayers (if that), at which state business would occasionally be conducted; anyone making an appearance for any reason would be invited to participate in the merrymaking. Charlemagne is also said to have held education in such high esteem that he would sometimes sit in a schoolroom along with the children learning there (this is probably not true though: what is definitely true is that Charlemagne would have works of literature and such read to him while he bathed since he himself was illiterate).
  • Alfred the Great once had a set of petitioners follow him into his private chamber - in those days a separate building - and interrupt him while he was washing his face. He calmly toweled himself off while listening to their problem.
  • During the German occupation of Denmark in World War II, King Christian X took a daily ride through the streets of Copenhagen, unaccompanied. A German soldier is supposed to have asked "Who guards your King?", to which the response was "We all do."note  Despite Christian being a very autocratic man, he was beloved by doing this and mobbed daily, so it was probably literally true that anyone who tried to mess with the King would find himself facing several very angry Danes before he knew what had happened.
  • The original word King comes from the Germanic form meaning "leader of kin" or chieftain in other words. Germanic "Kings" were expected to party with their warriors and share out spoil with them. The poetic name for King is "ring-giver" meaning they gave out rewards to their followers including rings, items of jewelry that had a mystic significance because of their unending circularity and which were often attached to swords. The image expected was of a Barbarian Hero leading a Barbarian Tribe, rather than the center of attention at an extravagant ceremony.
  • Vladimir Lenin suffered a lot from his "What's up, Premier Dude" attitude in the middle of a civil war; one time, some gangbangers kicked him out of his car, the other time he was shot, fell ill because of the complications and died soon after. His successor, on the other hand, was very paranoid and anal about security.
    • "Lenin and petitioners" was a stock scene depicted in Soviet art and theater. Apparently, he received a lot of petitioning and complaining peasants. The artwork probably made this appear more common than it actually was though. Lenin deliberately (and very successfully) tried to cultivate an aura of folksiness in order to appeal to the masses, because he was an intellectual and disaffected member of the former elite.

  • Modern Scandinavian monarchies are very austere and down to earth, and the monarchs freely mingle with their people. They do maintain protocol as far as addressing them goes. Addressing them by the common "Du" ("You"), as opposed to the honorific "De", will often result in a sharp rebuke. Modern Dutch monarchs—who, although not Scandinavian, tend to hang out with the Scandinavian onesnote —are similar, but replace "Du" with "jou/je" and "De" with "u".
  • Norwegian kings (at least, Olav and Harald), are known for their commonality:
    • Olav V was particularly notorious for this. A story goes that he was on a military parade, and asked for a smoke. When requested what kind of cigarette, he answered bluntly "Hell, whatever, as long as it smokes..." Olav was loved for his ability to talk and converse with (almost) everyone.
    • When he first came to Norway after being elected kingnote , Haakon VII (Olav's father), who was not known for this, was actually not officially addressed as "Your Majesty", but rather as "Mister King".
    • As for the current Norwegian queen, Sonja: she actually asked a journalist to drop the honorifics and address her with the common "du"note . After this, most journalists skirt the issue by using the third-person: "Is the Queen enjoying herself?"
  • Many small countries have this kind of attitude toward their top people; for example, it is not very difficult for just about anyone to meet with the Prime Minister of Iceland.
  • In 1991, Washington, D.C. resident Alice Frazier greeted Queen Elizabeth II with a folksy "How are ya doin'?" and then pulled her into a hug. The queen smiled and quickly backed out of it. British sticklers for protocol were horrified and outraged, for one simply does not touch the queen. But it was Ms. Frazier's custom to greet every visitor to her home with a big warm hug, and she wasn't about to make any exceptions. Also, even the Rules Lawyers will acknowledge that most of the reason for these protocols is actually to protect the Queen from the anti-monarchists in her own country: who are much more likely to mean her harm than any American. Notably though, the Queen has gone farther than simply tolerating American casualness. She's learned to be jocular right back, which is precisely the point.
  • Defied in 2018 France, where French president Emmanuel Macron scolded a teenager who greeted him with "ça va, Manu?" ("how's it going, Manu?" — "Manu" being an endearing diminutive based on the first name Emmanuel) and briefly became memetic. It happened during a public ceremony commemorating Charles de Gaulle's Appeal of 18 June, and the boy was part of the audience.
  • There's an old apocryphal story about some British King who met a Quaker. Quakers are vehemently anti-monarchist, and indeed anti-hierarchical. As a peaceful way of protesting the monarchy, Quakers refused to take off their hats to the King (or indeed, anyone else) back when that was still a thing people did. The story goes that since someone needed to take his hat off, the King took his hat off to the Quaker. This is almost certainly not true though. Something similar did happen with Prince Albert when he visited an abolitionist rally: but it should be noted that the Prince Consort has nowhere near the same status as the actual monarch in Britain. It definitely didn't hurt his already well-cemented reputation as Modest Royalty though.
  • In 2023, a group of trail bicycle riders led by Andrew McAvoy, known as McTrailRider, encountered King Charles III when riding on Balmoral Estate. The encounter itself starts at 4:23 on the video.
    Another rider: ...and he's a minor celebrity in the mountain bike world.
    Charles III: Really?
    McTrailRider: Not compared to you, Sir!