Warrior Prince

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This is where a member of royalty actually takes part in battle himself, especially as commander. This was once quite common, and examples of it can be found from time to time in the present day. It is a favourite of epic and romantic tales. A warrior prince can be a Wise Prince, bravely fighting for his kingdom; he can also be an evil conqueror. While this character always stands a high chance of being a Badass it is even more likely in that second case, as the Big Bad exposing himself requires a certain level of Badassery.

Very, very common in myth and legend, going back to those Older Than Dirt.

A subtrope of Royals Who Actually Do Something. See also Authority Equals Asskicking, Lady of War, and the Distaff Counterpart, Badass Princess.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, The White Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next steps down are The Caligula, The Good Chancellor, Standard Royal Court and Deadly Decadent Court. The next steps up are The Good King, God Save Us From the Queen, The High Queen, and The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. See also Risking the King

Examples of Warrior Prince include:

Anime and Manga


  • Sharif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia is great for this. He was a perfect Hollywood version of a romanticised Bedouin warrior-prince, being dignified, honourable, and quite badass.
  • Fabious, in Your Highness. His brother, Thadeous? Not so much.

Comic Books

  • The Shi'ar royal family in X-Men comics. It starts out with the mad emperor D'Ken and his two warrior princess sisters. Then he's overthrown and his sane sister Lilandra takes the throne, leaving his insane sister Deathbird to command the imperial guard (with occasional holidays to Earth where she works as a supervillain).
  • The DC superhero Geo-Force's civilian identity is Prince Brion Markov of Markovia; his half-sister, Terra, is likewise Markovian royalty.
  • Namor was doing this back when he was still only a Prince (and he's still generally referred to as such, despite being the King of Atlantis). This is, almost without exception, the cause of any perceived villainy in his publishing history: it's all either in the name of protecting or avenging Atlantis.
  • Aquaman still takes time to fight for Truth, Justice and the ____ way when he's not busy ruling over Atlantis.
    • Tempest was like this too during the War of the Lights, he became king of Atlantis because he was the only one left. Then he died.
  • Isplourrdacartha Estillo, aka Plourr Illo, was a princess who joined the Rebellion. Not as a diplomat, though. She's a mechanic, a pilot, and a brawler.
  • Iolande of the Green Lantern Corps would like to be this, and was for a while, but the deaths of the rest of her family meant she had to take the throne. Being the ruler of an entire world leaves little time for ring-slinging.



