Royals Who Actually Do Something

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Theoden, King, leads the charge of the Riders to save Minas Tirith.

Swan: He's a pretty good old boy. First prince I ever seen that tries to do what a prince is supposed to do.
Croaker: Rarer than frog hair, then. I'm sure.


Due to the Ermine Cape Effect, Everything's Better with Princesses, and other such tropes, there is a belief that being royalty means doing almost nothing else but, well, being royalty. Aside from all the pomp, ceremony, galas, balls, intrigue, and the occasional dealing with actual government of the country, royalty just doesn't do anything else with their time.

This has some Truth in Television, such as the court at Versailles or the Forbidden City in China,[1] but not uniformly so. Just as often as not, royalty would actually do something worthwhile with their time. For centuries from prehistoric Mesopotamia through to the Middle Ages, kings were expected to be strong warriors to defend their holdings and inspire the men around them; in fact, "strong man who can lead the other men of the village in fighting off enemies" was probably the original meaning of kingship. Three examples are Alexander The Great, Charlemagne and Genghis Khan, kings who gained and kept their power through their skills as generals and warriors and, in the case of the latter two, administrators.[2]

This convention also led to the establishment of the feudal system. It was actually a deal between the king, nobles, and serfs (though for the serfs it was usually an offer they couldn't refuse). The serfs would work on the land owned by their lords, and the lords would train to be warriors (aka, knights), who would defend the kingdom against invaders, like the Vikings.[3]

Either way, being royalty does not necessarily mean a life of leisure or boredom (depending on how you view it). And fiction occasionally nods to this.

Note that this trope means that the person is still acting as royalty, just doing other things. So a Rebellious Princess does not count, since she is getting away from that kind of life. King Incognito may count, if the king is attempting to learn things to influence how he reigns; to do it for fun, even if it proves educational, does not count.

It should also be noted that much of the "activities" done by royalty (charity events, sport, arts, etc.) are enabled by their being part of the idle rich, instead of having to work for a living. Also, especially in the case of charity events and good causes, this is often a calculated public relations maneuver, which is not to say that it makes the activities any less of a good impact, there are simply multiple reasons for said activities.

The French have a phrase for this: Noblesse Oblige. It means that the nobility should fulfill the responsibilities of their position.

See also In Its Hour of Need.

Compare Warrior Prince, Politically-Active Princess, Modest Royalty, Authority Equals Asskicking, Non-Idle Rich, and "President Action" under Our Presidents Are Different. Especially prone to What's Up, King Dude?

Contrast Idle Rich, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, Authority in Name Only, Orcus on His Throne, Adipose Rex.

Examples of Royals Who Actually Do Something include:

Anime and Manga

  • Pretty much every chapter 'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess features the protagonist’s magic sword saying that the princess is a badass warrior who held the position of “Commander of the third legion of the imperial army” and has been forced to live a rather austere life (except luxury food), which is supported with very brief flashbacks. In the present however, the princess pretty much does nothing except cave-in to her captor’s interrogations.
In the same series, the demon king is never shown fighting. That said he presumably takes an active role during the time battles play out, as he refuses to wage major battles at certain times the intelligence indicates would be advantageous because it creates a scheduling conflict (such as his wednesday cram school, or favorite anime coming out on sunday (and he is a man that watches his anime live!)). However what he does during the battles his army fights is not clear. The demon king might be willing to delegate small battles to subordinates as Kuroru was credited with conquering a town.
  • Sailor Moon: Although she doesn't know at the time, Usagi is a princess who fights evil.
    • And she later becomes a Queen who fights evil.
    • Endymion/Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask also counts, as in his first life he was prince of the Earth's most powerful kingdom and later becomes Usagi's husband and King. They Fight Evil. The other Sailor Soldiers of the solar system count too, as they were royalty of their own planets in their previous lives.
  • In Code Geass:
    • The Emperor strongly encourages his children to take up positions of influence (and fly around in a Humongous Mecha). Social Darwinist philosophy and all that. However, the Emperor himself rarely takes an active role in running Brittania, considering war and diplomacy to be "mundane affairs" unworthy of his attention. He's a little too busy trying to kill God to worry about that sorta stuff.
    • Euphemia's position as sub-viceroy of Area 11 was supposed to merely be a figurehead to attend to public functions while her sister ran the country (or rather, try to destroy the resistance movements), but she spent most of her time trying to improve things for the oppressed people of Japan, to the point of exceeding the technical limits of her power.
    • Emperor Lelouch more than exceeds this, he flies head-on into a nuke!
  • Hanon in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch fights evil with everyone else, but constantly worries about her country and does whatever she can to help her people. Later, everyone in the cast takes charge of rebuilding their kingdoms as well as sending aid to that of the Rebellious Princess, whose running away would be seen as irresponsible even if it hadn't led to all it did.
  • In Yakitate!! Japan, the royal family of Monaco intentionally send their children out to learn careers as commoners so that they may rule better. Of course, the current king learned to bake bread.
    • To be fair, if he'd had the talent for it, breadmaking could have resulted in him being able to make disposable time machines.
  • Azalyn, the Empress of the Raaglon Empire in Irresponsible Captain Tylor, rules from the throne room of the Melva, the biggest, baddest ship in the Raaglon fleet. She's even involved in some of the strategic decision-making, and the Melva (though normally kept behind the lines) sees some main battle action.
  • Princess Allura/Farla, became a pilot for Voltron after Sven was killed injured.
  • The Kings of The Twelve Kingdoms work their fingers to the bone. Lazy royalty are an offence against the heavens.
  • Raoh, the "Fist King" in Fist of the North Star not only rides with his men into battle but is the best fighter around. By contrast, the Big Bad Thouzer/Souther/Thouza rarely fights unless he is forced to do so, instead leaving things to his army of Mooks.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has several princesses who are actually useful:
    • Theodora supported Negi's father Nagi during the war, and helped in Negi's training and match with Jack Rakan.
    • Princess Arika fought alongside Nagi at least once.
    • Then we have Asuna, another, much older princess, who has been fighting next to Negi for quite a while. Of course she doesn't know that she's a princess...
    • And lastly, Negi himself, who is a prince by virtue of being Arika's son. Of course, like Asuna, he wasn't initially aware of his royal lineage.
  • Sankt Kaiser Olivie of Ancient Belka in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who, as an Ancient Belkan queen, not only qualifies as a Warrior Prince(ss), but was also the one to unify the remnants of Ancient Belka after they destroyed themselves, and was instrumental in the forming of the Time-Space Administration Bureau.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the emperor Hotohori accompanies Miaka on her quest to find the other Suzaku warriors, and is handy in combat against zombies, bandits, and the occasional possessed comrade. He is also the person who convinces Miaka she is the priestess who will save his kingdom.
  • In Saiunkoku Monogatari, Emperor Shi Ryuuki turns out to be this kind of ruler; aside from taking a keen personal interest in making sure his kingdom is not only prosperous but progressive, he's also left the palace in secret on more than one occasion to help Shuurei and other characters. He's also a skilled swordsman and has personally fought off assassins and fought alongside Seiran, Shuuei, and Ensei.
  • Vivi in One Piece, the princess of the desert kingdom of Alabasta. She successfully infiltrated the evil organization that was attempting to overthrow her government, as well as take an active role in helping the Straw Hats stop Sir Crocodile from completing his plan.
    • And we now have the royalty of the Ryuugu kingdom. King Nepture isn't afraid to protect his subjects when the need arises, including doing an underwater version of Kamehame Hadoken to utterly defeat the New Fishmen Pirates. His deceased wife Queen Otohime stopped a thief by slapping him several times and was very active in trying to promote peace between mermen and humans while making time to be a caring mother of four, a school teacher and a rescue worker. The three princes are all Warrior Princes and are said to be the strongest of the Nepture army which they also lead.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, the Juraian Royal Family are the baddest mofos around, and additionally are paired off with sentient spaceships capable of generating super weapon fields of invulnerability. They actually have an Imperial Guard whose job is mainly to evacuate the civilians if somebody attacks the royals and they have to fight back.
  • Crest of the Stars: noble Abh in general are required to serve in the military, and members of the royal families are expected to be extra awesome. The one who gets to be Commander-in-Chief of the Star Forces becomes the Crown Prince and next Emperor
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the main character, as well as most Periphery clan leaders. Torumekian and Dorok royalty also lead from the front, especially Princess Kushana and both Emperors.
  • The eponymous heroine of Princess Mononoke doesn't count, as her title is merely a nickname, but Prince Ashitaka certainly does.
  • Utawarerumono: |Hakuoro, once he takes over the country by force. After that he's a very responsible leader, but not afraid to kick ass when necessary. On the other hand, the other emperors also tend to take a very hands on approach to war and politics.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh, the spirit of the Puzzle is a pharaoh, and not only is he one of the lead characters (and therefore takes part in everything), but in the Memory World arc he fights on the front lines with the rest of his court and the army.
  • Silvia Lautreamont in Seikoku no Dragonar and her sisters are this.
  • The Saillune royal family in Slayers, natch. Princess Amelia is a White Mage/Shamanistic Mage who is very willing to take on the Walking the Earth lifestyle in order to help others, which she does several times, namely sending out for medical aid for the impoverished kingdom of Taforashia in the anime. It's also been shown that she is a decent diplomat (or at least tries to be). Prince Phillionel also believes in going out in order to fight crime, and is a prime example of the Charles Atlas Superpower trope. It's implied that Amelia's Missing Mom was also a sorceress.
    • Averted Trope with Princess Martina, a Princess in Rags and Rich Bitch.
    • Subverted Trope with Princess Gracia, otherwise known as Naga the Serpent and Amelia's missing older sister. She takes on traveling in austere settings and will help others, but is a sub-par fighter, a Bottle Fairy, haughty, and expects fame and dotes on herself without doing much work (just watch the movies; Lina's the one who gets all the recognition for a reason).
    • Pokota/Prince Posel of Taforashia, an anime-exclusive character, is also this: a powerful practitioner of Black Magic and all too willing to save his disease-stricken kingdom.
  • Mist Gun, in Fairy Tail is apparently a prince. While that one came out of no where he's done a heck of a lot more than he usually gets credit for.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, Yuuri goes out and meets with people and does things, much to Wolfram's chagrin.
    • [deep breath] Technically this country has no royalty other than the reigning monarch, since it's a divinely appointed rather than hereditary position, but the Twelve Families are pretty much royalty. This causes Gwendal, as ruling lord of the Voltaire line and the Only Sane Man in Yuuri's administration, to spend all his time up to his eyebrows in work and Wolfram (not in the direct line of descent, but raised as the son of the ruler) to train as a soldier and operate as a Royal Brat. Conrad is not particularly noble by this reckoning, despite his mother's status, and thus exempted.
    • There are a lot of rulers in this show, actually. Flurin, ruler of Caloria, appears to actually do things. More things after she stops pretending to be her own dead husband. Antoine of Francia never did anything before kicking Dai Shimaron out of his country; insufficient data on Cabalcade's shiny-headed rulers. The king of Sho Shimaron is conspicuously absent for the first two seasons and active in a social, schemey way in the third after pleading helplessness to excuse all the trouble his subjects gave the main character previously. Running Dai Shimaron appears to consist of presiding on a throne and running schemes to conquer the world.
      • Which makes you wonder what Conrad would have done with himself if circumstances actually had required that he press his claim to the Shimaron throne.
  • Every single Kage in every country in the world of Naruto. Prime examples are the fourth Hokage of the main character's village, who died protecting his village, and the fifth Hokage in the same village, who almost killed herself healing injured villagers on a large scale during a massive assault. The factors of being a village leader is Wisdom, Experience, a desire to protect, complimented with the ability to kick ass.
  • Kashue the Mercenary King in Record of Lodoss War is a very competent ruler who actually fights well.
  • Akira Takizawa in Eden of the East spends the last of his money as a Seleção to make himself the Prince of Japan, in order to try and "fix" the country and finish his work as a Savior.
  • Ling Yao and May Chang from Fullmetal Alchemist, the 12th Prince and 19th Princess of Xing respectively. Due to the Succession Crisis occurring in their country, their roles in the story are triggered by their active search for a means to gain favor in inheriting the throne. Both are highly skilled in martial arts, and May Chang is also capable of using the alternate form of Alchemy called Alkahestry. Also, throughout the story Ling would frequently tout his belief that King's exist to serve their people. Which he intends to uphold, considering that once he secures his place as successor the first thing he promises to do as Emperor is quell the warring between the clans of his country.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: While Sovereign Degwin Zabi doesn't do much beyond sit on his throne and look depressed, his children are very involved in the running of the One Year War. "Well Done, Son" Guy Garma leads the Earth Invasion Force, Genius Bruiser Dozle and Evil Genius Kycillia are both highly respected fleet commanders, and Non-Action Guy Gihren organises the war effort, plots overall strategy, and keeps up troop morale via Rousing Speech. Even Mineva Zabi, Dozle's daughter and heiress of Zeon, is quite active throughout Gundam Unicorn, though technically by this point her family had lost most of the power it once had, so her title was mostly empty.
    • Turn A Gundam: Dianna Soriel, Queen of the Moon. She personally leads the Moonrace returning to Earth, and is shown to be very involved in her society's administration. She's extremely active throughout the story, often present on the front lines of battle, even helping out at a war hospital at one point (she was incognito at the time). In fact, one of the main reasons the other noble houses of the Moon agreed with her going to Earth was to get her out of the way so they could rule more directly.
    • This seems to be a trend in Gundam; we also have Relena Peacecraft, princess of the Sanc Kingdom in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (later Queen of the World) who is a very active diplomat on the global stage, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and its sequel have Cagalli Yula Atha, a princess of ORB who far more at home on the battlefield than in government.
  • A good portion of Kimba's family from Kimba the White Lion fills this role.
  • Windaria: Both Warrior Prince Roland and Badass Princess Veronica personally lead their armies.
  • Two of the three ruling princesses of Kirameki Project do something worthwhile: the eldest is the Commander in Chief of the country's armed forces, and the middle sister is a genius mecha designer and builder. The youngest princess plays with this trope: she wants to be the Defender of the Realm, but isn't very good at it.

Comic Books

  • Common in superhero universes. Among others:
    • Black Bolt, Medusa, and the rest of the Royal Family of The Inhumans.
    • Both Aquaman and Namor are kings of their respective versions of Atlantis (though the latter not always a hero).
      • So what if Namor isn't always a hero? The trope is "Royals Who Actually Do Something", not "Royals Who Actually Do Something Nice".
    • Black Panther is primarily a king and does superheroics as a sideline, as did his ancestors.
    • Black Adam was ruling his country until his massive non-Heroic BSOD.
    • Queen Hippolyta of Themyscira isn't above getting her hands dirty (and in one bit of comics continuity, was Wonder Woman during World War II). Her daughters, Diana and Donna, are more than happy to follow in their mother's footsteps. Diana as the current Wonder Woman and Donna as the first Wonder Girl (now Troia). Donna's close friend (and fellow Titan) Starfire is also a princess, though whether or not she counts as "acting" monarchy is debatable since she's in willing exile.
    • Maxima was Queen of Almerac and had a period as a superhero before pulling a Heroic Sacrifice by blocking a planet destroying blast.
  • Under his title as King of Dreams, Morpheus of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman seems to fit here - one later issue runs through a week of the royal itinerary of diplomacy, judicial duties, and dreamcrafting as a counterpoint to the frequent stories of Morpheus going out and doing things. Also, the first volume is all about him actively going out and recovering his three talismans of power, which are needed to restore the Dreaming; in his absence, it decayed badly. He also re-captures renegade dreams/nightmares, and stops a vortex that would have destroyed his realm and the mortal world. It's really only in the later books that he starts going on more personal quests.
  • Princess Sally Acorn in Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog comic led La Résistance against Dr. Robotnik. Blaze and Monkey Khan also count. Sally's suddenly-revealed brother, who later became king (gotta keep Sally a princess) has also been seen Dual-Wielding scimitars. Don't mess with the Acorn clan.
  • Several main characters of Bone are either Royalty or of Royal Descent:
    • Thorn is a princess although she was not raised as one.
    • Gran'ma Ben was also one.
    • Which meant that her sister Briar (AKA the hooded one) is also a princess.
  • Princess Zelda and her father, in the Nintendo Comics System adaptation of The Legend of Zelda, are both very involved with the people of their kingdom. Zelda in particular is shown going on goodwill visits to distant cities and putting herself in harm's way to protect her people.
  • During his brief reign as king of the planet Sakaar, The Hulk did a lot of things, from actively achieving peace with a group of Starfish Aliens to personally helping in the reconstruction of his damaged kingdom. After the three days of peace and prosperity ended in a massive explosion, he personally led an army to Earth to do a lot of other things, which amounted to punching a lot of people who deserved it in the face repeatedly.
  • The Green Lantern Corps includes Princess Iolande of Betrassus, now ruler of her planet since everyone else in the royal family is dead. Iolande, however, much prefers being in the corps.

