Rebel Prince

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

King Francis: I will simply deny you the crown... ...and... live for ever!

Prince Henry: Good. Agreed. I don't want it.

Charming or not, he's the spear counterpart to the Rebellious Princess; born to privilege as the Heir apparent of a kingdom, company, or some other sort of organization who does not want to assume whatever his princely responsibilities are. Always Male because kings and C.E.O.s tend to think only a son deserves the inheritance and when it is the daughter she always seems to want it passed on to her. The problem with a Rebellious Princess on the other hand is that she has the royal position but none of the inheritance that her brothers have. The Prince does not necessarly dislike government, in fact any aristocrat who opposes a hereditary government despite his position would qualify.

It might be justified by circumstances in the story, or he might straight up just not be born for his stuffy charmed life. Of course, just because he doesn't want his responsibilities doesn't mean that he won't take advantage of the privileges his lifestyle has to offer like an ungrateful teenager or White Prince. Often, after he learns to accept his life he will end up becoming The Wise Prince.

Contrast Reluctant Ruler who's immediately ready to be the Wise Prince. Neither is the Rebel Prince is an Evil Prince who's rebelling against his father about who gets to be king, not because he doesn't want to be king. In each example please state when he refused or wanted to refuse his inheritance.

Examples of Rebel Prince include:

Anime and Manga

  • Justified by Kaoru Hanabishi from Ai Yori Aoshi who went from reluctant to rebellious. He was the eldest son of the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu, and was set to take over the zaibatsu after his father retired. Yet Kaoru never felt at home in the Hanabishi family and left to live alone in self-imposed exile after his mother died. Not to mention, there's the physical and mental abuse that his tyrannical grandfather subjected him to...
  • Lelouch from Code Geass may count as this, but its hard to tell since the writers play with this trope in every way possible. He definitely hates Britannia's Social Darwinism, and initially wishes to destroy the empire he ends up taking over in a bloodless coup. In the end, he and his rival/best friend/frenemy learn to compromise for the sake of taking over and unifying the world.
    • Renouncing his entitlement to the throne like Lelouch did in the beginning is in fact the very thing every rebel prince wishes he would do.
    • In a slight degree, Suzaku may count as well.
  • Nobu in Nana is the heir of his family's Ryokan (Japanese inn) but he'd rather throw it away to just play the guitar.
  • Macross Frontier's Alto Saotome, while not technically royalty, counts. The heir to a well known family of Kabuki actors, he instead went and pursued his dream of becoming a pilot.


  • Prince Henry from Ever After finds it insufferable to be defined by his position.
  • Aragorn from Peter Jacksons's Lord of the Rings film adaptations chose exile instead of leadership of his people.
  • 2001's Princess of Thieves has Prince Philip who's head aches just to contemplate a list of king's duties.
  • Justified by Simba who thought Mufasa's death was his fault. He then stopped being the White Prince and ran away in The Lion King.
  • Eddie from The Prince And Me just didn't want to be Prince Edvard for once in his life.
  • Lord Dashwood in What a Girl Wants gave up his seat in the house of lords to run in the house of commons.
  • Flicka's main character Katy McLaughlin has big dreams of administering her father's Wyoming horse ranch one day but Rob, her father, wants her brother Howard to. Howard wants to let his sister take over so he can attend college, but has a hard time telling his father.
  • Spun differently in The Sword and the Sorcerer. The Lost Heir, having become a freebooting swashbuckler, positively gloats in a scene where he watches someone else grab the headaches of the crown "and all that goes with it."


  • The historical fantasy The Stone Prince, from Fiona Patton's Branion series, is almost a retelling of Frederick the Great's youth with a somewhat happier ending. The Crown Prince isn't tough enough for his mother, wants a gay lover, disobeys her order to give up his boyfriend's name, and becomes a literal rebel prince by running off and raising an army. It is immediately stomped, but impressed by his determination, the prince's mother does not insist on executions.
  • Prince Johnathan is an inverted version in the Tortall books. He wants to defeat demons and become the Voice of the People to be the best king he can be.
  • In Sondok, Princess of The Moon And Stars When young King Chinpyong came to the throne he would hunt for days, completely ignoring the needs of the kingdom.
  • Emperor Gregor Vorbarra of Barrayar experiences this, especially in The Vor Game.
  • And in The Horse and His Boy, Prince Corin of Archenland is elated when his long-lost elder-by-three-minutes twin turns up. "I won't have to be king! .... Princes have all the fun!"
  • Nevyn of the Deverry novels started out as this. As spare to the spare to the throne, with another spare behind him, all he had to look forward to was a life spent hanging around the court and wasting his family's money. His father disagreed with his decision to take up dweomer as a hobby, resulting in him being disowned and kicking of the sequence of events that got three people killed and Prince Galrion of Deverry starting on the path that made him become Nevyn, Master of the Aethyr.
  • Jorg in Prince of Thorns ran away from home and became a bandit leader.

