Well, Excuse Me, Princess!

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The founding father and mother of this trope.
"Why must everything you say to me sound like a criticism?"
Robin Hood to Marian, BBC's Robin Hood

Snarky loser hero meets snarky haughty girl. They either fall in love, or they snark. Then they do the other.

This is essentially a satire of the standard Magical Girlfriend, which describes a beautiful, classy, good-mannered, loyal girl—the logical result being she should actually be somewhat critical of her loser boyfriend. She makes no attempt to ignore the fact that he is the Loser Guy, and frequently calls him on it, criticizes him, and rarely if ever fawns over him like some Fan Girl. She expects better from him and pushes him to improve, while still expecting to be taken care of. However, the guy usually takes it in stride, mocks her in return, or just says, well...

A series usually says "Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other" to avoid portraying her as a total ball buster. Often appears in Love Comedies, depending on how satirical the story is.

A mild version of the Devil in Plain Sight. See also Tsundere. Related to Belligerent Sexual Tension. Compare/Contrast Surrounded by Idiots.

If it involves an actual Princess Princess, see Royal Brat. The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask can make similar demands.

The trope name comes from the old The Legend of Zelda cartoon, where Link would quite often retort to Zelda's nagging with those words. Although more people probably identify this as one of Han's more memorable lines towards Princess Leia, which predates the Zelda cartoon.

Examples of Well, Excuse Me, Princess! include:

Anime and Manga

  • Lum from Urusei Yatsura is the Trope Codifier for this character type in anime and manga. She's very affectionate to her 'Darling', but doesn't hesitate to zap him with lightning whenever he hits on another girl, which happens a lot.
  • Princess/Queen Mashiro Blan de Windbloom from Mai-Otome starts as this character type, but matures and reforms over the course of the series. Partially gender flipped, since the "loser guy" in her case is The Heroine, Arika Yumemiya.
  • Ermengarde's relationship with Dickon in Soukou no Strain.
  • Asuka Langley Soryuu of Neon Genesis Evangelion—at least, she would have been if the series...hadn't gone the way it did.
  • Narusegawa Naru in Love Hina to her on-off boyfriend Urashima Keitaro.
  • Shinku in Rozen Maiden, partly because she believes Jun is her servant, partly because she's The Ojou and Jun is a Hikikomori.
  • Male example: Keigo Atobe from The Prince of Tennis.
  • Ai Amano of Video Girl Ai twists this trope in that she wasn't supposed to be the girlfriend, but fell for the lovable loser she was trying to improve.
  • Anna Kyouyama from Shaman King.
  • The Goddess Pandora, the "heroine" of the manga Because I'M the Goddess!, has that kind of attitude in her dealings with Aoi.
  • Nagi and Princess Arika in Mahou Sensei Negima, with some serious slaps thrown in for his uppitiness. He was kind of asking for them, though.
  • Poor Asuka Tenjoin of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has to be like this if she wants to get respect from her universe of admirers and people trying to pimp her out as an Idol Singer.
  • William and Miyako in Private Prince Gender Flip this, as he is the prince and she's the commoner with low patience.
  • Louie and Melissa in Rune Soldier Louie, as Melissa constantly criticizes Louie and tries to turn him into a 'champion'.


  • Dimitri and Anya in Anastasia.
  • Han Solo's initial relationship with Princess Leia in Star Wars.
    • Lone Star and Princess Vespa in the Star Wars parody Spaceballs.
    • Ham Salad actually says 'Well excuse me!' to Princess Anne-Droid in the '70s Star Wars parody Hardware Wars.
    • Come to think of it, this seems to be a running gag in Star Wars...
      • Added to it the fact that Canderous refers to Bastila specifically as "You spoiled little Jedi princess."
      • Don't think the fans haven't noticed. Canderous/Bastila is an ascended Crack Ship, popularized when a fanfic writer (who actually writes romance novels professionally) took a whack at it.
  • In Princess Diaries 2, Mia and one of her suitor constantly bitch at each other. It like they just WANT to hate each other.
  • For a while after Star Wars Harrison Ford was practically typecast for this kind of storyline. The number of movies with the premise "Harrison Ford is forced together with haughty woman, they eventually fall in love" is considerable.
  • Princess Eilonwy in the Disney animated version of The Black Cauldron, who patronizes Taran quite a bit when she learns that he's not a warrior or a lord, but an Assistant Pig Keeper. And when Taran pats himself on the back for enabling their castle escape, she takes him down a few notches by reminding him not only that her knowledge of the dungeon passageways allowed him to break out of there, but that Taran's magic sword did most of the work. She initially found him "fascinating" for being an Assistant Pig Keeper in the original Chronicles of Prydain because she had never met an Assistant Pig Keeper before. In fact, she held a persistently casual attitude towards most everything. Though there was an element of the stated trope present, she didn't judge him less for his station. Except when she is Brainwashed and Crazy
  • Slightly weirdly used in Prince of Persia the Sands of Time with Dastan and Tamina since Dastan (as the adopted son of the King of Persia) should be higher ranked than Tamina (as princess of a smallish city state). Sure Dastan was born an urchin but after spending most of his life as a prince the interaction comes across as kind of odd. He defers to her (when he's not selling her to bandits) because he's a gentleman, and she's rather overbearing.
  • Priscilla in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Narrative Poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish." Her snarky, "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" has even achieved meme status.