Fan Works

  • In Keepers of the Elements, Queen Tiana is the most prominent example of this. She is fluent in a few languages, has been Queen since the age of fifteen and is currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the same time. She also happens to be quite proficient with machines in general and loves riding her flying motorcycle as seen in the scene in which she is introduced.
  • Baron Beltorey in The Tainted Grimoire. For example, when an underground sport was causing harm to civilians, he took measures to minimise the harm and in the process, also turned it into a legitimate sporting event.

Film - Animated

  • Disney Animated Canon examples:
    • The Little Mermaid, Prince Eric is a competent sailor. Ariel fights Ursula when the sea witch turns her dad into a sea plant and, prior to that, risks drowning to swim to a ship and prevent Ursula from marrying an enchanted Eric. Her daughter Melody takes on Ursula's sister in the sequel.
    • From Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Kida is quite the warrior.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Prince Philip kills a sorceress-turned-dragon to save the kingdom and his beloved.
    • The prince of Cinderella. In the second film, he dives out a window, races at top speed on his horse, jumps onto the sail of a moving ship, slides down on his sword, and blocks a magic spell with that same sword all for the sake of Cinderella. She herself jumps from a runaway carriage onto a horse and rides back to the palace just so her stepmother won't steal her happiness and deceive the prince in the third movie.
    • Enchanted: As out-of-it as he is, Prince Edward is still pretty brave to dive through a Portal Pool to a strange land, fight a "metal monster" (bus) with a sword, and search New York, just to save Giselle.
    • Original plans for Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs's prince included him escaping from a water-filled dungeon after refusing to marry the Queen. The movie also implies that he spends the entire movie searching for her while the plot is going on.
    • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast qualifies, as he does rather effectively govern a large household and lands. He also fights wolves in the snow and (eventually) helps to fend of an invasion of his castle.
    • Pocahontas, with pretty much only John Smith's help, defuses the Native American/European tension.
    • The Princess and the Frog: For a prince, Naveen sure does adapt quickly to life as a frog. Then, at the end of the movie, both Tiana and Naveen play this straight, with Tiana running the restaurant of her dreams and Naveen alternating between waiting tables and performing live music.
  • In Thumbelina, Prince Cornelius covers a surprising distance (considering his size), nearly dies in a frozen lake, and fights a large irate frog to save Thumbelina.
  • Stoick in How to Train Your Dragon takes his role as chief of Berk seriously and is often the one to lead the charge.

Film - Live Action

  • Star Wars:
    • Princess Leia was of course a key leader in the rebellion. Even though her biological mother wasn't really royalty by inheritance (Naboo being best described as a noble sovereign republic, albeit one with a maximum of two four-year terms for the ruler), her foster adoptive mother was part of the Alderaan royal family.
    • Padmé herself is quite an active queen, in part because she posed as one of her own maids-in-waiting whenever she wasn't needed for royal duties, allowing her to get involved in important but "unofficial" matters.
    • Palpatine is often seen throughout the movies signing bills, pronouncing executive orders, addressing the Senate, and otherwise chancelloring about.
  • 300: King Leonidas of Sparta leads his troops on a suicide mission. Truth in Television.
  • King Arthur in all various film adaptations.
  • In Uwe Boll's In the Name of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, King Konreid of Ehb personally leads his soldiers into battle against the Krug. While Farmer, after finding out that he is Konreid's long-lost son, leads a one-man mission to find his wife and kill the Evil Sorcerer. Duke Fallow is a subversion, as he'd much rather enjoy all the perks of being royalty without any responsibility. That said, he's pretty handy with a sword.
  • Nyssa Damaskinos in Blade II is the daughter of Overlord Eli Damaskinos, one of the rulers of the vampire nation. Despite this, she is a member of the Blood Pack, an elite team of vampire warriors trained to hunt Blade. She actually proves a match to him during their first encounter. It is also made clear that her father does not consider her any different than any other vampire.
  • In Superman II General Zod provides a counterexample. Once he wrests obedience from the President of the United States he seems content to hang out in the White House without even an orderly to bring him tea.
  • In Cameron's Robin Hood despite being an upcoming Big Bad for a potential sequel, Prince John is the first to charge into the siege of upcoming French, eager to prove his worth.