  • Prince Roger of the March Upcountry series, against the desires of his bodyguards. Very much to their surprise, he's a good one, and towards the end is fighting more to protect them than they him. He is assisted by Rastar Komas Ta'Norton, the alien Prince of lost Therdan, who joins Roger as a mercenary, and Rastar's cousin Honal.
  • Aileron, the elder prince in the Fionnavar Tapestry, contrasting with his younger brother Diarmuid who is more of a dandy, albeit a cool one.
    • Well they're both warriors, Diarmuid even fighting the champion of the Big Bad (he loses, but puts up a good fight). The difference is that Aileron is a soldier.
  • Gwydion, Prince of Don in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles novels, who is also The Wise Prince and a Supporting Leader. Justified, as he's "the prince" because he's the High King's war leader. The books also have Fflewddur Fflam, Warrior Poet king.
  • Gawain and Galad from Wheel of Time, though neither ends up fighting for their country in the end.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Robb Stark was always close to the action while he was King of the North. Rhaegar Targaryen pulled double duty as The Wise Prince, though he did so posthumously.
  • It's quite normal in Forgotten Realms, but Cormyr has a Warrior Princess—Alusair, who loved to go kicking asses and scoring cool guys adventuring whenever possible, even if her family wasn't too happy about this. Usually taking some elite troops for good company, but why not...
  • Let us not forget Carrot Ironfoundersson, the last remaining descendant of the kings of Ankh in Discworld, who instead of claiming his right to rule (Lord Vetinari already does a very good job at that, and many, including possibly Carrot, have an issue with him having a 'right' to rule in the first place), prefers to remain in his position as Captain of the City Watch.
  • Andalites are a subversion: Their army is full of princes...but their society has no royalty whatsoever. "Prince" and "War-Prince" are purely military ranks.
  • Crown Prince Janaki chan Calirath is fulfilling the tradition of his family by learning what it's like to be a soldier, and ends up organizing a successful defense against enemy attack, even knowing (thanks to precognitive abilities) that doing so means he will die.
  • The Elder Scrolls Novels - Prince Attrebus is a Deconstruction of this.
  • The Silmarillion: many of the Noldor leaders were this. Finrod Felagund fits the type perfectly, being a Reasonable Authority Figure who goes out with a Heroic Sacrifice, killing a Big Badass Wolf with his bare hands.
    • Basically the entire House of Finwë, actually. Fëanor & Sons...
    • The Lord of the Rings is certainly not missing this trope either, with Aragorn, Boromir and Faramir (who are practically royalty), and the royal house of Rohan.
    • And let's not forget Legolas, who is in fact the son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood.
    • Pippin and Merry might count as well: Pippin's the heir to the Took, who's the closest thing the Shire has to a head of state, and Merry's the heir to the Master of Buckland, another prestigious title.
  • His Royal Highness Prince Nigel Cluim Gwydion Rhys Haldane, Prince Regent and Duke of Carthmoor, as depicted in the Deryni works. The "Iron Duke" is a skilled military tactician and a natural-born leader who inspires confidence and respect in his soldiers as well as in the pages and squires he trains at the Haldane Court. He was part of the expedition against the Marluk (a Festillic Pretender to the throne of Gwynedd) as well as the campaign against Wencit of Torenth in High Deryni. Nigel also functions much as an American Vice President, presiding over Gwynedd's court when Kelson is dealing with Mearan rebels, travelling on his quest for Saint Camber's relics, and when he attends Liam-Lajos' enthronement in King Kelson's Bride.
  • Numerous examples in the work of David and Leigh Eddings. The Belgariad features Kings Anheg of Cherek, Korodullin of Arendia, Cho-Hag of Algaria, Taur Urgas of Cthol Murgos, and later King Belgarion of Riva and Zakath, Emperor of Boundless Mallorea.
  • Gilthanas in the Dragonlance Chronicles.
  • Quite normal in the setting of the Barsoom novels, although there are also many (villainous) rulers who are dirty cowards instead. The ultimate example is of course John Carter, the Warlord of Mars, which title means basically "biggest Badass on the planet."
  • Paul Atreides in Dune.
    • The prequel novels add even more. Paul's grandfather Paulus personally led troops in battle on Ecaz, along with his friend Dominic Vernius, Earl of Ix. This dates back to Xavier Harkonnen during the Butlerian Jihar who comes from a noble house.
  • King David. True, he's an inversion of this trope as he killed 200 Philistines to obtain his Awesome Moment of Crowning and become King Saul's son-in-law, having been born a common shepherd. Regardless, he continued to serve as a soldier even after becoming a prince.
  • Each and every Princeps of Alera. The children of the other High Lords also qualify to a degree; notably Crassus and Maximus, who are respectively Lord Antillus's heir and his illegitimate son and both of whom hold critical positions in the military. It helps that all of the High Blood are ludicrously powerful furycrafters. And extra special points to Gaius Octavian, a Crazy Awesome Badass with or without any furycrafting abilities at all and the sort of commander who, to quote Fidelias, men would follow into a leviathan's gullet.
    • Octavian even kills the Vord Queen personally at the climax of the battle with the Vord. If that doesn't qualify him for this trope, nothing will.
  • Every Prince of Leah in the Shannara series. Ander Elessedil of the Elves combines this with The Wise Prince in Elfstones.
  • The Belisarius Series had tons of these. This Troper liked Rana Sanga best, but there was also Eon, Rao and Shakuntula, several of the Persians, and so on.
  • Highprinces Dalinar Kholin and Sadeas in The Stormlight Archive, maybe the other Alethi highprinces as well, but those are the only two we see in action. Also Gavilar was an actual warrior king.
  • After Jonathan becomes a knight and Tortall goes to war in "In the Hand of the Goddess."
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess.
  • Emperor Gregor in The Vor Game is this Played for Laughs. He runs away from his duties as The Emperor, and gets involved in a local power struggle. He is for the most part a White Prince, but because of his experience in Barrayar's Deadly Decadent Court, he actually does perform rather well, he is not cowardly at least and he does manage to outwit a local mercenary's scheme.
  • This is largely why Mark becomes Prince Consort of Tasavalta at the end of the Books of Swords. Originally, he and Princess Kristin were forbidden from marrying by the nobles and the court because Mark was a commoner. Then it was revealed that Mark was a son of the Emperor, so they decided it was okay after all. Except that the Emperor in these books is not actually the ruler of any country, and was widely believed to be nothing more than a wandering clown; the very term "children of the Emperor" usually referred to paupers, fools, and orphans. On top of that, Mark was a bastard son of the Emperor in any case. What really happened was that the Tasavaltan army decided that they wanted a real warrior on the throne.
  • all over the place for the Honor Harrington series, beginning with the crown Prince of Manticore who was a naval officer, to Honor herself, as Steadholders are heads of state. Abigail Hearns is the daughter of a Steadholder, and thus a princess. Queen Berry Zilwicki's sister Helen is also a naval officer

