I love books of all kinds, movies, music, and all that. We have so many more kinds of books today than we did before. Regular books, manga, graphic novels, audiobooks, and more. We have media that cover every subject under the sun, and we are still coming up with new spins on old stories. Unique characters that lead to new fandoms are still coming out. I count on my books and movies to help me check out and be somewhere else. With that, I become invested in the characters in those stories.
In my library of media, some of those stories have included royalty. There are some days it is a surprise that not all princesses are owned by Disney. I like royalty from everywhere, books, movies, and even comics. Of course, as a little girl, I wanted to be a princess. Today I am a bit more realistic. That looks like a whole lot of work. I will settle for reading and watching the princesses and queens. I like kickass women, royalty or otherwise. The following princesses are strong in their own ways.
The first princess that came to mind was Princess Meredith (Merry) NicEssus, from the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Merry went into hiding because her family was trying to kill her, especially once her father died. She was called back to court by her Aunt Andias, Queen of Air and Darkness, ruler of the Unseelie Sidhe. The Queen is ready to step down but leaves it up to who gets pregnant first, Merry or the Queen’s unhinged son, Cel. Eventually, Merry becomes Queen, but the fight still carries on even though it is apparent the goddess Danu has touched Merry. With the help of her husband, Merry fights her way away from Fairy again to keep her children and men safe as the murder attempts continue to happen. Merry’s magick is fierce and deadly. I love that she is not the classic sidhe build. The sidhe shape is tall and willowy, much like a supermodel. Merry is shorter and curvier and has a color of red hair that I would kill for. She is smart and tough but still has softer emotions.
The first of my Disney princesses is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, Crown Princess of Genovia, though she is mostly called Mia. Meg Cabot is the author of The Princess Diaries series. After the series found success, Disney snatched it up and made it into the movies (2001 and 2004) we have starring Anne Hathaway as Mia and Julie Andrews as Queen Clarisse Renaldi. Mia grew up knowing nothing of Genovia or her importance to the country. She had wild, unruly, curly hair and wore glasses, and was persistently picked on by the popular girls. Mia is mostly happy with the way her life is. Her best friend, Lily, is right by her side. Then comes the curve ball because her father died suddenly. Mia is whisked into the world, and the training and hilarity begin. Watching her go from “ugly duckling” (not that could ever be ugly) to her glow-up was incredible, and I want that. Her classmates continue to pick on her, and it gets worse now that she is a royal. The usually meek Mia finds her backbone and becomes the confident queen she was meant to be, both literally and figuratively. Not only am I jealous of her glow-up, but I want her grandma to be my grandma. I wish I could find the confidence Mia found.
The Princess Bride was written by William Goldman before it was made a movie in 1987. The movie starred Cary Elwes and the gorgeous Robin Wright. Princess Buttercup is probably the most delicate of the princesses on my list. Buttercup is a commoner who Prince Humperdinck wants to marry because of her incredible beauty. Unfortunately, he cannot marry a commoner, so she is made Princess of Hammersmith. Hammersmith is a small region in the kingdom of Florin. She grew up on a farm, and the boy that grew up with her was the one she fell in love with, Westley. He left to make his fortune so he could give Buttercup the life he felt she deserved. She received news that he died. In her depression, she eventually agreed to marry Humperdinck. She was kidnapped by three men foiling the planned kidnapped of Buttercup by the dread pirate Robert. Buttercup proved to be a damsel in distress, but I adore the love story. I wanted a love like that.
My second Disney princess is Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She is a smart, thoughtful, brave woman that loves to read. When her father is late coming home, she goes in search of him, finding him imprisoned at the Beast’s home. Belle asks to trade herself for her father, and the Beast agrees. Of course, Belle and the Beast are at odds at first, but eventually, they are able to get to know each other and fall in love. Belle didn’t know that her father had tried to rally the villagers to save Belle, and depending on the version you watch, he got very sick or locked up. Wanting to save her father, she goes to him, and the villagers attack Beast forcing Belle to choose Beast or freedom. I like both the Disney version and the one written by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve. In fact, I have watched several interpretations of this story, and “Belle” is always brave and true. I would love to talk to her and maybe invite her to the book club with me and my sister-in-law.
I almost forgot that Wonder Woman is a princess. Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, aka Princess Diana of Themyscira, is not only the daughter of Queen Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, but she is also the god Ares’s daughter, making her both royalty and divine. She is known on Themyscira as Princess Diana and was trained as a warrior since childhood. She has a lasso of truth, which forces the truth from anyone it is wrapped around, and indestructible bracelets, and I think her tiara is the same. She is super strong, can communicate with animals, and can fight like no other. I wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was a kid. It wasn’t until much later that I found out about Diana’s story, but it only solidified my desire to be like her. Though as a kid, I was really glad my parents didn’t have a lasso of truth but wanted to go on a ride in her invisible jet. Not to mention she has a Greek god for a dad? Sign me up!
Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) is a spin on the Cinderella story. I know, duh, Andie, it’s in the title. Danielle’s (Drew Barrymore) father is a wealthy widower. He remarries so that Danielle has a mother. Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) has two daughters, Marguerite (Megan Dodds) and Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey). Rodmilla does not like Danielle, nor does Marguerite. Jacqueline wants to befriend Danielle, but Rodmilla doesn’t allow it. Danielle’s father dies unexpectedly as he is leaving on business. Rodmilla runs the estate into the ground but still treats Danielle as a servant and beneath her and her daughters. Danielle is a troublemaker and smart ass. She comes across Prince Henry, and they become friends, but she lies about who she is. She leads him to believe she is a lady when she is only a commoner. She speaks freely to Henry about the state of the people of the kingdom and even saves him from the gypsies. Henry and Danielle fall in love, and when he finds out Danielle deceived him, he is rightfully angry but turns his back on her. When she returns home, she is sold to pay off Rodmilla’s debts, she saves herself even as Henry comes to his senses and charges to save her himself. I admire her strength and poise. Though she is a commoner, she can hold and conduct herself as a lady.
What do you think of my picks? At first, I was only going to do my top five, but I couldn’t leave Princess Danielle off of this list. Who are your favorite princesses? Or princes, queens, or kings? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, have fun storming the castle!