  • Aerin, heroine of The Hero and the Crown is a sword-wielding princess who saves her kingdom.
  • The royalty in Dune basically do nothing but scheming against one another and actually ruling their domains. Court functions and leisure occasions seem to only serve the purpose of furthering their schemes for power.
    • Though the Duke personally visited the mining of the Spice with a local guide to get a hands-on glimpse at the techniques.
      • It's actually a plot point that the Atreides family is the exception to the rule in this regard, which inspires fanatical devotion in their servants and retainers. Paul's grandfather Paulus, for example, was gored to death by a bull while trying to entertain the people of Caladan with bullfighting.
      • Both of the Harkonnen nephews can be pretty active. Glossu Rabban is utterly ruthless and prefers to personally execute... well, anyone who displeases him. In the prequel novels, he also leads the Harkonnen forces in an attack and flies the first no-ship. Feyd-Rautha, while not as active, does participate in gladiatorial combat (although, it's usually rigged in his favor). At the end of the first novel, he even challenges Paul Atreides to a duel that will decide the fate of the galaxy. In fact, the prequel novels are full of aristocrats actually doing things, including Paul Atreides and Dominic Vernius. Whether or not you consider the prequel novels canonical is a case of YMMV.
  • In the Belisarius Series, most of the royalty on the good guys side are involved in something. Besides plotting military and political strategy they have their own ideas for technological, economic, or legal improvements to their respective countries. The bad guys royalty mainly want to make their subjects shed rivers of blood so they can claim the credit for victories they had little to do with.
  • The Discworld's King of Lancre is an example of this trope, getting involved in everything from crop rotation to the invention of the Lancrastrian Army Knife.
    • Although his subjects would rather prefer he didn't, and stick to kinging. Similarly, Magrat initially finds the duties of the queen dreadfully boring (it's mostly embroidering). It's a good thing the elves showed up so she could let off some steam.
    • Captain Carrot as well, since he is all but known as the king by Vetinari, Vimes and Angua (he refuses to accept the title, for the moment).
    • Also, the Low King of the dwarves is, up till his election, a working dwarf.
      • The same could probably also be said of Diamond (the troll king), since he runs a 'Thud' (a dwarven/trollish board-game) Club.
    • After his marriage to Sybil elevates him to dukedom, Vimes himself qualifies; he continues to work as the head of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch in spite of being so independently wealthy that his great-great grandchildren could go their entire lives without doing a day of work. In Monstrous Regiment he's actually mistaken for a sergeant because of his philosophy that armor ought to look like it's been doing its job and his habit of avoiding committees.
  • Princess Raisa actively invokes this trope throughout The Seven Realms Series. In book one she founds the Briar Rose Ministry, a charity she and her father run that earns money for the people. The Briar Rose ministry not only helps some of her people avoid starvation, but gets some younger people the money they need to go to school and earns her a very loyal following. (This becomes a very important plot point later on.) By book three, she stops caring about making enemies within the government and goes around rectifying serious issues with the way things are done in order to help the people. A good portion of book three is spent on showing her doing this.
  • Garion in Belgariad is actually a decent king who spends more of his time as an administrator than anything in pomp and ceremony. Most other kings and royalty, and even many aristocrats, in that universe are in a similar position. Also occurs- albeit to varying extents- in Eddings' Elenium.
  • The kings of Tortall in Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe series are required to become knights and undergo the Ordeal of Knighthood (more or less a Mind Rape that makes you face your worst fears) and a few characters comment that King Jonathan and his queen Thayet very much pull their weight in several areas.
    • Jonathan and Thayet, in particular, have been responsible for such an insane amount of social progress in a few decades that at times it tests the bounds of Willing Suspension of Disbelief. It also seems that Thayet has expanded the role of the queen in government—she's officially Jonathan's co-ruler, and it's implied that this was not the case with previous queens. Among other things, she's started up the Queen's Riders, an unglamorous, coed branch of the military that goes around cleaning up Tortall in cases where the (all-male) King's Own would make a hash of it by being so big and bright and shiny. She's its official commander and is actively involved in what it does.
    • Tamora Pierce seems to like this one. In her Emelan books, we see His Grace Duke Vedris IV of Emelan taking a hand in public welfare and offering his castle as protection for a family whose members are being systematically murdered, Empress Berenene dor Ocmore of Namorn building up her country, making it powerful, wealthy, successful as well as fighting wars to keep it that way, not to mention shrewdly manipulating her nobles so as to keep them from making too much trouble (even if she is a magnificent bitch. And then there's Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, who while not royalty is close kin to the two mentioned above (and there is reason to believe that the Duke may well make her his heir) and is ready to face down armies armed only with her noble blood and springs to battle the moment she sees anyone being mistreated, leading to many a Crowning Moment of Awesome in the series.
    • She even does it with her evil royals. Duke Roger of Conte is noted for his magical research and knowledge, and he was also a famed amateur jeweler. The King of Tusaine does nothing, but his two brothers are his lead general/guy who mostly runs the kingdom and a top spy respectively. Both of these are in the Song of the Lioness quartet. And in the Immortals Quartet, Emperor Mage Ozorne has that title because he's so well known for his work in magic.
    • A lot of the royals in the Trickster books do either 'nothing' or 'nothing except plot to murder one another,' but our heroine is working to depose them. The original rebellion-queen-candidate is beautiful, brave, charismatic, and fairly clever, but not a practical individual; after she runs away with a boy they use her sister, who is presented by the story as a far superior choice as she is brilliant, pragmatic, and tough as nails.
  • The rulers of C. S. Lewis's Narnia and Archenland are expected to be "first in every charge and last in every retreat" as well as have lean tables during famines. One gets the impression that descent is an unimportant part of being royalty: Jesus Aslan appoints a random cab driver from London the first King of Narnia. When the cabbie objects, Aslan asks him if he would remember that the Talking Animals of Narnia are free subjects, avoid holding favourites, bring up his children to do the same, et cetera. His answers are between "yes" and "A chap can't know that, but I hope I'd try," and Aslan tells him "You will have done all that a King should do."
    • The Calormen royalty as well, whatever other faults you can lay at their door, are also directly involved in politics and battles. When the Jerkass prince (unable to leave his city because of a curse) becomes Tisroc (king), he makes peace with his neighbors, because he knows better than to let his lords win glory in battle while he's stuck in the palace--"for that is the way Tisrocs get overthrown".
  • Garth Nix's magic in the Old Kingdom trilogy is very much In the Blood. Therefore, in addition to Queen Sabriel's duties as Abhorsen, keeping the Dead dead, King Touchstone I has the responsibility of ruling, restoring order and peace, and fixing the broken Charter Stones, which keep the Kingdom safe to begin with. The latter activity alone takes years off his life.
  • Royalty in Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain seems to be actual leaders of the country, as well as for the most part, badasses. A notable example is Prince Rhun, who gives every indication of being a complete doofus, but is actually an enthusiastic and kindly ruler.
      • Don't forget Fflewder Fflam, the truant bard king with the bright yellow hair. Not 'a complete doofus,' but not exactly a responsible ruler.
    • In Alexander's The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, the title character starts out as an over-pampered member of a completely useless royal family, but a series of adventures outside the palace walls, a few weeks of life as a crippled outcast, and an attempted coup make him a proper ruler.
    • And in The Iron Ring the lead is a minor king from Fantasy India who abandons his country over a matter of honor; he did a perfectly good job until then and left it in good hands, but he comes back with a mega agenda at the end and reforms the country like crazy. A whole lot of other kings appear over the course of the story, as both negative and positive examples. Usurpers, jerkasses, the incredibly honorable warrior kings both human and snake, some kind of divinity, and even the king of the monkeys, who was formerly human and becomes an early party member. (Clearly influenced by Sun Wukong.)
    • The titular lead of The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha is a professional layabout who's magically sent to a vaguely Persian country where he first nearly drowns and is then proclaimed king. Spends a while enjoying the easy life, then gets bit by a sense of responsibility, complains about how exhausting it is, annoys the hell out of his whole court by attempting to actually rule, and gets himself nearly assassinated. Then the plot starts.
    • And in the Westmark trilogy, the country starts out in a (ahem) royal mess because the King has been slacking off, while in subsequent books ruling is depicted as involving tons of paperwork and tough decisions. Alexander is pretty good at this trope generally.
      • By which we mean it's one of his top five.
  • In Robert Asprin's Hit or Myth, the King of Possiltum grows tired of his daily regimen of arbitrating his subjects' legal hassles, and attempts to permanently foist off the job on his court magician Skeeve. (Also, he was being unwillingly herded into a diplomatically advantageous marriage, which is another reason not to envy working kings...)
  • Crown Prince Phillip in the Antares novels has to serve in the military just like every other Sandarian. The only special treatment he gets is that he is addressed as "Your Highness" at all times. Even when being given orders.
    • He even leads a boarding party in Antares Passage.
  • Every ruler of Valdemar fits this, as the rulers are required to also be Heralds, and the Heralds of Valdemar do whatever the kingdom requires of them, from fighting and spying to policing and judging.
    • Although the royal family of Valdemar unhesitatingly serve as warrior kings (or queens, or princes/princesses, etc.) when necessary, they are still the only Heralds who are under the injunction to stay out of danger whenever possible. Elspeth had to resolve the conflict between her conflicting imperatives as heir ("avoid any avoidable danger") and Herald-Mage ("you are an incredibly rare strategic resource, the very tip of the spear") by abdicating her position in the line of succession to concentrate on her battle-mage duties.
  • Due to Manticoran royalty in Honor Harrington being very much based on the British one, it's not all that surprising that they Actually Do Something, and they do it a lot. Especially since a Manticoran monarch has significantly more weight in the daily running of the shop, being a kind of a hereditary President in a semi-presidential republic. This also goes down the line, with Michael Winton, the younger brother of the current Queen Elizabeth III, and Michelle Henke, her first cousin, being serving officers in the Navy and all that. Elizabeth's own son and heir apparent is also going to the navy soon—it's a family tradition actually, much like their originals.
    • Not just this series; the emperor's kids in Weber's Empire From the Ashes trilogy also go into the Navy, complete with a speech about power being a responsibility.
    • Part of the backstory of the origin of the Manticoran government was that the system was set up so that the heir to the throne was constitutionally prohibited from marrying someone coming from the nobility/aristocracy: this meant that heirs always were the daughters or sons of people whose families actually had to work for a living, and hopefully picked up that habit.
    • Also, the existence of life extension technology means that the average heir will ascend to the throne only after what would be retirement age in a normal setting.[4] Someone who hasn't had a productive job for decades on end suddenly inheriting the realm's most demanding executive position has "bad idea" written all over it, and so their system is deliberately set up to avoid the entire possibility.
  • Prince Roger Etc MacClintock of David Weber and John Ringo's March series was a very lazy royal (one of the reasons everyone hated him). He quickly changed. At one point he planned to spend his life lifting the Death World Marduk out of the dark ages; now he is planning to do this to the entire Empire. At gunpoint if necessary.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Most of the important nobles fit this trope. They wouldn't last long if they didn't.
  • In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Cimorene moseys from Rebellious Princess at the beginning of the series to this trope in the second half of the series, maintaining the same (high) level of practicality all along. King Mendanbar can and does perform pretty much every significant task in his territory himself. His "court" is a handful of palace staff that takes care of daily operations. The new King of the Dragons, crowned at the end of the first book, also operates firmly under this trope.
    • Mendanbar was actually taking this trope to unhealthy extremes when he was first introduced, as Cimorene and Morwen both pointed out. One guy and his castle staff can't run an entire kingdom and the attempt was running Mendanbar himself ragged. As Cimorene had helped the Dragons set up a system of delegated authority it is presumed she did the same for the Enchanted Forest as well.
  • Many monarchs in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth are also active both on and off the battlefield:
    • From The Lord of the Rings there's Elendil, Gil-Galad, Aragorn, Legolas, and the whole royal house of Rohan.
    • In The Silmarillion, all the Noldorin princes are warriors who go to battle against the Dark Lord, and most of them die that way.
      • The best example is undoubtedly King Finrod Felagund of Nargothrond (say it ten times fast), who even abandons his kingdom to his brother and leaves with a few volunteers after his people refuse to help him rescue the human whose father saved his life, because he swore an oath that he would repay their family.
      • Feanor was also a king who actually did some things. Pretty insane, horrible, evil things, mind, but things nonetheless. And he certainly wasn't staying at the rear in battles—in fact, that's what killed him.
      • Fingon, who rescued Maedhros from Thangorodrim; Beren and Luthein, who pinched a Silmaril from under Morgoth's nose; and all the characters who are the descendants of Hurin and Huor.
      • Fingon's father, High King Fingolfin, not only led his people in battle but challenged Morgoth himself to single combat. He lost, and he died, but he also permanently crippled Satan's foot and humiliated him in front of his troops.
    • Galadriel, who is the last of the Noldor royalty still standing, has undertaken quite a few actions against Sauron (although they are generally "off camera"). Actually, even when at home she is in constant battle with Sauron through sheer willpower. She was also pretty scary during her youth; she was one of the leaders of the rebellion of the Noldor (although she wasn't directly involved in the Kinslaying) and was subsequently banished from Valinor. One of her older names was Nerwen, meaning "man-maid", a reference to both her height and her general badassery.
    • This is especially true in the Lord of the Rings movie. Watch through the Battle of Pelennor Fields for a Mumak death count—of those onscreen, one of them is taken out by the Dead Men, and only one is taken out by a member of the Fellowship (that would be Legolas, who takes a good minute and a half to do so). Then Theoden kills one (well, leads the killing of one), Gamling kills one(close enough), Eowyn kills one, and Eomer kills two. With one thrown spear.
    • In The Hobbit, there's Thranduil (the Elvenking), Thorin Oakenshield (King Under the Mountain), and (future King) Bard I. During The Return of the King, Bard also fought a couple battles off-screen, including sacking Dol Guldur, Sauron's fortress in Mirkwood. Galadriel was also there.
    • Elrond was impressive, too. Sure, by the time Sauron was off kicking everyone's shit around, he wanted to abandon Middle-Earth, but look at what he did the first time it happened. Hell, it isn't an example of the king being badass, but even being willing to take his people and abandon their slice of Paradise the second time around is an example of a royal willing to make hard, painful decisions. You don't always have to be a fearless warrior guy to be an active leader of your people.
    • Thror, Thrain, and Thorin might also count: they all worked as smiths, since they're in exile because of a large red dragon.
    • Thorin's cousin, Dain Ironfoot, who leads the dwarves of the Iron Hills into the Battle of Five Armies when Erebor Calls For Aid. Dain later dies defending the gate of Erebor when Sauron sends armies through the north.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen Verse by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont, Malazan Emperor Kellanved was a powerful sorcerer who researched and travelled in his quest to become a god. He succeeded. Before launching his extraordinary plan and forging his empire (magnificently so - for around 90 years or so)), he apparently used to run a bar for a while.
    • Empress Laseen, who succeeded him, was the former head of the Imperial assassins.
    • Tehol Beddict also fits this trope although not in the usual way.
  • Deltora Quest: King Lief of Del spent the first few years of his reign traveling around his country in order to drive out the Shadow Lord's forces and free his people, and went on to rule "long and wisely".
  • The heads of the eponymous three kingdoms from Romance of the Three Kingdoms also count. Liu Bei, in particular, wove straw mats and sold shoes before he entered politics and military service. In fact, once any noble stops being one of these and starts simply reigning, an ambitious adviser will usually pick up the slack and eventually supplant him.
    • In John Woo's movie adaptation, Sun Quan the King of Wu fights on the frontlines during the Battle of Red Cliff. This certainly never happened in real-life; it didn't even happen in the historical novel!
      • Not that battle, no, but Sun Quan is actually rebuked by his subordinates for spending too much time near the front lines in other battles.
  • The Wheel of Time: The series as a whole varies greatly with respect to this trope. Before the main characters come into their own the nobility of some nations are shown as effete, vain parasites devoted to jockeying for position in court - Cairhein especially, where a previous king caused a disastrous war with a Proud Warrior Race Guy just because he wanted to use some really, really rare wood for his new throne - but for many others, royalty is hard work. For all the northern rulers, keeping the Blight back is a full-time job. The Seanchan take very seriously their obligation to provide peace and justice in their territory - they'd be the good guys, if not for treating channelers like animals, and it helps them that their invasion happened to start with nations with very weak rule of law until they showed up.
    • Annoying though Elayne Trakand can be, she spends a fair amount of her time as princess chasing evil sorceresses around the known world and kicking butt. Then she ascends to the throne and immediately has to fight a civil war.
    • Rand has plenty of things he needs to do as the Dragon Reborn and being crowned king of Illian and more or less being in charge of several countries he has taken does not change that. The books do show him less and less though as time goes on so while he is probably pretty busy king and ruler, it can seem like he isn't doing much to the reader.
  • Nearly all nobles in The Riftwar Cycle, no matter their planet of origin, are like this. The primary setting, the Kingdom of the Isles on Midkemia, is particularly notable because it works under a feudal system called "The Great Freedom" which gives nobles a responsibility to go out and defend their people in exchange for their allegiance.
    • Prince Arutha is an exceptional example—he is depicted as far more interested in being hands-on than delegating the dirty work to his subordinates. At one point, he even fakes his own death so he can get away from his princely duties so he can sally forth and kick a whole lot of ass.
    • The nobles of pan-Asian Kelewan can vary. Some are more or less useless, others very hands on. Some are warriors, some accountants, some spoiled dandies. Of course, the fortune of their estate rises and falls with their various abilities (and those of their advisors) so this is mildly deconstructed.
  • Subversion: Emperor Varnazd in Yulia Latynina's Wei Empire cycle desperately wants to be this, but almost everything he ever does to that end (and he tries a lot of things) backfires badly, to the point of directly causing an all-out civil war.
  • In 2021 of the timeline of the Axis of Time trilogy by John Birmingham, Prince Harry is quite a Badass SAS colonel. After the multinational anti-terror task force he is assigned to is sent back to World War II, he becomes quite the celebrity in the contemporary UK.
    • Princess Elizabeth thinks being called 'granny' by a man old enough to be her father is a giggle but Prince Philip is more than a little intimidated by his Badass grandson.
  • Dwarven king Bruenor Battlehammer, friend to Drizzt Do'Urden in The Dark Elf Trilogy, actively fights on the front lines and leads his people into battle against gray dwarves, dark elves, and orcs. A later variation has him leaving his duties in Mithril Hall to go out and hunt the monsters who threaten the nearby settlements, which leads to an argument with the captain of his royal guard about the king putting himself in danger and reminding him of his duties in Mithril Hall.
    • On of Drizzt and Bruenor's greatest enemies and later, reluctant allies, King Obould Many-Arrows, also takes a very hands on approach, often leading armies into battle and facing enemies in singles combat.
  • Gustav II Adolphus in 1632. Either on the front lines or commanding the army in multiple battles. Seems to be what he likes as he sent Axel back to Stockholm to manage affairs of the kingdom in The Baltic War.
    • Of course, this is Truth in Fiction: the historical Gustav II Adolphus personally led his troops in battle in the real Thirty Years' War.
      • And received a (literal) shot in the back for that.
  • In the Hell's Gate series, this describes the Calirath dynasty of Ternathia, whose male heirs are required to learn how to be soldiers. Nor are the princesses expected to simply sit around and look princessy.
  • Baron Charles Edmond Talbot, from John Ringo's Council Wars series. He's very reluctantly nobility, but nobility nonetheless, and will frequently be found in battle.
  • Being elevated to the rank of Princess of Oz when she moves there permanently doesn't slow Dorothy Gale too much.
    • In Tin Man her granddaughter (and Ambrose) were holding off a coup from Azkedellia. They may have lost the coup, but Possessed!Az was a pretty efficient tyrant. Then the second Dorothy, DG, shows up...
  • Many of Bernard Cornwell's novels set in earlier time periods, such as the Grail Quest or Warlord Chronicles trilogies, involve monarchs heavily involved in government, and, particularly, warfare, as is appropriate for the time. A somewhat unusual example is Alfred the Great as he appears in the Saxon Stories, often described by the Unreliable Narrator as engaging in useless clerical or religious work rather than acting as a military leader, evidently unaware that such work will have as great an impact on English history as any of his battles.
  • Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries puts out in the open a document that had been hidden away that declared that Genovia is supposed to be a Democracy, jeopardizing her entire family's claim to the throne of Genovia and forcing her father to run for election when he had already been ruler. But Mia does it anyway because she genuinely wants what is best for the people of Genovia.
  • Most royals in David Weber's Safehold books are competent leaders who watch over their lands to the best of their ability. However the most notable are the Ahrmahk dynasty of Charis. In the first book, both King Haarahld and Crown Prince Cayleb lead their forces into the ultimate naval Curb Stomp Battle. In the third book, Cayleb also personally leads the forces that attack Corisande.
  • The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy's elf and goblin Kings fit the trope very well. They cast and maintain the spells that protect their kingdoms and make choices for the good of their people, even at their own expense.
    • Kate does well in the first book, too. Her crowning glory is breaking out of the kingdom to go on a manhunt for the sorcerer who's been stealing goblin souls in the second half, though she's also mentioned to work as an English tutor for the goblins.
  • All of the Thanes in The Godless World Trilogy are this. It ranges from leading in battle to being an efficient administrator. This re-enforced by the fact that oaths are taken very seriously. This does not preclude advisors or wealthy merchants mucking up the works.
  • Prince Garric and his sister Princess Sharina from David Drake's "The Lord of the Isles" series are an absolute nightmare for their bodyguard regiment because of their insistence on being in the thick of things - which is often pitched battle. The guards have the dubious compensation of knowing they're now shielding royalty who're worth protecting.
  • Codex Alera: The First Lord of Alera personally goes behind enemy lines in a civil war to prematurely detonate a volcano that Kalare rigged to blow when he dies. Later he keeps the Vord Horde at bay by setting off another volcano at the capital, buying the people time to retreat.
  • Most of the royals (and other rulers) in the Emberverse fit this trope. Norman Arminger (the Lord Protector), Mike Havel (Lord Bear), and Astrid Larsson (the Hiril Dunedain) are war leaders; Juniper Mackenzie (the Mackenzie of Clan Mackenzie) is a combatant, a High Priestess, a musician and an expert weaver; Mathilda Arminger and Rudi Mackenzie (their parents' heirs) undertake a quest and fight in combat in the later trilogies.
  • The former king in The Talisman, the twinner of Jack's father, was a man of the people who traveled around to address those people. The current queen would be as well if she weren't really busy at the moment with the whole dying thing.
  • Stebbins, Dr. Doolittle's assistant is quite surprised to learn there is more to being a king than sitting on a throne and being bowed to several times a day.
  • There was a short story where one royal family would have the next heir to the throne go on a trip down "the Prophet's Road" on their twentieth birthday. What happened to them would influence their rule; the protagonist's grandmother nearly starved to death, so she had granaries made and stocked. His father was attacked by bandits, so he built up the guard to insure his people were safe. Said father even says that what separates a person who simply holds the title until the next and someone who goes down in history is what they do.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, the chief job of Vor, like most aristocracies is war. However in modern times the Barrayaran forces have plenty of commoners in the officer class. Other duties seem to include judging disputes and investigating crimes and maintaining a paternalistic rule over their respective districts.
    • The Vor caste in general is as amply supplied with useless aristocratic socialites as it is with competent officers or executives. However, a sitting Count is simultaneously the chief executive and the chief judicial magistrate of a large province as well as a voting member of the planetary legislature, the Council of Counts. As such it is virtually impossible to be a Count or Count's heir and not do something productive for a living, and the few Counts that actually are useless at their jobs are still expected to find competent staff capable of having the necessary tasks delegated to them... and to still show up and vote at Council sessions.
    • The Cetagandians are divided into two noble orders, the Haut who specialize in genetic research, use their rule to gain resources for same and in turn use their knowledge to enforce their rule. The other order is the Ghem who are a conventional warrior aristocracy in some ways Not So Different from Barrayarans. Court Ghem however outclass even the most decadent of Vor in uselessness and Ivan Vorpatril who on Barrayar is considered a luxury loving courtier(and happy to be so, thank you very much), when he visits Cetaganda and meets some of the tomfoolery of Court Ghem, strikes the reader as being like a ferocious Siberian frontiersman by contrast.
  • The Royal Family in Kiera Cass' The Selection. The family is consistently shown to actively rule and Prince Maxon takes his role as the future King very seriously. It also becomes increasingly clear throughout the story that if she were to become Queen, America would be this type of ruler.
  • In his viking stories War of the Gods and Hrolf Kraki's Saga among other books, Poul Anderson has kings who are indeed ruthless warlords as they have to be to force anything like civilization down people's throats but by doing so they manage to make a quiet space where people can live decently. They also have virtues more conducive to modern tastes if less so to that of saga writers for they give fair judgement in court, stop feuding, and encourage trade.
  • The British royal family in A Certain Magical Index, composed of Queen Elizard, first princess Rimea, second princess Carissa and third princess Villian. They are part of a power triangle that controls Britain (the other two being the Knights and the Church). All of them play important roles in the British civil war, and Carissa fights personally in World War III.

Live Action Television

  • Abarenbo Shogun's titular character is the epitome of this trope, much to his advisor's chagrin.
  • Doctor Who has accumulated a few over the years.
    • King Yrcanos who, aside from being a classic Warrior King, was played by Brian Blessed. And ended up marrying one of the Doctor's companions.
    • The very awesome Liz 10 from the new series, a two-gun wielding hands-on Action Girl who endlessly investigates the mystery of her kingdom, and then chooses to forget.
  • The whole idea behind the cancelled show Kings. Even though king Silas' rule is marred by corporate politics and the whim of the general crowd, he still has almost-absolute power.
  • On The Tudors we have Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Parr excelling in different fields and tasks. All the king's legitimate children are wonders of learning as well.
  • Once Upon a Time is full of these. Prince Charming, his now-dead twin brother whom he replaced, Snow White, Emma (since she's technically royalty as Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter), her son Henry by the same token, and even the Evil Queen - albeit an evil version.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riva, crown prince of Ramatis, is a successful diplomat, bringing peace to warring factions no matter how long it takes, even when the telepathic "chorus" who allow him to communicate despite his deafness are killed by one of the factions.
  • The BBC series Merlin shows Prince Arthur to be not only the Camelot's heir apparent, but also the day-to-day commander of the kingdom's armed forces. He not only leads them in battle, but also recruits the knights and oversees their training. He also seems to be the closest thing that the kingdom has to a sheriff or chief of police. If any "crime" occurs, it's usually Arthur that's sent to investigate.
    • It's heavily implied that his father King Uther was this as well in his youth. He does prove himself quite handy with a sword.


  • Nearly any king or prince mentioned in myth will have long careers, primarily as warriors and/or monster-slayers. Hercules, Achilles, Theseus, Odysseus, King Arthur, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, all of them were royals.
  • The discovery of tea is often credited as being a Chinese emperor who had been practitioner of medicine, and tested many of his experiments on himself. Tea must have been his best discovery.
  • Older Than Dirt: Gilgamesh did lots of things after the gods answered his subjects' prayers to get him the heck out of their city and away from their wives.