Live Action Television

  • Prince Arthur from Merlin. It's a key element to his character, since he's far more comfortable in this role than he is in any other aspect of ruling, a trait that is often Lampshaded by other characters.
  • Prince Conor from Roar.
  • Kahless the Unforgettable and pretty much any Klingon aristocrat after him in Star Trek.
    • Kahless wasn't an aristocrat originally. He became Emperor after deposing the former ruler Molor.
      • In which case he became a Warrior Prince by a method Klingons would approve of.

Tabletop Games

  • The Traveller volume Nobles has a character template for a nobleman in the Imperial Navy.
  • Quite common in Warhammer Fantasy. With Authority Equals Asskicking and armed with Ancestral Weapon this means that several of them are capable to take down large monsters and demons.
  • BattleTech the head of state of the Federated Suns is "First Prince"(the title is applied to both genders), the position requires the individual to have served at least 5 years in the military.


  • Shakespeare's history plays Henry IV and Henry V feature the future King Henry V and his rival Hotspur, who were rival princes both extremely skilled in combat.


  • Prince Jarvan Lightshield IV, the Exemplar of Demacia of League of Legends
  • Common in Fire Emblem, but probably most exemplified in Prince Marth of FE1 and Prince Ephraim in FE8.
  • Prince of Persia.
    • Actually only one of the main characters (from Sands of Time) is a prince by blood, others just happen to have this title as a nickname.
    • Well, the main character of the very first game, in 1989, BECAME a Prince (by marrying a Princess) at the end.
    • Ditto for Destan in The Movie, even though he's an adopted prince. Played completely straight for his older brothers, who all have royal blood. The eldest brother commands the army. The second brother leads the cavalry, while Destan has a special squad perfect for infiltrating fortifications.
  • Prince Tristan in the first, and I believe also the second, Ogre Battle games.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Though they never call him by the "prince" title, Jak from Jak and Daxter still fits the bill due to his royal heritage.
  • Suikoden V series features a benevolent example in the Prince of Falena, the Silent Protagonist of the game, while Suikoden II features the embodiment of the evil variety in the Prince of Highland, Luca Blight.
  • Cornelius of Odin Sphere becomes one by necessity. Turns out Oswald, being his cousin, also counts as one.
  • Bhanri, the Arcana of Lightning of Arcana Heart. According to her backstory, she was a warrior queen in life whose deeds made her legendary for many generations, ascending her to her current status.
  • Another female example: Princess Zelda is shown in such a capacity in the flashback sequence of The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess.
  • King Mickey, he can save your ass in the hard boss battles, and is basically the Yoda of the Kingdom Hearts series.
  • King Cailan of Dragon Age fits this trope. He's particularly eager to battle the darkspawn, and you never see him out of his massive suit of GOLD battle armour. It doesn't go well for him. Although to be fair Cailan lasted almost as long in the battle as Duncan did, and Duncan was one of the most legendary warriors on the continent.
    • Then there's his half-brother Alistair, your fellow Grey Warden. Since he's a party member he gets to actually live through it. If you take the Dwarven Noble Origin, you are technically an example too.
  • Prince Ariona Allant, aka Ostrava, from Demon's Souls counts, but it's stretched a bit as he needs rescuing two of the three times you meet him in the Boletarian Palace.
  • Arthas Menethil, Prince of Lordaeron in Warcraft III, until his Face Heel Turn. Kael'thas Sunstrider, Prince of Quel'thalas (although he uses magic) in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind in World of Warcraft.
    • Prince Liam Greymane is this in the Cataclysm expansion.
    • Jayne Proudmoore for a female example, as she is the daughter of Admiral cailan Proudmoore, the late ruler of the nation of Kul Tiras, even though she also uses magic.
  • Bart from Xenogears appears to be a pirate, but is really a prince in hiding.
  • In Total War, as your generals are all members of your royal family, this is commonplace.
    • Except for Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War (except for Napoleon himself post-crowning).
  • Prince Laharl from Disgaea.
  • Magic Knight Richard from Tales of Graces is the prince of one of the game's major kingdoms.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Prince Amiti of Ayuthay becomes an adventurer and joins your party in hopes that the experience will make him a wiser prince. It works; he goes from painfully naiive to being much more understanding, and kicks some ass along the way.
  • King Graham in King's Quest, justified in the fact that he was a knight before becoming king. Alexander may also count - although he's not really one for physical confrontation or battle, he's still accomplished some pretty badass feats, including quickly mastering many magical spells and riding Death's horse into the land of the dead.