Live Action TV

  • Logan from Gilmore Girls sees only one door, and feels he's being pushed through it.
  • The Syfy mini-series Alice, reveals mid-way, that Jack Chase is Prince Jack Heart, the Big Bad 's son, helping Alice and the Wonderland Resistance to overthrow his mother.
  • There's Power Rangers Time Force with the Red Ranger, Wesley "Wes" Collins. Mr. Collins wanted Wes to grow up to inherit the family business from him, but his grooming served only to alienate Wes.
  • Childlike Ascended Fanboy Hiro Nakamura of Heroes doesn't want to be his father's successor as CEO of Yamagato Industries, and is obviously unsuited to the job. His sister, on the other hand, would like nothing more, but at first Kaito doesn't see this.
  • Stargate Atlantis establishes that Colonel Sheppard is one of these. He was the elder son of a late energy tycoon and fell out with his family when he joined the Air Force instead of taking over the family business. It's not until his father's death that Sheppard and his brother attempt to reconcile.


  • Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid, particularly in the Broadway play in which he states he prefers life on the sea.
  • Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV (less so in Real Life) takes on this role as a PR gambit (mostly).
  • Fiyero Tiggular from the musical Wicked.

Video Games

  • Sabin from Final Fantasy VI bolts after disagreeing with the terms of succession to the throne, a coin flip between him and his twin brother Edgar.
  • Lyner Barsett from Ar tonelico before the start of the game: he'd rather protect Lady Shurelia instead. It's implied that this is because he still subconsciously remembers Misha, and if he takes Leard's place, he'll be responsible for putting Misha's daughter, granddaughter, and perhaps great-granddaughter through the same Training from Hell before sending them to sing their lives away to imprison a Sealed Evil in a Can. Thankfully, he manages to cause Mir to undergo a Heel Face Turn, and doesn't become Commander except possibly on Shurelia's route, as the husband of the goddess.
  • Lex, Holin and Jamuka from Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War. Levin is this until the events of chapter 4.
    • Shanan takes up the Rebel Prince mantle in Part 2, since he's one of the leaders of Celice's army which is hell-bent into destroying the tyrannial Empire of Grandbell. If he makes it to the end of the game, he's crowned as the King of Isaac.
    • Also Hector from Fire Emblem Blazing Sword, who while still loyal to Ostia decided to do things his own way.
    • Ephraim from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones falls under this trope as well. He actually stated in a flashback that he would prefer to have his sister Eirika take the throne while he could run off to become a mercenary. A large part of his Character Development in the game is him growing out of this trope.
  • Alistair of Dragon Age is the illegitimate son of a king, and while he knows that he might be considered an heir to the throne now that the latest king has been killed without an heir he certainly doesn't want to be king: "I'm a follower, not a leader."

Western Animation

  • Mark Chang from The Fairly OddParents.
  • The king in Cinderella seems to be of the opinion that his son is this, because he hasn't settled down and produced some heirs yet. This viewpoint gets a little more credit when the prince is acting very disinterested at the beginning of the ball, going as far as looking up at his father in the balcony and visibly yawning.(In the film's time period, this could be likened to flipping the bird at his dad.)

Real Life

  • from the British Royal House: King Edward VIII (who abdicated the throne on his younger brother George, father of Queen Elizabeth, to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson).
  • The early life of Frederick the Great reads like a nasty Deconstruction of the Rebel Prince. Tyrannical, controlling father whom he doesn't get along with? Check. Enjoys scholarly and artistic things his father doesn't approve of? Check. Resents the idea of an arranged marriage? Check. Plans to run away and start a new life with his best friend and possible lover? Check. Gets caught, is made to watch as his father has his friend beheaded, suffers a Heroic BSOD and never talks about it again? ...Err.
  • The anarcho-communist philosopher Pyotr (Peter) Kropotkin was born the heir to the title of Prince. Under the influence of republican teachings, he dropped his princely title at the age of 12 and even rebuked his friends when they called him by title. He held a great respect for the common worker, and due to his political activism and ideologies, he was sometimes called "the Anarchist Prince".
    • "A man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia." - Oscar Wilde