Play By Post Games

Professional Wrestling

  • Jerry "The King" Lawler, even at his advanced age, has been active in the WWE on a semi-consistent basis, including competing in a TLC match against The Miz.
  • The King of The Ring tournament which has crowned many superstars over the years. Several King of The Ring winners have gone on to incorporate royalty gimmicks to their characters, such as Harley Race, Owen Hart, Mabel, and Booker T.
  • An Arabic example of this trope is The Sultan, played by Rikishi and managed by The Iron Sheik.

Tabletop Games

  • Given the Crapsack World they live in, along with a healthy dose of Authority Equals Asskicking the royals of the various factions and races in Warhammer Fantasy Battle are often the most lethal warriors available to their race.
  • Let us not forget the God-Emperor of mankind from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Although ones 'Milage may Vary' as he went out and smote for only a short time and has spent the past ten millennia static on life support, on the verge of death.
    • And pretty much every leader of every faction. Ork Warbosses become that way because they really are the biggest, meanest, and usually the smartest Ork in the bunch. Imperial Guard Lord Generals, unlike some of their lesser leaders, are ONLY chosen from the cream of the officer corps, the best of the best. While some governors are incompetent, these usually don't survive long. Governors are usually Machiavellian in political skill, because there's always someone ready to replace them if they aren't.
  • The king and queen in chess. While the king may hide behind his bodyguards in the opening and middlegame, he frequently becomes a key fighting piece in the endgame. And of course the queen is the most powerful piece on the board and is in the thick of things throughout the game.
  • Many of the monarchs and khans in the BattleTech universe actively serve in combat, and much of their prestige as leaders is dependent on the skills they show in Mech warfare.
    • In Clan society, there are no nobles that do nothing. Everyone has their own tasks, and rank is only attained via Trials of Position, and while the Khans are the highest rank of the Clans, they're still chosen from those with Bloodnames, which must be earned in a series of combat trials.
    • You can't even become the First Prince of the Federated Suns without serving at least 5 years in the military and traditionally this includes front line combat. The Coordinators (and their heirs) of the Draconis Combine have also served in direct combat. In the case of both nations rulers and heirs have been killed in action.
  • The Scarlet Empress of Exalted is the only person who can control the superweapon that ended the Fair Folk invasion, and has built the Realm's government so that it can't work without her. She's far from the only example- most notably, any number of PCs, as "Become God-King of [Insert City Here]" is a pretty standard Motivation for a Solar.
    • There's also any number of gods (the Syndics of Whitewall come to mind, as do the trio of gods ruling Great Forks) and the Solar Exalted themselves as the Princes of the Earth. Hell, even the Infernals count, being the Green Sun Princes.
  • Imperial Nobles in Traveller. While there are a number of Nobles who do nothing they are looked down on as the regrettable detritus of their class. Many Imperial Nobles have high business and government positions and there is a tradition of "troubleshooters" who roam about solving crisis (indeed having a pool of such people on hand is one of the stated purposes of the nobility). It is also the custom when promoting a commoner to an important position to give them a noble title to match to ensure that they have the right amount of precedence when they have to go to a Fancy Dinner.
  • Most Dungeons & Dragons settings have Authority Equals Asskicking and/or Asskicking Equals Authority as a matter of fact. But even if the land is not under constant attacks or a hereditary magocracy, expect high-ups to keep their hands (or other appendages) very busy with large-scale juggling. Which applies to ruling monarchs and other Blue Blood alike.
    • Forgotten Realms has a lot of it. For an example when it's not a plain necessity, Tethyrian lesser royals are accorded duties in whatever branch of power their talents and inclinations allow. Heirs were traditionally well taught to rule, and expected to pick up some of these when coming of age, including specifically the post of Crown Ecclesiastic; which means having to command as an united force religious knightly orders that theoretically are loyal to the crown and belong to the allied churches, but practically have at best different priorities and at worst cross-purposes—from 15 years old and until the heir claims the crown. House Tethyr had absolute power for over 350 years, was deposed after one greedy and complacent king and some infighting, and still got their triumphant restoration later.