  • Pella Brightwing from Twice Blessed is a deadly pixie warrior princess.
  • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach from Girl Genius, as well as Zeetha.
    • Prince Tarvek of Sturmhalten, heir to the Storm King, turns out to be less incompetent a fighter than his cousin/bodyguard Violetta had thought.
    • Zeetha's been training Agatha Heterodyne in combat, and now that Agatha's claimed her ancestral home of Mechanicsburg...

Zeetha: You are in serious need of some princess lessons.
Agatha: Prin- What?! Now?!
Zeetha: Yes. Now. It's important. You're the new ruler of Mechanicsburg, you need to act like it. [...] First lesson. Every princess needs a battle axe. Here. Use this one until we find something more impressive.
Agatha: Ah. That kind of princess.
Zeetha: Come on. I saw some armor in a burning museum that's to die for.

  • Drowtales is filled with the female variety, Sil'lice being a prime example. She led her entire household into war.
  • Last Res0rt has Princess Adharia Kuvoe, Executioner.
  • Prince Ansom of Jetstone and his brothers Ossomer and Tramennis all hold officer positions in the Royals' campaign against Stanley.
    • Jillian is a female variant, much to the disappointment of her father who had wanted a son and a philosopher.

Web Original

  • The Chaos Timeline has Prince Alasdair, later king Alexander of Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, and (shortly) elected king of Poland and Holy Roman Emperor. Later inspires this world's most famous modern fantasy epos.

Western Animation

  • Princess Azula, Prince Zuko, Iroh and Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. And before Azula and Zuko got into the action, their cousin Lu Ten (Iroh's son) served in the Fire Nation's army.
    • Possibly also Sokka and Katara too, as their father was the chief of the Southern Water Tribe and they were in charge of the village. They never go by any royal titles, however, and aren't treated like royalty by their tribe.
  • Simba from The Lion King.
  • In Fairly Oddparents, Mark is technically the "warrior prince" of Yugopatamia... but it's pretty much in title only.
  • Adora and Glimmer, Princesses of Eternia and Brightmoon respectively and high ranking leaders in The Rebellion, and that's not even counting Adora's Super Powered alter ego, the titular She-Ra.
    • Adora's brother Adam doesn't really count. While he is quite active in his He-Man persona, as Prince Adam he's considered lazy and useless by those who don't know his secret. Their father on the other hand was implied to be in the thick of things during the Horse invasion of Eternia.
  • Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon grows into this.
  • Prince Valiant
  • Samurai Jack, although most of his career, he was a Warrior Prince in exile, after his kingdom was usurped by Aku.