Video Games

  • King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country.
  • When she is not getting kidnapped, Peach often helps Mario, such as in Super Princess Peach.
    • And sometimes even when she is, as evidenced in the Paper Mario games.
    • And of course, there's the Big Bad Bowser, King of the Koopas.
  • The protagonist of A Dance With Rogues is the princess of Betancuria forced into hiding after a successful invasion by the kingdom of Dhorn. If she didn't fit this trope it would be a pretty boring game; despite being a princess she has rescued every one of her party members at least once and broken out on her own in all but one scenario in which she was captured, among other things.
  • Extremely common in Final Fantasy games;
    • Final Fantasy III presents Princess Sara, who takes it upon herself to venture into the Sealed Cave to defeat the Djinn and save her people from a nasty curse. Although the party ends up helping her instead, she can cast support spells from the background.
    • Final Fantasy IV has this in spades. During the original game party members Edward and Edge are princes, and in the sequel The After Years they're joined by Cecil and Yang (kings), Rosa (queen), Ceodore (prince), and Luca and Ursula (princesses). The strongest summons in the game are royalty too-Leviathan and Asura are king and queen of the Feymarch, Odin is the spirit of the former King of Baron, and Bahamut is the king of monsters.
    • Final Fantasy V has Galuf, the reigning king of Bal; his granddaughter Krile; and Lenna and Faris, princesses of Tycoon. Bartz too would be royalty, if his father had gone back to his home dimension where he was a king.
    • Final Fantasy VI gives us Edgar, the king of Figaro (and a skilled engineer), as well as his twin brother Sabin, as playable characters.
    • Final Fantasy VII tries its best to avert this trope by having most of the world under the thumb of a Mega Corp, but there is still Princess Yuffie, who comes from one of the few free nations left in the world.
    • Final Fantasy VIII comes close with Rinoa, whose father is Minister of Defense for the Galbadian Republic. (As the highest-ranking government official left by the end of the game, this might make him president; the game doesn't address the question though.) In any event, her officers in the Forest Owls refer to her as "princess" (that's her party nickname).
    • Final Fantasy IX has Princess Garnet/Dagger, who in a twist on the usual application turns out to not be royalty after all, but rather an adopted Last Of Her Kind.
      • There's also Prince Puck of Burmecia, who doesn't do a lot other than sneak about and cause trouble: there's Queen Brahne, Dagger's mother, who both accompanies her arial troops into battle and having drained Dagger's Eidolons, is the one to use them in combat. She is not ineffective. There's also Regent Cid, who is the city's chief engineer, and, without participating in any actual battles, accompanies the party for a segment of their journey. Queen Stellazzio is a total aversion; she doesn't care and has no bearing on about the world's events, but rather gives the party presents if they bring her collectables.
        • Queen Stella is not really a queen, but a noble. All of the families in Treno are named after chess pieces. The Knights own the weapon shop, the Kings own the Auction House, the Bishops own the Synthesis Shop(and Dr. Tot's tower), and the Queens...well she really doesn't do anything but collect those coins.(This troper guesses that her name is really Stella Queen, and she thinks too highly of herself.)
    • Considering that her dad took out an Eldritch Abomination, Yuna probably could have gone her entire life in comfort. You know, comparatively. But instead, she decided to go and save the world herself.
    • Final Fantasy XII has Ashe, who fights to restore her kingdom.
      • Larsa is another example (deciding to personally investigate incidents and even guest-joining the party), his brother is a more villainous example.
        • There's also Magnificent Bastard Al-Cid Margrace, who, despite not doing a lot onscreen, apparently works very hard in a political sense to postpone war.
    • The closest character that Final Fantasy XIII has to royalty is Hope, who is the son of a high-ranking Sanctum employee. Like many tropes in the game, this one is deconstructed in that Hope doesn't want to actually do something, but is forced into action due to the actions of his overzealous mother and of her "protector", Snow.
  • Also a common character type in the Fire Emblem series, with "common" as in "the point of every game except the two involving Ike." Royalty tends to max out stats faster, are the most likely to have a pre-battle conversation with the villain of the chapter, and are obviously very important to the plot. Being a mercenary, Ike is a far cry from royalty, but even then he becomes leader of the best mercenary guild after his father gets offed.
    • Convolutedly played with in Micaiah and Pelleas' case. the latter discovers he's the prince as a young adult, proceeds to take his throne back from the invaders, and then realises he was just another commoner after all, prompting him to abdicate in Micaiah's favour. Then the epilogue reveals she's actually the thought-to-be-dead older sister of another country's Empress, Sanaki, who offers her the throne. Micaiah refuses, choosing to lead the country she's fought for.
      • The actual heir to the throne of Daein is Soren, who has also been "doing something" - he's been fighting alongside you the whole time. Subverted in that he doesn't know his lineage.
    • Even though Ike has no royal blood, he still becomes a noble during the course of his first game. Not to mention that his father was one of Daein's Four Riders. Not quite a royal, but close.
    • The Laguz Kings, who get to become kings because they are their tribes' most efficient warriors. The most obvious case is Tibarn, though Naesala, while he prefers not to fight himself, is also pretty damn powerful and all he does is more or less for the sake of Kilvas.
    • The Villains count too, generally the Big Bad is royalty as are many chapter bosses. Even in the rare cases where they aren't good at combat, they'll generally be at least be out on the battlefield with their troops.
  • Princess Zelda has fought alongside Link in several of the games in the series, particularly Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.
    • And Ocarina of Time, when Zelda becomes Sheik. She also stars in Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, one of the non-canonical Philips CD-i games.
      • From the same game, we have King Harkinian. Once he hears that his brother, Duke Onkled, is in danger, he runs of to Gamelon (after dinner, of course). He even comes prepared with the Triforce of Courage. Granted, nothing comes of it, but he tried, after all.
    • King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule from The Wind Waker. For the majority of the game he's Link's boat, serving as his only transport form island to island and giving him vital information for his quest, and just before the final battle he cheats Ganondorf out of his wish on the Triforce by making his own wish: to have Hyrule, and Ganondorf with it, washed away forever. Of course, being Ganondorf, he'll be back again in a couple of centuries or so, with Hyrule being washed away being part of his plan.
      • So far? No. None of the games that followed Wind Waker have featured Ganondorf at all. Depending on how you interpret the series' infamous timeline, it seems like King Daphnes' actions really did lead to the permanent death of one timeline's Ganondorf.
    • In the beginning of Spirit Tracks, Zelda has her soul separated from her body by the Big Bad. She then joins Link as his Exposition Fairy, giving her the largest role she's ever had in canon.
      • Exposition Fairy? Within the tower she has the power to possess a suit of animate armor, becoming a sword-wielding badass made of metal and ghost that far outranks Link himself in strength.
    • Hell, Ganondorf himself may count. He did start out as King of the Gerudo, after all.
    • Minor character example: When you defeat the undead swordsmen in Ikana Castle (Majora's Mask), the king himself jumps up from his throne without a word, pulls out a sword and shield, and proceeds to continue where his generals left off.
    • One word: Midna. True, she was dethroned in Twilight Princess, but she still helped Link more than any other character in the entire series. She was more like his partner than his sidekick, which is more than can be said of the various fairies.
    • The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games Ralph, heir to the throne of Labrynna. Not the most endearing sidekick ever, but he does have his moment.
    • Queen Gohma, King Dodongo, Stallord, and tons of other bosses of The Legend of Zelda series qualify.
  • Nippon Ichi uses this trope a lot: Pretty much anyone with the title of 'Overlord' or related to said Overlord by blood is expected to be able to kick much ass. After all, they're demons—if there's someone stronger around they'll take that Overlord title from you by force.
  • King Dedede in the Kirby series is a fearsome fighter, both when he opposes Kirby and when he occasionally helps him.
  • The obscure SNES game Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban has a bumbling Japanese feudal lord and a foppish French prince as protagonists. They're both stupid. But save Earth in the end.
  • Disgaea and other similar titles from Nippon Ichi have them in spades. Disgaea stars the overlord-to-be (And eventually Overlord proper) Laharl.Many of his opposers also are Overlords from other Netherworlds.
  • There's quite a few in Ōkami, but foremost is Queen Himiko. At first it looks like she's the one responsible for Sei-An city being covered in toxic fog, or at least apathetic to her citizens plight, being shut in the imperial palace, however she died in a Heroic Sacrifice. Using her murder by Ninetails to fuse her soul with her clan's Crystal Ball to locate Oni Island and give Amaterasu the chance to slay Ninetails and destroy a major source of monsters. And thanks to her powers of prophecy, she knew she was going to die. Needless to say, the Player Punch reaction when Ninetails taunts you with not being able to protect her (and in fact giving her the tool she needed to kill her!) is a powerful one. Even in death (and a sidequest), her tears give Nuregami a power boost and will net you a new and powerful water attack.
  • Natalia from Tales of the Abyss. On top of being the main party's archer, she's also politically active, using her position to help the economy and foreign relations and the like. As a result, when its revealed that she's actually a maid's child that was swapped for the real princess Natalia when the real one was stillborn, and the king goes to exile her, the people rise up to help her out.
    • Luke becomes one, after his Important Haircut, and he's around fourth in line for the Kimlascan throne, as well as the heir to the most powerful non-royal aristocrat in the kingdom.
    • Peony may not be a playable character, but he does a great job running his country and is often highly involved with helping Luke and the party save the world.
    • Estelle from Tales of Vesperia is one, too. She's the White Mage Stone Wall healer who more or less forcibly drags the party around, fixing up problems in cities. She also has an insatiable need to heal people who are hurt.
    • Prince (and later King) Richard from Tales of Graces. When his father is murdered he leads the uprising and insists upon fighting alongside his men. Also as revealed in the epilogue he dedicates his time to killing the monsters Lambda created.
  • Games belonging to the Suikoden series are obviously filled with these. Special mention goes to King Lino en Kuldes, one of the fourth game's best fighters and his daughter Flare, two popular characters in, arguably, the series' most unpopular game.
  • Pretty much every aristocrat in the Jak and Daxter series, be they good, bad or neutral, does something: Baron Praxis actively fights against Jak and the Metal Heads; his daughter Ashelin is a member of the Krimzon Guard (later the Freedom League); Count Veger does things himself rather than relying on Mooks.
  • Warcraft, especially Warcraft III, has several royal heroes fighting on the frontlines, including Arthas, Muradin Bronzebeard (and his brothers in World of Warcraft, to an extent), Kael'thas and Anub'arak (ancient king-turned-traitor of Azjol-Nerub).
    • Warcraft II rather inverts the trope, with legendary and/or royal heroes who when they appear on the field need to be kept away from the front lines at all cost, being weaker than regular units.
    • Then there is Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind, in the comics. When he was introduced in World of Warcraft, he was quite a bit too eager to fight to actually make wise decisions, but he seems to have mellowed down in Icecrown Citadel.
      • Varian's father Llane Wrynn was one of the most beloved kings of Stormwind. It was his courage and determination that kept the orcs from razing the city for the 4 years of the First War. Then he turns his back on a former ally and gets his heart cut out for his trouble. Without Llane, Stormwind falls quickly. Lord Anduin Lothar (descended from the Arathi royal line) is a skilled commander and fighter. Unfortunately, his duel with Orgrim Doomhammer ends with his skull crushed by Doomhammer's warhammer of the same name.
    • Sylvanas Windrunner, the Banshee Queen, also fits.
    • "To an extent"? Magni may not do much, but Brann Bronzebeard is so active as an Adventurer Archaeologist in the more recent expansions that his status as royalty seems mostly superfluous to his character.
    • You also have Genn Greymane, king of Gilneas, even before becoming a worgen. During the Second War, he personally leads the Gilneas forces to cut off orc reinforcements after the ruler of the neighboring kingdom of Alterac makes a deal with Orgrim Doomhammer. He's the first to leap into battle. In the novel Wolfheart, Genn and Varian go on a hunt and bond over a fight with an angry bear. This is despite the fact that Genn is by this point over 70 years old. Genn's son was also this until taking a poisoned arrow for his father.
  • Lost Odyssey's Ming Numara at first seems like a useless figurehead, but soon proves herself to be an extremely powerful sorceress and a strong, competent, and proactive leader who was only in the position of a figurehead because she had been forced to seal away her own memories in order to save the lives of her subjects.
  • Every princess in Princess Waltz is some form of Badass. The Princess Waltz tournament of the titular Visual Novel allows the strongest princess in the land to marry the Emperor, giving them good reason to not just sit around. Most notable are Princesses Liliana and Angela, who both fight in their Kingdom's navy and army respectively. Princess Liesel, on the other hand, is a noted inventor and smith.
  • Princess Alicia in Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria, along with a good chunk of the Einherjar she can call up who happen to be royals of one sort or another.
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. To date, the Prince's let loose an ancient curse, battled basically Fate itself, and WON, and then fought the Vizier who caused the first problem by manipulation, who by then absorbed a lot of the Sands of Time, turning him into pretty much a really shiny being who was supposedly immortal. If there's one man who embodies Royals Who Actually Do Something , it's the Prince of Persia.
  • Legend of Dragoon has King Albert of Basil, who essentially picked up where a previous player character, Lavitz (a knight from Basil), had left off.
  • Each of the five kingdoms in Mount & Blade is ruled by a king who leads his own combat party and has a high renown value (this being a game statistic usually increased by winning battles). Though they sometimes hang out in their respective castles, they are known to lead campaigns into enemy territory. Good thing the Never Say "Die" rule applies to all named characters in this game, because they're always part of the first group to deploy, and they often get knocked out and captured in the course of a battle.
  • King Helseth from The Elder Scrolls: Tribunal is the Imperial "puppet" king of Morrowind. His predecessor, King Llethan, was a mere figurehead who did little and had almost no real authority. Helseth, however, is far more ambitious, ruthless, and crafty. He's also an accomplished alchemist (with poison being his specialty). In fact, it is heavily implied that he poisoned King Llethan in order to ascend to the throne. The main quest of the Tribunal expansion pack centers around a power struggle between Helseth and the Tribunal Temple (among other things).
    • In Oblivion, Martin leads a bunch of people to the safety of Kvatch's chapel; helps you fight off the people attacking Weynon Priory; calls on all his knowledge of Daedra worship to get the Amulet of Kings back; leads the defence of Bruma; and even sacrifices himself in order to stop Mehrunes Dagon. Most of this he even does while trying not to believe that he's actually an important person of any sort, much less the son of the Emperor.
      • Well, technically, he hadn't been crowned yet. But certainly he would have become the living embodiment of this trope had he not sacrificed himself to save Tamriel.
    • Skyrim's in-game lore reveals many personalities of royalty in Tamriel's history being warriors and monster slayers, with the ultimate example being Tiber Septim (aka Talos), the founder of the Tamriel Empire and the Septim Dynasty, who was also one of the earliest known Dragonborn.
  • Prince Valerian Mengsk of StarCraft is shown to be a Badass Bookworm trained in Martial Arts and swordsmanship as well as classical knowledge in the books. He's an Adventurer Archaeologist, to boot. He's also definitely taken notes from his father in Magnificent Bastardry and by the end of StarCraft II manages to disinfect Sarah Kerrigan with the help of Jim Raynor.
  • The king from Castle Crashers is a GIANT example of this trope- a bearded, midgety giant example. For one thing, though he starts out utterly terrified of the Big Bad, he gets his groove back real fast- and helps you by doing everything from dispensing useful advice to leading an attack boat filled with knights and cannons at a giant boss catfish. He even saves you from a giant frog by filling its stupid face with cannon fire!
  • The Last Remnant has numerous examples of this (both good and evil). The most notable is David, the Marquis of Athium, who is a very competent and active leader both in the throne room and on the front lines.
  • In Guild Wars: Nightfall, one of the first heroes to join your party and set your characters' plans in motion is Tahlkora, who is revealed to be a princess of Vabbi.
  • Knights in The Nightmare has Willimgard who, despite being dead, comes back as the Wisp in order to prevent the villains from accomplishing their goal.
    • The same series brings us Yggdra and Gulcasa. Milanor, Luciana and Aegina probably count too. And in the same game, there's Arlier... and although Nordische doesn't get too far, he tries.
    • And three years ago, Soltier, Ordene, Aegina...
  • Prince Maximillian from Valkyria Chronicles who takes an active hand in The Empire's invasion of Gallia.
  • Several servants from Fate Stay Night, seeing how they used to be the abovementioned mythical heroes when they were alive.
    • Saber deserves a special mention. Due to being, I dunno, King Arthur?
  • Arcueid Brunestud is one. Actually, by this point 'doing stuff' is pretty much all she does anymore when not sleeping. She used to be treated like a princess by a castle full of vampires, but then she killed them all. But she's still doing the job that went with being a princess, and other characters still refer to her as one.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, when Princess Shine's kingdom is overrun by the Divine Crusaders, she has to be rescued by your team. When the Neo DC attack again in Original Generation 2, she instead joins your team with a pair of custom-made Elegant Gothic Lolita-styled Humongous Mecha for herself and her friend to help protect her kingdom.
    • The spinoff Endless Frontier has more princesses than it has worlds, and each one that you meet joins the party to protect/redeem/avenge their kingdom. There's Kaguya Nanbu, master of the Nanbu Reijutsu sword arts; Suzuka, who controls a multiple gatling-wielding robot by dancing; and Neige Hausen/Howzen, who fights with a bayonet-equipped laser rifle (as well as a miniature Expy of the aforementioned Shine Hausen's Humongous Mecha). Then there's King Rubor Cullen, who would be better for his kingdom if he didn't pick fights with everyone he thought was a threat, Shuten, who regularly fights the party for his people's honor, and Stahl Dieb, who personally led an expedition into the Einst dimension.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Two words: Mickey Mouse.
    • Minnie Mouse qualifies when needed. She's got Holy on her side.
  • In Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance, the protagonist is from a royal family, seeking to restore legal rule to his planet (and the final battle is with his cousin). After one of his missions, a lancemate actually says "I guess you're not one of those royals who let the rest of us do the heavy lifting."
  • Chrono Trigger: Marle, AKA, Princess Nadia of the kingdom of Guardia, and the first person to join Crono's party, and if I remember correctly, she actually proposed the idea of taking down Lavos, or least spearheaded it. And that's only the start.
    • Ayla is Marle's ancestor, and it makes sense considering she's the leader of her tribe. Which sort of makes Ayla fall in this trope.
    • And then there's the Fiendlord Magus, a.k.a. Janus, the prince of Zeal...
  • King's Quest sounds like it says it right there in the title, although the name probably refers to the King giving Sir Graham his quest in the first game. Following his promotion at the end of the first game, all but one of the other games involve royalty in a main role, either King Graham or his family members, personally saving their kingdom. While they are involved with exploits of purely the personal variety, you have an entire Badass Family whose exploits involve a lot more than afternoon tea.
  • The Legendary Starfy has both the title character and his far more enthused sister Starly - while he's out helping his amnesiac space-bunny friend, she's at home in Pufftop beating the pants off of the invading army. Before boss fights, Moe even asks if you want to summon Starly for help.
  • Dragon Quest V takes this a step farther in that almost every important human party member is in some way connected to a royal family. This includes two kings (Pankraz and the Hero), a prince (Harry), your wife turned queen (Bianca, Nera, and Deborah), and a prince and princess (Your son and daughter).
    • V also points out the problems this can cause. While Harry is adventuring with the Hero, his country suffers greatly, and while Pankraz's brother proved himself a decent ruler in his absence, he was miserable in the role and eager to hand it over. Soon afterward, the Hero gets called out when he risks his life on another adventure—one that leads to him and his wife being Taken for Granite for several years.
  • In Dragon Quest II, the entire party consists of royal cousins of a common ancestor, with two princes and a princess.
  • In Magna Carta 2, Princess Rzephillda should be sitting in a tower somewhere hiding from her country's Civil War. Instead, she leads a front-line elite unit in an effort to retake her power.
  • Blaze the Cat in the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
  • In Europa Universalis III a nation's leader (often a king, although bishops, emperors, elected leaders and popes are also possible) can be converted into a field commander and used to lead armies. Some kings can make quite effective generals, depending on their attributes and the social slider settings of the nation. However, one of the main reasons to do this is in the hopes of getting an incompetent ruler killed so that another (hopefully more capable) leader will replace him before 30+ years of rule by an weak/rude/unsavvy monarch bankrupts the nation.
  • Prince Enrique from Skies of Arcadia.
  • Princess Monica Raybrandt in Dark Chronicle is skilled with her sword and magic and traveled back to the past to battle Emperor Griffon. Of course, since she holds the Blue Atamillia, she's pretty much the only one who can. Plus, she needs to avenge her father's death.
  • King Cailan in Dragon Age is determined to be one of these, insisting that he fight on the front lines against the Darkspawn army. It backfires spectacularly as he is killed in the ensuing battle.
    • Also the player if they are a Dwarf Noble, being the second child of the dwarven king and proving an epic-grade badass who may, depending on the ending, become a Paragon posthumously, one of the quasi-gods of the dwarves. Alistair also counts in a way, as does Loghain in his position as Regent of Ferelden. The human noble and his/her entire family are second only to royalty (and can become such in the end) and also qualify.
    • The nobles of Ferelden in general qualify, since they have to be able to protect their vassals, who otherwise won't swear fealty to a lord who can't ride to their aid in time.
    • Both candidates for the throne qualify. While Alistair doesn't have political savvyness, he leads the army against the darkspawn in the end if you choose him and if married to Anora and hardened he shows a willingness to learn how to rule. Anora, while lacking the same martial training, took care of the politics in her husband's place, making her a savvy and cunning ruler.
    • In Awakening, if you are a human noble and married Alistair or Anora in Origins, you qualify. The fact that you are the ruler of all of Ferelden is almost completely ignored, but still.
      • Even if you didn't marry Alistair or Anora, your character is still the Arl/essa of Amaranthine as well as Commander of the Grey Wardens in Ferelden. Part of the gameplay is you dealing with the problems assaulting your realm including how best to defend it.
    • Also played straight with King Maric and his mother Queen Moira, who were leaders of La Résistance during the Orlesian Occupation. Later, Maric accompanies a group of Grey Wardens into the Deep Roads to fight Darkspawn despite Loghain's objections. One of the reasons Cailan wants to fight on the front lines is because he has heard stories of his father doing the same.
    • In Dragon Age II, we have Prince Sebastian Vael of Starkhaven. After his entire family is massacred, he leaves the Chantry to become a Reluctant Ruler. He's also got the skills of a rogue and is deadly with a bow. He also actively participates in the Templar-Mage conflict. Additionally, given the Hawkes' noble background, they can also be considered this.
  • In Fable III the player eventually becomes the ruler of Albion after overthrowing their tyrannical brother Logan. This of course doesn't interrupt their ability to go around the world farting at villagers and doing sidequests.
  • Hildegard "Hilde" Von Krone of the Soul Series. She's the princess (and acting ruler, due to her father's insanity) of a small kingdom, who is very much a Lady of War and leads her country's army into battle.
  • Might and Magic VII includes this; the starting island of the game centres around a contest in which the prize is for the winning group to jointly become 'Lords of Harmondale'. After winning and arriving at Welnin, the main settlement of Harmondale, the adventurers quickly find out that, amongst other things, the inhabitants all think they won't last long, no-one of the nobles and royals of the continent regard them as actual nobles, and the Castle that is supposed to be their home as Lords is partially in ruins, as well as goblin-infested. The middle portion of the game is about fixing all that. Also, it is possible for Harmondale to become an independent Kingdom, making the Lords more properly Royal.
  • The Ultima series: The only reason Lord British isn't joining your party (without cheating) is to maintain some pretense at game balance. Nonetheless he aids you constantly, offering equipment, aid, room and board, and free heals and resurrections for both you, your party and the occasional collateral-damage NPC. Shamino, who can and usually does join you in practically every game, is also a king, although he's been stranded in Britannia since the breaking of Sosaria during the time of Exodus. And they're both Richard Garriott.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura: Once it's made clear that you're trying to save the world, both the elven princess Raven and King Loghaire Thunder Stone of the dwarves (assuming you talked him out of his self-imposed exile) will take up bow and axe and aid you as party members, if you wish. Loghaire explicitly says he cannot sit idly by when Arcanum is threatened.
  • Mother 3 has Princess Kumatora, who fights alongside Lucas.
    • Of course, there were never any real monarchs on the Nowhere Islands; she was just planted there and entitled as one when everyone's memories, save for Leder's, were wiped and rebuilt when they moved there.
  • King Ladekahn, Duke Calbren, Queen Corellia, and Xelha, from the first Baten Kaitos.
  • The royal families in the Total War series. They can act as generals, accompanied onto the battlefield by generals, and can also act as a provincial governors, their personal attributes influencing the efficiency with which the province is managed (for better or worse).
  • The second player ship in the Gradius side story Salamander is piloted by the prince of the planet you're defending. Later incarnations name this ship after him: Lord British.
  • Cloche Leythal Pastalia and Luca Trulyworth from Ar Tonelico 2.
    • Prince Targana as well.
  • In Ys Seven we have Aisha, she originally joins up with Adol and Dogi as a Princess Incognito to investigate the Bizarre phenomenons happening all over Altago. After a bit she ends up getting found out when she returns back and the King Introduces Adol and Dogi to her(Unaware that she was with them the entire time). However after the The Last Seal is gathered by the group and Adol and Company become fugitives after being framed for the murder of the king, she is temporarily removed from the party and is forced to stay in the castle.
  • The second set of player characters in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn are all royalty.
    • Anyone who played Lost Age knows that the people of Champa resort to piracy to feed their mouths, because they have only their smithy otherwise. Eoleo ascends to captainhood as a result of his father Briggs' death, but still swings a mean blade regardless of his rank. A captain who cannot fight alongside his crew doesn't remain captain for very long.
    • Amiti lived a relatively sheltered life off his mother's fame until Matthew and his friends came along. He may have volunteered to escort them through the Barai Ruins, but he takes on a more active role once the Insight Glass chooses him. Given the injuries sustained by King Paithos during the eclipse, Amiti ascended to the throne in its wake.
    • Himi, like Amiti, lived relative comfort as a Shrine Maiden alongside her parents, Susa and Kushinada. She falls into a coma after foretelling Isaac's descent into disaster, sending her older brother off to his aid, but winds up going with Matthew once the Third Eye awakens her from said coma.
    • The beastmen of Morgal take the brunt of Fantastic Racism on many sides, meaning even the Czamaral clan must remain primed for combat when it comes. While she runs your operations in Morgal, especially Belinsk, from behind the scenes, Sveta is no less capable as a fighter. Of course, the racism may not have ended soon enough, given the Grave Eclipse's activation, so when she ascends to queenhood in the wake of her brother's death, she's going to have to train a new army and capitalize on the light Adepts that emerged as a result of the eclipse's end.
  • NieR has The Masked King of Facade, who leads his soldiers into every battle including his final battle which he knows he cannot win.
  • The Gryphonhearts in the Heroes of Might and Magic series, starting with Rion Gryphonheart, who led the Erathian army against Tarnum's barbarian hordes and defeated Tarnum in Combat by Champion. Rion's daughter (and Tarnum's niece) is also this, after Tarnum trains her.
  • Freelancer has two noblemen (Lord Hakkera of Kusari and Diedrich Von Claussen of Rheinland) who are both Order agents and pretty good pilots. In fact, Von Claussen is known throughout Rheinland as an ace who has never lost a wingman.
  • All the royals in Jade Empire have at some point been pretty active.
  • Prince Poo in EarthBound joins Ness' party to save the world. He is encouraged by his parents to go on the journey.
  • One of the unlockable playable character in Cars 2: The Video Game is you guessed it, the Queen of England!
  • Prince (Later, King) Roan in Grandia II.
  • Monster Girl Quest Paradox:
    • Monster society runs on Authority Equals Asskicking, so Queen monsters are also the strongest fighters and often lead from the front.
    • The human royals aren't slouches either. The San Ilia King spearheads the technological revolution of the church and maintains a large information network. Sara (after being freed from her Brainwashing), upon hearing news of an attack on a nearby village, immediately puts on her armor and heads out to handle the situation personally. The Grangold King crushes entire armies on his own thanks to becoming a superpowered Humanoid Abomination.

Web Comics

  • The clan nobles in Drowtales are universally taught some degree of fighting skills and specialize in either weapon or Mana-based combat.
  • In Erfworld, Royals level up faster, have higher stats, and grant significant leadership bonuses to any units they command. Exactly how this works has yet to be revealed.
    • It may be because royalty are theoretically supposed to be the healthiest and most competent in their fields. They would get the best (and most) food, be trained by the best instructors, and there's nothing like your king/queen/prince(ss) leading you themselves for a confidence boost.
  • In The Challenges of Zona two of the three main characters, Zona and Tula are princesses.
  • Girl Genius, given that half of rulers are Mad Scientists, and another half have to deal with them. Titles are shuffled, though, for the same reason.
    • Baron Wulfenbach is often shown resolving disputes and coming up with schemes. He's also one of the best combatants in the series, leading some of his armies' assaults personally and out-swordfighting Zeetha. Is literally covered in scars. His disproportionate title comes up several times—he could have declared himself Emperor Klaus I as well, and the fact that he didn't is one of the indications he's not a straight Evil Overlord character. Royalty has rules the Wulfenbachs see no reason to follow, and the royals resent Klaus' rule partly because he comes from a minor house, but mostly (as Martellus points out) for openly showing contempt to their whole system - they would put up with Klaus more eagerly if he proclaimed himself "Emperor". Which is an important factor in the willingness of the Fifty Families to recognize a new Storm King.
    • Gil, who fenced with monsters a variety of Mad Scientist made up just for training and was subject of constant drills as Klaus tried to make him the proper heir. After being asked what kind of Empire's heir didn't even built a Death Ray, he invents a Lightning Gun and proceeds to personally test it on an intruding mechanized army. In a recent chapter he managed to throw a Mini-Mecha with his bare hands after getting shot. He's not quite up to the Baron's level in the scheming department, but is under pressure to learn fast.
    • Agatha takes to it very quickly after the townspeople show their support.
    • Played with somewhat in the Storm Lords clan, who at first appearance seem like an entire family of Chessmasters running a vast conspiracy to overthrow the Baron's government. Two are killed off, and the remaining family member, Tarvek, is left as the Unwitting Pawn at the end of a Gambit Pileup. He did, while pretending to not pay attention, pick up enough skills to fight Gil to a standstill. Tarvek also manipulates everybody else's plots throughout the Sturmhalten arc, especially his "sister's," though since Agatha was unexpected he has to do a lot of Xanatos Speed Chess and does wind up being shot by Lucretia at the end of the arc.
    • More than once, rulers were told off by their supporters for allowing the enthusiasm to pull them from strategical heights and trying to do personally more than necessary during a crisis.
    • In the Novelization Agatha H and The Airship City, it's mentioned that a lot of Gil and Tarvek's peers have decided to become this, because it's fun and pisses off their parents.
  • Princess Voluptua in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob.
  • King Adalaide in Twokinds.
  • King Arthur in Arthur, King of Time and Space. In the Space Arc he's a bold explorer, in the Fairy Tale Arc, he's a brave knight, and in both (and the Contemporary Arc, where he's CEO of Excalicorp) he's dedicated to helping ordinary people.
  • Since taking lordship from his uncle, The Order of the Stick‍'‍s Hinjo has been a decidedly hands-on monarch, even personally battling hobgoblins on the walls of the city and charging their clerical leader, Redcloak.
    • Don't forget said uncle, who took advantage of being old and not being a Paladin to be able to fool everyone in thinking he was easy to manipulate and that he was being manipulated by someone else when he did something they didn't like, thus being able to govern properly. He then took advantage of it by bringing the Order to do a job he wasn't legally allowed to do, for the good of his nation. Making a Kangaroo Court with a fake holy warrior as a judge. Keep in mind, he did this to fool not only people who wouldn't hesitate to kill him for their own desires, but a full army of paladins. And the only other person he could count on was a ghost that he couldn't allow to get out of his room, so no help from him. That Magnificent Bastard had serious balls, no wonder Belkar of all people respected him.
  • Nobles in A Magical Roommate study magic and perform experiments. The general impression is that if a war really did break out, they'd be ready for it, but since war is so unlikely, they're ready for governing and magic.
  • Last Res0rt has Princess Adharia Kuvoe, one of the four Executioners on the Deadly Game Reality Show. She tends to oscillate between Crazy Awesome and Lady of War most of the time, but in her defense, she's fighting to regain control of her kingdom, by demonstrating what a good warrior the reality show has turned her into!
  • The Dreamland Chronicles. You even have to prepare for it
  • Homestuck: Feferi Peixes sits at the very top of the blood-caste hemospectrum and is slated to become Empress of Alternia except the planet was destroyed. Given how troll society seems to actually encourage sociopathic jerkass behavior, you'd think she'd be the worst... nope. She's likely the nicest and friendliest of the whole group, and the time she's not spending feeding her lusus so it won't annihilate the troll race, she's caring for animals and preparing a social reform pertaining to actually caring for and helping the weak and infirm (as opposed to killing them off for being weak and infirm). When she takes the throne, Alternia may be in for a very positive change. Except that won't happen now, due to there being no Alternia anymore.
    • The various Black and White Kings are also very active, to the point where there's an entire planet designed just for them to lead battles on.
    • The current Troll Empress, Her Imperious Condescension serves as the emissary of her race with a flagship that rides at the tip of her space armada powered by an incredibly powerful psyker, flying to new races first and making a good impression. That is, before she leaves and lets the rest of her fleet conquer said race.
    • And, strictly speaking, every player of Sburb is either a Prince or Princess of Derse or Prospit,[5] to say nothing of the players whose titles are "Prince of (Aspect)", namely (Dirk Strider and the late Eridan Ampora.)
  • Thief from 8-Bit Theater is the crown prince of Elfland. Granted, he spends his time robbing and swindling the rest of the world blind...
  • Drive: La Familia are the only ones able to maintain the Ring Drive technology which enables FTL travel. However, this is because they inflict Disproportionate Retribution on anyone who tries to steal the secrets of how it works.
  • Samurai Princess: The king and princess of the fictional kingdom of Samprini are seen in the field way more than they are in their castle.
  • Dreamwalk Journal (contains NSFW content): Leonurus, humanoid bee queen of Helianthus Hive. When she's not busy ruling she's happy to show her human guests around the Hive, and in a later storyline she takes an active role in the rescue of an ant queen in distress.

Web Original

  • In The Insane Quest of Unfathomable Randomness, Mortal, the Prince of the Blob planet, and Luna, Princess of Haruvia, both are no slouches when it comes to helping the group. Luna's mother defended her home planet from incoming attackers, but was killed by the original Smoosh.
  • Chaos Fighters has its own share of royal protagonists: Clair and Shefan, a princess and a prince in different countries in Route of Land along with Selia, a queen and Clair's mother in a side story Robbery Assault. They are all as capable of fighting as other characters.

Western Animation

  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Prince Adam is not an example of this trope. He-Man is a completely different person. Stop making stuff up.
    • And She-Ra is supposed to be Adam's sister? Don't make me laugh.
    • Luckily for Eternia, the 2002 version of King Randor successfully redeems his family. In addition to his diplomatic prowess, he is a highly capable swordfighter and former captain of the royal guard.
    • Also in the 2002 version, Queen Marlana is no slouch herself, managing to hold her own against both Kobra Kahn and Tongue-Lashor in one episode. Not to mention being the voice of reason more than once to both Randor and Duncan.
  • In WITCH, Queen Elyon thought life after her coronation would be all rest and relaxation, but after finding out she actually had to run the kingdom's affairs and deal with its problems, she began longing for the "princess" part of being queen. This all on top of her role as the Heart of Meridian, giving her powers equal to those of the main heroines combined.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Royalty tends to be this more often than not, especially since the war with the Fire Nation made being an idle royal a bad idea. Even the demure Princess Yue joins with the Moon spirit to save it. About the only royal who truly didn't fit this was the Earth Kingdom king, who was kept in the dark due to an Evil Chancellor.
  • In one episode of the animated adaptation of Babar, Babar and Rataxes switch roles and rule each other's kingdoms for a day. When he arrives at Babar's palace, Rataxes is aghast to find that all Babar spends most of his time actually governing Celesteville.
  • In The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, Prince Arin personally goes out to find his sister, Aruzia, after she's kidnapped.
    • Later in the series, both take an active part in helping their subjects during a drought, as do their parents the King and Queen.
  • The titular ThunderCats were members of the nobility who were expected to be competent warriors who could protect the people. Commoners who demonstrated exceptional bravery and skill in this regard could even be promoted to this rank, such as with the New Thundercats, and it was implied that Cheetara came from a similar background. (One of the not-so-Darker and Edgier Wildstorm comics expanded on this). Then there was the Lord of the Thundercats, who not only wielded the Sword of Omens, but had to prove his mettle by besting each of the Thundercats in their area of expertise and defeat his most evil foe in combat without the help of said sword. (At least for the first part. I can't quite recall if Lion-O was allowed to use the Sword in his battle with Mumm-Ra or not.)
    • He wasn't allowed to use the Sword. He won by smashing Mumm-Ra's sarcophagus, turning him to dust. At the end of the episode, the casket pulled itself back together, and Mumm-Ra's voice gave this chilling line...

Mumm-Ra: As long as evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives. Mumm-Ra lives. Mumm-Ra lives!!!!

  • Except for the time she deposed her villainous sister from the throne, Starfire of the Teen Titans doesn't actually do much for her own planet, which she is a princess of. She even gave away the crown to her Parental Substitute almost as soon as she got it. Not because she's lazy (probably), but because she's much too busy doing something on planet Earth.
    • In the comics, it was because she was sold into slavery as part of the peace agreement and could never return to Tamaran, otherwise the deal would be off and her people would wind up destroyed. Not like it didn't happen anyway...
  • A villainous example is the Queen of the Crown from Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. She is attempting to hold together a large and crumbling Evil Empire, and is doing well enough at it to pose serious threats to most of the galaxy. Several episodes, including "Mindnet", show that she is a capable and lethal sorceress and her favorite bit of Magitek, the Psychocrypt, is used for stripping the souls out of compatible beings, mashing them down for Life Energy, and using them to create constructs through which she can see and hear - administering her empire personally.
  • Another villainous example: Princess Ingrid from Pierre et Isa, a series about the Winter Olympic Games. Sure, she is a bad loser and an inveterate cheater, but that doesn't change the fact that she is an actual princess who is also an Olympic games level athlete!
  • From Futurama: I AM LRRR! Ruler of Omicron Persei 8! I have no problem leading an invasion on Earth, or eating a smelly hippie!
  • Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time works actively to help her kingdom and occasionally get Finn and Jake out of trouble. Finn also tried to do this after being Offered the Crown of the goblin kingdom, but they really didn't want an active monarch.
    • The earl of Lemongrab is a negative example of this trope. His short but disastrous reign of the Candy Kingdom shows just how dangerous it is to have somebody inexperienced (or just plain ignorant) in power. All he wanted was an orderly, quiet, clean kingdom, but he went about it in a way that was completely beyond wrong. (He imprisoned everybody for one million years!)
    • The Ice King, if you sort of stretch it. He doesn't really have any subjects other than penguins, but in the pitch documents it's said that he was the one who shaped all of the mountains, and built his own ice castle. He spends a lot of time making fantastical ice creatures and changing the weather. How does that really benefit anyone, if he doesn't rule over anyone? It doesn't- but it's still awesome. The Ice Kingdom seems to be doing well for what it is.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Princess Celestia is, among other things, responsible for raising the sun and moon. Her younger sister Princess Luna resumes responsibility for the moon once she is freed from being Nightmare Moon.
    • Then there's villainous Queen Chrysalis of the changelings, whose duties involve actively searching and providing food sources for her subjects. She also infiltrates Canterlot and leads the invasion on Equestria.
    • It happened in the backstory, but Princess Mi Amore Cadenza babysitting a young Twilight Sparkle probably wasn't a royal duty.
  • Speaking of My Little Pony, Rosedust, the queen of the Flutter Ponies from the movie and the original cartoon, was the one to lead the charge when the Flutter Ponies took action. And she is not someone you'd want to mess with.
  • In DC Showcase: Green Arrow (a short that appeared on the Superman/Shazam DVD), when Green Arrow took an arrow in the leg from Merlyn while rescuing 10-year-old Princess Perdita of Vlatava from an assassination plot, the young princess, who had kept her head throughout the ordeal, applied a field bandage to Green Arrow's wound. She also encouraged Black Canary to accept Green Arrow's marriage proposal.
  • And then there are all the Royals Who Actually Do Something in Gargoyles. You have Princess Katherine, who actively protected the Gargoyle eggs from destruction, and shot Demona for attacking her clan. Then there is Macbeth, who has spent over nine hundred years becoming one of the greatest warriors alive, and then there was the fact that he was actively involved in battles to protect his wife and son. And then there is King Arthur, who once he is woken up by Elisa, hands Macbeth's ass to him on a platter and searches the world for his friend and mentor, Merlin.

Princess Katherine: Nobody hurts my eggs!


Fox: That still doesn't change what you tried to do.
Titania: What makes you think this wasn't exactly what I had planned from the beginning?

  • Samurai Jack: Aku, the Shape-Shifting Master of Darkness rules his future with an iron fist, and is seen demanding tribute from newly conquered peoples, usually in the form of regular commissions of new Aku-shaped structures, to remind all who runs things around here. Most metropolitan regions in the series feature Aku horns in the skyline.
  • Young Justice: The first thing Queen Perdita of Vlatava does after her life-threatening heart surgery is take away her supervillain uncle's title and diplomatic immunity. Note that Queen Perdita is about ten.