Real Life

  • It would be better to list the exceptions, as the examples would run on for too long. That said, Prince, later King, John, called the Soft-Sword.
    • In fairness, as John was the fifth and last son of Henry II, he was actually expected to go into the clergy, and as such, he received a good deal more education than his older brothers, all of whom received land, titles, and the expectations to defend all that. He did lead armies into battle; he just wasn't that good at it.
  • Edward the Black Prince deserves a special mention.
  • Alexander the Great commanded the Macedonian cavalry in his father's final battle.
  • The British Royal Family. All members serve on active duty - but Charles the Prince of Wales and his son William are considered too valuable to send into actual combat. About the others... :
    • Harry, youngest son of Charles and William's younger brother, actually threatened to resign his commission if he wasn't permitted to accompany the rest of his unit to Afghanistan.
    • Prince William himself may not be allowed to fly combat, but flying Search and Rescue helicopters for the RAF is only marginally less dangerous.
    • Andrew, Duke of York, flew in the Falkland Islands war.
    • Prince Philip served in WWII, so did Her Majesty Elizabeth;
    • the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Kent, died on a bomber mission.
      • It is actually required for the British Royal Family to serve in the military in some regard to retain their royal status. Defense of the realm and all that, wot.
    • The last King of England to die in combat was Richard III at Bosworth in 1485. The last King to lead his troops in battle personally was George II at the battle of Dettingen in 1743.
  • William I and his son were among the last European rulers to personally take the field, and did reasonably well too as was appropriate given his country. His opponent the Emperor of France, though less qualified, also led in the field which was appropriate given his grandfather.
  • As recently as 1914, Albert I, King of the Belgians, personally led his army when Germany invaded Belgium at the start of World War I.
  • In World War I, Crown Prince Wilhelm and Prince Ruprecht of Bavaria both commanded army groups on the Western Front.
  • In the Ottoman Empire, much like in the trope in general, the exceptions are more noteworthy. Almost all of their sultans, princes, and top aristocrats were some variety of Warrior Prince, Cultured Badass, or Ambadassador.
  • Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland, was elected monarch precisely because of his accomplishments as a military commander. Those skills also came in handy after his election, too.
  • Military historian John Keegan once speculated that being able to have aversions to this was a sign that a culture was more civilized. The reason was that having a lot of Warrior Princes may conceivably be a sign of their valor. But it could also be a sign that the people had no respect for law and order and any prince that stayed home would probably be assassinated. Going with this logic, he notes that while some Roman, Byzantine, and Chinese Emperors commanded in the field, others managed to stay home. While almost all Western European rulers that weren't obviously excused by incapacity were Warrior Princes.
  • In Islamic Law a Caliph has to be in possession of his senses. Obviously there is nothing preventing a blind man from handling red tape if he has a good scribe. But a blind man simply can't go to war very easily.
    • Hussite leader Jan Zizka (1360-1424) showed that it was possible, though, continuing to lead the Taborite army after losing one eye as a child and the second in battle. Not a prince though; probably more of a Warrior Monk.
      • Blind king John of Bohemia likewise charged into battle at Crécy. Didn't end well.
  • Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Widely considered to be one of the greatest military commanders of all time, even among some of greats themselves. Without going into his varied military and administrative achievements, he came from a country that was considered a backwater and created a Badass Army that effectively took over half of Germany during the Thirty Years' War. While heavily involved in planning and formulation of tactics and training, he often led his own cavalry charges, which eventually also led to his death.
  • In Tsarist Russia, the word "prince" had a more broad meaning than "son of the king," and there were several princes who were military leaders. Two of the most famous are Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, who with Kuzma Minin threw off the Polish occupation, and Prince Pyotr Bagration, who fought and died in the Napoleonic Wars, as depicted in War and Peace.
    • This is the reason why the word "принц" ("printz") is now used in Russian specifically for the son of the king (or tsar). "Knyaz" is the word with the broad meaning. In fact, the title of the ruler of the original Russian state (Kievan Rus') was Grand Prince.
  • Ancient Egyptian kings often depicted themselves fighting in battles and wars that occurred during their reigns. Whether these depictions are truth, propaganda, or symbolism is another matter.
    • One example that probably isn't propaganda, or at least not purely propaganda, comes from the reign of Hatshepsut, one of Egypt's most famous female rulers after Cleopatra. Not her though, her nephew, the future Thutmose III is generally depicted as commanding the army while she ruled, even going so far as wearing the blue War Crown of the Pharaoh.
  • Roman society demanded this trope from the higher classes, and until the Marian reforms their army was based on such a militia. Politicians, though not royalty, were expected to be military leaders, and martial prowess was ideally indistinguishable from political prowess. A surefire way to get a respected and high post in the government was to get a triumph, which required winning a war. (Sometimes winning a major battle could be enough if you played your cards right.)