Real Life

  • Britain has a number of examples throughout its history. It helps that the modern royal family requires its men to serve two years of military service.
    • Prince Harry served in Afghanistan until an Aussie paper blew his cover. He then trained to be a helicopter pilot, at least partly on the principle it will actually allow him to do his job and serve in the front line without placing his unit in danger, because helicopters are a priority target no matter who flies them. Similarly, Prince William, the second in line to the throne, is a qualified air-sea rescue captain. Hardly an easy job at the best of times.
      • It was reported that Prince Harry, three months before his brother's wedding, actually took part in a dangerous charity trek through the North Pole on foot with a contingent of wounded soldiers, without outside support, and without the knowledge of most of the Royal Family. Badass indeed.
    • Queen Elizabeth II wanted to help during WWII, and when she turned 18, she actually drove medical supplies to the troops in the final months of the war. She was also trained as a driver and mechanic, holding the rank of Second Subaltern (junior officer) in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. She is the first female member of the British Royal Family to actually serve in the military, and not just receive honorary titles in it.
    • Prince Philip, Elizabeth's husband, served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was involved in escort duties and battles, gaining the Greek War Cross of Valour because of his service in the Mediterranean Fleet, and also stoked boilers on the RMS Empress of Russia. All of this happened before he was married to Elizabeth, but even then he was a member of the Greek royal family.
    • Elizabeth I was definitely no slouch either. Apart from being superb at statecraft and image-building, she spoke several languages, wrote poetry and translations.
    • Prince Andrew flew decoy helicopters during The Falklands War, meaning that he was in the aircraft most likely to be shot at during any given mission. That takes some solid brass ones.
      • Prince Andrew has retired from Fleet Air Arm with full honours as a fully served Rear Admiral. He was a career officer to the boot.
    • Both George V and George VI were second sons not intended to inherit, and as such had real careers prior to becoming King. Some might suggest that this is why they were actually pretty good at the job. George VI even volunteered to join the army to take part in the Normandy landings, although this was mostly a Batman Gambit to stop Churchill using his Prime Ministerial authority to reactivate his own commission and have himself ordered to take part. George VI, his wife, and the children (including Elizabeth) also refused to leave London for Canada during the Blitz. This meant the genuine danger of being killed and the annoyance of rationing, and initially hostile reactions to Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Consort) visiting the bombed-out areas, particularly the extremely hard-hit East End. However, their presence served as a major morale boost; after all, it's hard to complain of facing the bombs because you're lower class when the Royal Family is dodging them themselves. Case in point, when Buckingham Palace got bombed, Queen Elizabeth had this to say: "Finally. Now I can look the East End in the face."
      • Queen Consort Elizabeth is also famous for her comment when asked why the younger Royals at least were not being sent to safety in Canada to preserve the succession: "The children cannot go without me, and I will not go without the King, and the King will never leave his country." Adolf Hitler is said to have called her "the most dangerous woman in Europe" because he viewed her popularity as a threat to German interests; coming from him, everyone else should see that as a compliment.
      • George V between the wars patronized the British secret service and got it through budget difficulties.
    • William IV had served in the Royal Navy and was called "The Sailor King" as a result. Being not a second but a third son, he had not prepared to be King at all, and did such scandalous things as refuse to use ride the Royal Carriage to his coronation (he walked instead). He was famous for the whole King Incognito thing, going around London and Brighton unaccompanied to get a proper view of these cities. Although he was just as dissolute as his brothers, he's considered to have been a slightly better king than his predecessor (George IV), but not as good as his older brother Frederick (the Grand Old Duke of York and by the end of the wars a skilled general in the Army) would have been.
    • The current Prince of Wales served in the Royal Navy (and is now Colonel-in-Chief, being the one who awarded his son Prince William his air wings after the latter completed his military flight training) and has become an active patron of many charities and, famously, an environmental campaigner. Opinions are divided on whether this is a good thing or not.
      • Opinions are not divided on whether this is a hilarious thing or not, though. It IS hilarious.[please verify]
      • He also wrote a children's book called The Old Man of Lochnagar and read it on TV, and makes organic honey. On one occasion he presented a TV documentary about his opposition to insensitive architectural development.
    • King James VI of Scotland and I of England had a major interest in demonology and witchcraft, and even wrote his own scholarly texts on the subject. And also a screed against the use of tobacco, something that got a minor nod in the comics miniseries Marvel 1602. On a more respectable note, he took an active and scholarly interested in the translation of the version of the Bible that bears his name.
    • Henry VIII of England was a learned man who, early in his reign, wrote theological pamphlets defending Papal rule against the rising tide of Lutheranism, although the best ones were ghostwritten by Sir Thomas More. The Pope, impressed, granted him the title Defender of the Faith, which remains attached to British monarchs to this day, even after Henry famously severed his ties with the Papacy. He was also a skilled musician. Although the idea that he wrote "Greensleeves" is largely considered a myth, he did write a song called "Pastime With Good Company" that remained popular for a century after his death. Both his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, actively promoted Protestantism. Catherine is also the author of several books.
      • Henry's first wife Catherine of Aragon led troops into battle against King James IV of Scotland, as Henry was fighting a war with France at the time. He was quite cross when Catherine turned out to be rather better at it than he was.
    • Queen Mathilda of Boulogne led an army when her husband Stephen was captured and captured an important prisoner in turn. After negotiating an exchange, she so freed her husband. That and she had her own lands to govern as well.
    • Efforts to fight the Great Fire of London in 1666 were slow and disorganized until the Royal Family took over operations from the ineffectual Lord Mayor. James, Duke of York (the future King James II) worked himself to exhaustion for three days establishing command posts, press-ganging men into demolition teams and fire brigades, and maintaining order in the panicked city. King Charles II is said to have personally worked on the front lines of the fire-fighting effort, carrying water and creating firebreaks.
    • Edward II of England would hunt down bandits personally, on one occasion challenging a bandit leader to a joust, on condition that if the bandit lost he would give up his life of crime. The king won. Ultimately, however, he was more interested in bricklaying than fighting, and ended up being deposed and probably murdered.
    • His father, Edward I, also fell under this trope, though, actively fighting neighboring countries, succeeding with Wales (and, incidentally, coining the title 'Prince of Wales' for the heir to the throne). In fact, he died en route to battle with the Scots.
    • Alfred the Great was a Badass Bookworm who fought what amounted to a guerrilla war against the Danes.
    • Richard the Lion Heart of England earned his nickname by being a great military leader and leading soldiers to battle in the Holy Land and Angevin France. It has been asserted by many historians that Richard generally left administrative work to others, though this has been disputed by others. Richard also gained a name in his own time as a poet and musician.
    • Richard's mother Eleanor of Aquitaine joined her first husband King Louis VII of France to The Crusades. After her marriage to her second husband King Henry II of England got into trouble, she encouraged her sons to rebel against their father and was therefore locked up most of the end of Henry's reign. At his death, Richard immediately released her and she gained great influence. She ruled England in Richard's name during his absences and made sure the ransom was collected and delivered after his capture. After Richard's death, she supported John's claim to the throne. When she was already eighty, she crossed the Pyrenees to collect one of her granddaughters as a bride for the heir to the French throne.
    • Diana, Princess of Wales was heavily involved in charities and activism, especially on the issue of the removal of land mines around the world. One can make the nuance that land mines hardly kill a soldier deader then bullets, nonetheless there IS way to much ordinance around in places where they wouldn't even serve a military purpose if they killed someone as their war is over so she might have a good idea at that.
      • It seems now that Harry is taking after his mother.
    • George III of Britain (of American Revolution fame) had a strong interest in farming and encouraged agriculture, even personally visiting his citizens to see their farms for himself. He wrote environmental pamphlets under the pseudonym "Ralph Robinson".
    • "Farmer George's" son, Frederick the Duke of York (commemorated in the nursery rhyme) proved himself a surprisingly able administrator as commander-in-chief of the British army during most of the Napoleonic Wars. This is partially attributed to the debacle that was his first expedition in Flanders (the source of the rhyme), which propelled him to never fail again. He is particularly well-remembered for undertaking the first major reform of the British Army, tuning it into a far more effective fighting force.
    • Anne, the Princess Royal (Elizabeth II's daughter) is an accomplished horsewoman, competing in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She also helped foil an attempt by a mentally-deranged person to kidnap her, yelling out "Not bloody likely!"
  • Speaking of Britain (or at least England proper), this is also what the local nobility are encouraged to be. In the spirit of Noblesse Oblige, they were expected by the Crown to actually do something deserving of their titles, rather than merely act as court filler. This may have helped at least some among the aristocracy to survive and earn the respect of the people, compared (ironically) to France.
    • Part of the reason was that in France since Louis IV the monarchy had gone out of its way to make sure the nobility could not raise private armies by forcing them to live in Versailles and exchange ambition for dissolution. Also French took nobility way to seriously; for instance to get a military commission it was necessary to have legal certificates of several generations none of whom had been "in trade"(meaning actually doing something) whereas in many parts of Europe if your daddy said you were a noble and your neighbors said you were, and you owned an estate, your ancestor could be whomever you wanted.
      • In fact one might argue that that was part of what brought on the French Revolution. When the nobility were giving a Vito Corleone style patronage to their fiefs or at least being close enough to be entertaining some of their faults could be forgiven. When they were away at Versailles doing nothing whatever to earn their privileges a lot of people might start thinking, "What the heck are they good for anyway."
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine's granddaughter, Blanche of Castile, married the king of France and became the mother of King Louis IX (aka St. Louis). Blanche ruled France during Louis' minority and stepped in again to run the kingdom while her son was on crusade.
  • King Haakon VII of Norway was an officer in the Danish navy (apparently served aboard a frigate) before ascending to the throne of Norway. In the face of the Nazi invasion, he announced to his parliament that he would not surrender or accept the Quisling government, and would abdicate if they wanted so he wouldn't stand in their way. He then headed the government-in-exile in Britain, and was a national symbol of resistance. And oh yeah, he previously refused to be King without a referendum that showed the Norwegian public wanted it, and changed his name (from Carl) to integrate better into his adopted kingdom.
    • His son, Olav V was an active sailor and won a gold medal at the 1928 Olympics. He was appointed Chief of Defence by the government-in-exile in 1944. He held this position for a year.
  • Sweden has had several examples:
    • King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden was an archaeologist specializing in Etruscology. He worked in many field excavations in Italy, including manual digging, which messed up diplomatic protocol on the way because in the 1950s kings were not supposed to behave like that. To avoid official hassle, he traveled under a pseudonym. His sons also led interesting careers:
      • Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, was in his youth in the 1930s a racing driver competing at the international level. However, his royal position prevented a full-scale career in this field. In his middle age, he instead became head of the national sports confederation for many years.
      • His son Sigvard was a renowned industrial designer, for instance creating nice-looking kitchenware.
    • Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden spent most of his reign leading cavalry charges against Poles, Danes, and Catholic mercenaries in Germany.
    • King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway was an ardent social reformer and got seriously involved in the complete revamping of the Swedish prison system.
      • His son, King Oscar II of Sweden was a competent historian who published several works on military history.
    • King Adolf-Fredrik of Sweden made a lot of handicrafts.
    • Queen Silvia of Sweden is active in organizations that fight the sexual exploitation of children. Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, is heavily involved in a number of social projects, most concerning disabled children. Prince Carl Philip of Sweden went on to the Naval Academy, and holds a 1st Lieutenant's commission in the Swedish Navy Reserve.
    • Kings Charles XI and Charles XII of Sweden lead troops in battle. Charles XII and ended up being killed in action during a siege in 1718, but his father survived all wars and died of cancer.
      • Charles XII was notable for having to wage war as the Swedish commander-in-chief against Denmark, Russia, Poland and Saxony in the great Northern War starting at age 17 because his enemies thought he would be a pushover because of his youth.
      • King Gustav III has (so far) been the last King of Sweden to personally lead his troops in battle in the 1788-1790 war against Russia.
        • The last ruling king. Charles XIV (formerly Marshal Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte-Corvo) led the Swedish army in the field in 1813 and 1814 while still crown prince. That also was the last time Sweden was actively involved in a major war.
  • A few from Denmark:
    • King Christian X of Denmark famously remained in the capital during German occupation. He would make daily horse rides around the capital without guards and ignored German salutes as an "up yours" gesture to the Nazi. He also snubbed Hitler in official telegrams and is reported to have said that if the Star of David were introduced into Denmark, "perhaps then we should all wear it." His popularity went way up.
    • Queen Margarethe II of Denmark is a professional illustrator, who among other thing have illustrated a Danish translation of The Lord of the Rings. She has also done scenography for several ballets and, recently, for a film version of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Wild Swans. In the latter she appears herself as an uncredited extra.
    • Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has trained and rank in all three branches of the military (army, navy and air force), most notably perhaps in "Frømandskorpset" (Frogman Corps) - an elite special forces unit of the navy. Oh, and he traveled 1700 miles in a dog sled around the north of Greenland for "Ekspedition Sirius 2000".
    • Hell, all of the royalty of Denmark are perfectly able to go round, in broad daylight, with no guards, and do normal people stuff. In addition, they're actually more like liege lords than royalty. One of them was responsible for Hans Christian Andersen getting an education, for heaven's sake!
  • In the Netherlands:
    • Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands also went to naval academy, and served in the navy, although this is because the conscription was not yet suspended back then. However, he did run the New York marathon and participated in the 11 cities ice skating race 20 years ago. But all of the country knows he was pushed to the finish by some loyalist citizens and his security. His brothers are better examples: one is an investment banker who reportedly made quite a bit of money for the family, the other a successful European bureaucrat/lobbyist.
    • Prince Bernhard, husband of the then crown princess Juliana, was a leader of the Dutch resistance in WWII. He actually refused to flee to the UK with his wife and children when the Germans invaded in may 1940. He later was forced to flee with the queen. For the remainder of the war he was one of the leaders of the remaining Dutch forces in the UK, having trained as a fighter pilot and flying combat missions (though not over enemy territory). And this while he himself was a German. His later life, however, was a chain of different controversies, from having extramarital children to being involved in the Lockheed bribery scandals.
    • King William II of the Netherlands was wounded in action at Waterloo while still crown prince.
    • Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands fired Prime Minister De Geer who wanted to make peace with the Germans during WWII. During the war she made frequent radio speeches inciting her people to rebel against the oppressors. She was the first Queen to address U.S. Congress on 5 August 1942, requesting American military aid in exchange for a number of resources from the Dutch overseas territories. Churchill called her the only man in the Dutch government.
  • Emperor Hirohito (Shouwa) of Japan was apparently a competent marine biologist, the first to describe several species of jellyfish. He also got to name a few species that he discovered. His son and heir Akihito is also a marine biologist who apparently has co-authored some published scholarly articles on the subject.
    • The current Emperor Akihito is a world authority on goby fish with many published papers in Nature and other major journals - there is even a species of goby, Exyrias akihito, named after him which he helped to discover (it was originally considered a part of E. belissimus until proven to be a separate species).
    • The most important thing Hirohito ever did was save Japan from possible extinction not to mention save America all the lives that would have cost, simply by being the only man who could order a surrender without losing face for the military clique. Whether he could have ordered the surrender sooner or indeed prevented the whole thing from the get go is controversial. But it is unquestionable that this is a royal actually doing something and whether it was out of sense of responsibility or desire to safe his own skin or enlightened mixture of the two is irrelevant at this point.
  • Louis XIV of France, a.k.a. 'the Sun King', despite his reign's image of idle luxury and aristocratic balls, was a noted workaholic who personally administered the business of government for five decades. Many historians have argued that Louis intentionally distracted his court with trivialities so that they would not hinder his work. He was also passionately interested in architecture and landscaping, directly influencing the design of Versailles.
  • One of Louis XVI's lasting legacies is all the clocks he made.
  • Some of Russia's best-known rulers qualify:
    • Peter I The Great of Russia was an accomplished ship builder, both designing them and physically helping to build them. To learn those skills, he lived as an ordinary craftsman in Zaandam and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He was responsible for creating the Russian Navy and has a nuclear ship named after him. He also personally traveled Europe in order to gain insights into how to modernise Russia, and ordered a number of his state officials to do likewise. He led the war against Sweden from the front lines, largely designed and took part in the construction of St. Petersburg, and personally executed many of his political enemies (of which there were hundreds), occasionally forgoing the use of an axe.
      • He was also personally responsible for cutting off the beards of several nobles, coming at the hirsute boyars with scissors and razor in hand to render them clean-shaven and modern. (Wearing a beard was traditional in Russia but just not done in Western Europe—mustaches were en vogue in the late seventeenth century—and nobles who refused to shave were seen as reactionary enemies of the Tsar). John Perry actually said Peter went further than just cutting off beards, and physically pulled the beards, roots and all, out of their face. He also ripped teeth out of people if they complained about a tooth ache to treat them (whether they were okay with this or not). And of course he didn't use Anesthesia.
    • Catherine II The Great of Russia had quite a few credits to her name; one of the more interesting and less well known, she was, depending on accounts, directly responsible for the invention of the roller coaster. The French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian terms for "roller coaster" translate literally as "Russian mountains." She was also an amateur writer.
      • Ironically, the Russian word for "roller coaster" is literally "American mountains."
    • Ivan the Terrible of Russia was a talented writer. His letters and religious/mystical texts are known for their literary value. Well, that could be expected from a guy who had the largest library in Europe at the time.
    • Nicholas I, a workaholic who never delayed his paperwork a single day, and a talented and enthusiastic engineer who, aside from city designing, established and helped to develop Russian railway network. He personally ordered to increase the track gauge compared to the European railways, just because there was a possibility of a hypothetical foe invading Russia by train in case of perfect match. And a century later, it bit Nazis in the ass.
    • Nicholas II, the last of the Tsars, is a particularly nasty subversion. With the Russians getting their asses kicked by the ruthless Imperial Germany during World War I, Nicholas decided to take personal command of his armies, thinking that his presence would bolster morale. Unfortunately, since he had no idea what the hell he was doing, all he managed to accomplish was draw even more blame for the Russian losses while his wife Alexandra, with the inept advice of the Ax Crazy Rasputin, turned the Russian domestic situation from a disaster into a catastrophe. That, of course, led to Romanovs and Revolutions.
  • Rama IX of Thailand is a chessmaster who weaseled through the Deadly Decadent Court of his youth with great skill and dignity. He is also a renowned jazz saxophonist, gold medal yachter, and the only monarch in the world to hold a patent.
  • Korea:
    • Queen Seondeok of Silla kept her country safe through diplomacy through the volatile period of the Three Kingdoms in Korea. She also had Buddhist centres built and set up the first astronomy tower in East Asia.
  • The average Roman aristocrat was expected to be serve as general, soldier, judge, lawyer, legislator, orator, and administrator. A small number also needed to take the census. Emperor Marcus Aurelius was also known as a prominent philosopher.
  • Examples from Prussia and the German Empire of 1871-1918:
    • Frederick II of Prussia, in addition to being a military Badass, was also a gifted and prolific musician (he hired Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philip Emmanuel to write him flute pieces), whose works were often used as military marches. He also got up at 4 AM every morning to do the kingdom paperwork.
    • His father Frederick William I of Prussia was an extremely able administrator; not only did he reform and rigidly organise the civil service, he also personally ran the administration under a policy of frugal spending and careful investment, ensured that his household was never wasteful (and even paid his own taxes), encouraged farming and land reclamation, and established primary schooling across the kingdom. Even though he created an extremely rigid and disciplined army (which included an entire obsessively-assembled regiment of very tall soldiers), he never started a war, viewing them as a waste of resources. Frederick II may have been the great general, but his success was largely founded on the efficient military, stable economy, surplus resources and capable bureaucracy left behind by his father.
    • With the exception of Frederick I (the first) and William II (the last), all Hohenzollern rulers and several princes served in the field. Frederick the Great's brother Henry in particular was a great commander in his own right, and after the Seven Years' War Frederick complimented him as "the only military commander not to make any mistakes".
    • Frederick William II was an accomplished cellist.
    • Frederick William III, though not known for his artistic proclivities, wrote the Präsentiermarsch, the march that is always played when state guests inspect the honour formation of the Wachtbataillon.
  • Norodom Sihanouk, former king of Cambodia, is an accomplished film director and orchestra conductor. It helped that he spent 20 years of his life as a deposed king. (He was later restored).
    • His son, current King Norodom Sihamoni, was a classical dance instructor before his father unexpectedly abdicated.
  • It was considered a prerequisite to being an Ottoman Sultans that you were able to do something of practical value. Mehmed the Conqueror grew cucumbers and Suleiman the Magnificent was an accomplished goldsmith.
    • It was also considered a prerequisite to being an Ottoman Sultan that you took part in military campaigns, and meaningfully, not just sitting on the battlefield watching everyone else fight. Several sultans and high officials even died in battle.
      • Early Ottoman rulers came from the Hordes From the East and ghazi traditions where leaders had to prove themselves by Asskicking Equals Authority(the reason few steppe empires last more then a generation). In fact for some time they took this to such weird lengths that it was a law that only a prince who killed all his brothers successfully could be sultan. The Ottoman empire's weakness started to show because it depended a lot on continued conquest which could only be guaranteed with military superiority and logistics capable of overcoming a Balkan countryside which became less and less able to feed them with successive campaigns and more and more full of imitators of the ghazis (cossacks and hussars) on the enemy side. In the decline Ottoman Sultans spent more and more time in Constantinople, as for some reason viands, and concubines, and palaces, and gardens were becoming more attractive then leading border wars under ever worsening odds.
  • There are a number of examples among pretenders to various thrones who no longer considered valid. Louis XX of France (and, arguably, Jerusalem) is a banker, as is Georg Friedrich of Prussia. Grand Duke George, the would-be heir to the Russian throne, works in the aerospace industry. Prince Emanuele Filiberto, the son of the Italian pretender, works in finance and occasionally does TV appearances (including at least one commercial). One of the claimants to the Imperial throne of Korea, Yi Won, works for a Korean version of the Home Shopping Network.
    • Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria, has them all beat. Born in 1937, he took the throne at age six and was deposed three years later by the Communists, but five and a half decades later ran for office in Bulgaria (under the somewhat amusing name "Simeon Sakskoburggotski") and served as prime minister from 2001 to 2006, being essentially the only monarch in history to have been returned to power through democratic election as a private citizen. He has lived most of his adult life in Spain, working as a banker.
    • Dr. Otto von Habsburg, heir (from 1922 to 2011) of the Habsburg line that ruled the Austrian Empire (later, Austria-Hungary) and arguably the nominal King of Jerusalem, was an early proponent of European unification and a prominent Member of European Parliament (serving for the German—specifically Bavarian—Christian Social Union, as his very right to visit Austria was a political issue until 1966); this led to a very odd incident where he struck The Rev. Ian Paisley on the floor of the EP after Paisley had called The Pope (who was visiting) "The Antichrist." It Makes Sense in Context.
      • It's arguable that the Habsburg line in general fills this trope, from soldiers to artists and even actors. There's a reason why they stayed for so long (after they got the whole inbreeding thing fixed).
  • The Bible has several examples:
    • King David was a famous warrior, not only for his fight with Goliath but also his massacre of Philistines to earn King Saul's daughter Michal's hand in marriage. Saul asked for 100 foreskins as proof—Philistines were not circumcised, and taking a Philistine's foreskin entailed killing him. David came back with 200 foreskins. As Larry Gonick put it:

David (to Saul, and being squeezed tightly by Michal): 198, 199, 200! I'll take take two of 'em!

    • King Saul himself personally led most of Israel's military campaigns, and even died in battle by intentionally falling on his own sword after his arms-bearer refused to stab him.
    • Both David and his son Solomon were accomplished musicians, and though the tunes are largely lost the lyrics survive in many of the Psalms.
      • Solomon himself was among Israel's greatest philosophers—the book of Ecclesiastes is credited to him.
  • The early Tang dynasty was very hands-on [6]. Li Shimin (Taizong), who started with helping his father to overthrow the previous Sui Dynasty and then reunite the empire, and became their second Emperor. Considered one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history for good reasons - he was not only a warrior and scholar, but also keen enough in dealing with people to assemble a good team of chancellors and generals, and not waste on paper what he won on horseback.
    • He conquered the big and small warlike and troublesome states far along the Silk Road, and ensured it stays open. Which is why there were fortifications left well outside the Great Wall[7]. Then recreated the Eastern Tujue as a Khaganate under the local prince whom he could trust (Qilibi Khan), turning the former enemy into a loyal vassal. Their own vassal broke off, but their khan had enough sense to avoid messing with Li Shimin, thus after this he didn't have much headache from that direction, but rather was giving and receiving military support.[8] Evidently he meant it - they fought together, and a story says when in Korean campaign Qilibi Khan was hit with an arrow, the Emperor did personally Suck Out the Poison; he also personally tended to the wound of Qibi Heli - another Turkic General (evidently the "scholar" part in his case doesn't mean just calligraphy and Confucian philosophy, it was applied).
    • Also, he personally composed poems and ordered memorial stones for each of his six warhorses. Which may be part of why he had no trouble getting along with the nomads, once he tried.

Since I engaged in military campaigns, those war chargers which carried me rushing on the enemy and breaking the line, and which rescued me from perils, their true images should be portrayed on stone and be placed left and right of my tomb

  • Ming Emperor Zhu Di (Yongle) was an accomplished warrior and general before coming to the throne - which he did by defeating the incumbent, his own nephew, in a bloody civil war. During his reign he waged several successful campaigns against the Mongols on China's northern border, personally leading each one. He is best known, however, for sending the eunuch admiral Zheng He and an enormous fleet to explore the world. He is also the emperor who ordered the construction of the aforementioned Forbidden City.
    • Actually many Ming Emperors had an additional skill. The Zhengde Emperor appointed HIMSELF a general and goes to battlefield. The Tianqi Emperor was a talented carpenter. However, in the Chinese traditional ideology, having interest in anything other than your main job destroys your determination. And these emperors are not exactly well praised in the history.
  • Mexica (Aztec) Huey Tlatoani (Emperor) had to prove themselves in battle before even be considered to hold the title, because it was not hereditary. Also even the common folk could gain nobility by proving themselves on the battlefield, making for a true Proud Warrior Race.
  • Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, convinced the Spanish dictator Franco that he supported Franco's views on Fascism. When Franco died, Juan Carlos ascended to absolute ruler, then immediately introduced reforms, legalised and endorsed left-wing parties, oversaw the transition to democracy and a new constitution, and in 1981 went on the telly and slagged off an attempted coup in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish military (a position he holds to this day), telling everyone to support the elected government. Crowning Moment of Awesome! His wife, Sofí­a of Spain was Princess of Greece before WWII. After her country became a Republic however, she returned to Greece, worked in a hospital in Athens and represented Greece in sailing at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
    • Their son, the Prince of Asturias Felipe, also competed as a sailor at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
      • On the other hand, Felipe also got hit with this.
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan is a Trekkie. During a trip to the US while he was a prince, he appeared as an extra in an episode of ST:NE. Because he was not a member of the Screen Actors Guild, he was assigned a non-speaking role. Yes, Abdullah is a native English-speaker; his Arabic is notably accented.
    • His wife, Queen Rania, besides being a very beautiful woman, works for several great and liberalizing causes within that region.
    • Abdullah is also reported to do the King Incognito bit to check on how well the bureaucracy is working.
  • King Albert I of Belgium took command of his army and fought the Germans himself during World War I. He also allowed his 14-old son, Prince Leopold (later Leopold III) to enlist and fight as a private.
  • Rainier III, Prince of Monaco served in the French army during World War II, and earned several medals.
  • Charles Mumbere, the king of part of Uganda, spent much of his reign working as a nurse's aide in the US, although that was partly due to the fact that the government of his home country did not recognize his claim to the throne until recently.
  • Many Egyptian Pharaohs, especially Rameses II (also known as Rameses the Great), who headed many military campaigns in his long reign, and Queen Hatshepsut, who arranged the infamous trading expedition to Punt, not to mention all her architectural projects, including the world-famous temple at Deir-El-Bahri, still standing today.
  • Sheikha Mozah, wife of the Emir of Qatar, is a good example, not to mention a rare Middle Eastern royal consort with a public role. As chair of the Qatar Foundation of Education, Science, and Community Development, she founded Qatar's Education City. Also, she created the Doha Debates, where people discuss and vote on current events on TV.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte of France once wrote novels in his free time (during his earlier years anyway).
    • Not forgetting that he conquered Europe and administered a massive Empire. And while he was still General, he fought on the front lines of many battles.
  • Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of the Saudi Royal Family is an accomplished businessman who amassed his wealth of nearly $20 billion entirely from investments (which include holdings in Citibank, AOL, Apple Inc, MCI, Motorola, News Corp, and many others; all managed by his company, ironically called the Kingdom Holding Company), rather than inheriting from the wealth of the Royal Family. He's also an advocate of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia (he hired Saudi's first female commercial pilot, Captain Hanadi Zakariya Hindi, into his company).
  • Ulugh Beg, grandson of Tamerlane, was not just a sultan, but also the greatest astronomer and mathematician of his time: working from an observatory which, lacking telescopes, utilized a massive sextant, he calculated, among other things, the Earth's axial tilt to 23.52, a figure more accurate than later ones by Copernicus and Tycho Brahe.
  • Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogyakarta. The first thing he did after Japanese forces kicked the Dutch out of East Indies, was firing his Dutch-employed Prime Minister and took the job himself. He saved his people from being sent to forced labor overseas by asking the Japanese to allow them to build local projects. After Sukarno declared independence, he integrated his kingdom to the then-newly born Republic of Indonesia. As a compensation, the government gave him hereditary governor-for-life position and he got to keep his royalty. And then he went to be the Minister of the State and partially funded the War of Independence (we have a Republican Monarch!). After Out Gambitting the returning Dutch forces, which resulted in Indonesia regaining her independence, he became the Minister of Defense. And then Vice Premier. Then Minister of Tourism, then Minister of Finance, and ultimately the Vice-President. He resigned after learning that his President, Suharto, has undemocratic tendencies.
  • Princess Alice of Greece, mother of Prince Phillip, became a nun, and in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, rescued a Jewish family from the Nazis by hiding them in her home. She was later recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among Nations.
  • Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia mounted a guerrilla warfare campaign against the Ottoman Empire, disposed of power-hungry nobles and replaced them with freed men, and made sure his country was crime-free. All very messily, if his nickname "The Impaler" is anything to go by.
  • King Johann (John) of Saxony was an accomplished scholar who among other things wrote an annotated translation of Dante's Divine Comedy into German under the pseudonym Philalethes ("friend of truth").
  • King Ludwig I of Bavaria was a great patron of the arts and sciences. He also wrote poetry, which however became known as one of the great sources of unintentional comedy in German literature. He also had a mania for building castles, which left the kingdom heavily in debt. Ironically, those castles would turn out to be one of history's greatest unintentional examples of Fridge Brilliance when you consider how much money Ludwig's castles now make in tourist revenues for the local economy.
    • Prince Luitpold, the second in line to the Bavarian royal family succession, is the CEO of the Kaltenberg brewery, which has facilities in the Schloss Kaltenberg castle.
  • Actress Laura Elena Harring is a German countess (in spite of being Mexican), but still acts.
  • Similarly actor/director Christopher Guest is an English Baron, which makes his wife, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, The Baroness.
  • Likewise Leelee Sobieski, heiress to the Polish throne (assuming Poland decides to vote to establish her as such of course) is a retired American actress. She is descended from Jon Sobieski himself.
  • Anni-Frid ("Frida") Lyngstad of ABBA is a German princess by virtue of her marriage to the late Prince Reuss.
  • Zeb-Un-Nissa, the daughter of the Grand Mogul (effectively the Moslem emperor of India in the days before The Raj) was renowned as a poetess and her works can still be found today-it is possible to get copies at Amazon.
  • Patronage has long been and still is a service of royalty and nobility. Many a famous artist has gotten a leap by having a royal backer. They often repaid with artistic flattery(Virgil is sometimes suspected of sneaking more then a little of that in for Augustus for instance)but often enough too, the flattery will be to obscure for anyone but a historian and the art will remain.
    • The Medicis were known for this and sponsored a lot of painting and statuary.
  • One of the most important roles of a monarch is essentially to be a state totem. This is more important then it sounds as it can be difficult for citizens to give loyalty to a state which is a machine, and if there is not a ceremonial monarch, sometimes an ambitious politician will take a more poisonous advantage of these natural instincts. This kind of monarchy is actually quite common, often found with a more concrete autocrat paired with him but sometimes found in what is effectively a republic. The ways this role is played vary according to the customs of a given culture. It is common in Northern Europe, notably Britain for monarchs to devote themselves to philanthropy, aforesaid patronage, keeping of national historical treasures, and the handing out of honors for achievement. In some places the duties can be truly stifling and may involve never being seen in public without regalia, never leaving a sacred space, etc. In fact, where religion plays an important part in culture the distinction between a monarch and a high priest is ambiguous and there may in fact be no distinction.
    • The importance of this and other seemingly irrational public (or social to remind of the fact that many are not in fact state sponsored and some are indeed off limits to non-members) institutions is that humanity even in the most complex states has not in fact been psychologically weaned off tribalism, and trying to do so is arguably counterproductive. Sublimating tribalism is a frequent substitute. Similar institutions for this can be lower nobility, chieftainships of kin groups long brought into the system (as in Scotland), private clubs, and the ceremonial aspects of any given occupation, some of which are more inclined to be encrusted with ceremony then others such as military units.
      • In that spirit Loreena McKennitt is the colonel of the 435 Transport and rescue squadron, Colonels in the commonwealth being a ceremonial position[please verify] much like (and related to of course) the monarchy itself and though often soldiers if not of that particular unit, in their own right, not always. McKennitt's primary profession of course is as an entertainer.
  1. It's also partly true in the case of the current English royal family - though to be fair, most of the senior royals are now at an age where normal people have retired, and many of the junior royals hold actual jobs, often in the military.
  2. Sadly, there are many royalty who conspired against their people in their free time. This in turn gave them greater power, so an incentive to carry that out, as well. Many of the nouveau riche, for instance, were generals and warriors who started wearing crowns and intermarrying, while taking out their competition.
  3. It was after the protection part was dropped by the lords that serfdom became no different than slavery. And we know how well that turned out.
  4. Queen Elizabeth was crowned while still in college, but that was over a century ahead of schedule; her father had been assassinated while still in the prime of life.
  5. seeing as how the Prince(ss) isn't a chess piece
  6. late Tang rulers weren't useless as such, but they messed everything up more and more
  7. those were abandoned, but not ruined - in IX century the Uyghurs used them when the Kyrgyzs decided it's their turn to run around and see what they can conquer
  8. Note difference with the policies of Jin dynasty that eventually brought Genghis Khan on their heads. And how under his rule people ran from North to safe prosperous territory South of the Great Wall line - and later they ran in the opposite direction.