  • In David Eddings' Belgariad, this is Garion and Ce'Nedra's relationship condensed down to four words. Unsurprisingly, she's pretty pissed when she finds out that he isn't just a farm boy, but actually the long-lost heir to the Rivan Throne and hereditary Overlord of the West... in other words, actually more royal than she is.
    • Worse, she also finds out that she's due to marry him.
      • Nope, for her..the being out ranked by her future husband was worse then having an arranged future husband.
        • Belgarion has the foresight to find a way to make them equal to preserve his own sanity after the marriage.
  • Josua and Vorzheva's relationship looks like this for most of the first and second books.
  • Aravis to Shasta in CS Lewis's The Horse and his Boy. The Lemony Narrator even jokes about this at the end, when he tells the readers that they continued to affectionately bicker and eventually decided to get married so they could continue to do so more conveniently.
    • This defines their relationship from the very begining. Their first words to each other: "Why, you're only a girl." "And you're only a boy. A rude, common litte boy. A slave probably who's stolen his master's horse!"
  • The relationship between Taran and Eilonwy in The Chronicles of Prydain, although the series is peppered liberally with Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other moments, mitigating this somewhat.
  • Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice:

Elizabeth: My behavior to you was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now, be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?
Mr. Darcy: For the liveliness of your mind, I did.

Winterbourne: I wish you would flirt with me, and me only.
Daisy: Ah! thank you—thank you very much; you are the last man I should think of flirting with. As I have had the pleasure of informing you, you are too stiff.
Winterbourne: You say that too often.
Daisy: If I could have the sweet hope of making you angry, I should say it again.

  • Christine of The Phantom of the Opera (the original novel by Gaston Leroux, at least) never lets Raoul push her around and has no problem telling him to mind his own business.
  • Marguerite Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel—of course, her husband is actually a lot smarter and more competent than she knows...
  • Carline in The Riftwar Cycle acts like this towards Pug, then later in the series, towards Laurie.
  • Rowena of Ivanhoe, which the Narrator blames on being raised as a Spoiled Brat.
  • In the Discworld novel Mort, the titular character has this sort of relationship with Ysabel, Death's adopted daughter.
  • In Stardust Tristran and Yvaine start off like this. This is not exactly surprising given why she's stuck with him.
  • Faile tries to do this to Perrin in The Wheel of Time.
  • Good lord, Kitai of the Codex Alera is made of this trope. She wanted to bond with a horse, and continues to remind Tavi at relatively regular intervals. She doesn't just look down at him for personal reasons, but also detests his species. She snarks it up with some of the best and, yes, they do eventually fall in love.
    • Super extra bonus points for being described as insanely, exotically beautiful, yet Tavi first mistook her for a boy. She can hold that over his head for a very long time.
    • She gets a Quip to Black to end out the series that doubles as this trope.
    • Mild inversion: Tavi's actually royalty, Kitai's just the daughter of the head of one tribe, and her people's diplomatic (appointed by Tavi).
    • She's so good at this that she manages to hide her pregnancy from Tavi by just playing this trope straight Up to Eleven.
  • Precious Stone is this to James Bond at the start of the Young Bond novel Hurricane Gold.

Live Action TV

  • In the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series Robin notes that everything Marian says to him sounds like a criticism.
    • On the same show, Allan-a-Dale's priceless reaction to Kate snapping: "My NAME is KATE!" by way of an introduction. His expression alone is the embodiment of this trope.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Both of Xander Harris' girlfriends, Cordelia and Anya, had a strong tendency in this direction.
    • By the time he's going with Anya, he's actually fairly competent, and so the trope is sometimes lampshaded in dialogue.
  • Star Trek example: Let's not forget the Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed! For non-Trekkies, that's Lwaxana Troi, Deanna's mom. Marched around the Enterprise and Deep Space Nine like she owned the place, and looked awesome doing it. At least once per appearance, would say her full title when letting some unfortunate schmo know who they were dealing with, in a way that would evoke the local equivalent of "Well, excuuuuse me, Princess!" if not for the diplomatic incident it would cause. And she wasn't shy about poking around in people's minds. She wanted to be Picard's Love Interest, but he wasn't interested... though she claims otherwise, and she would know.
    • Made all the more hilarious that Lwaxana was played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and therefore almost quite literally owned the place (the idea, anyway).
    • Later appearances had her blow through the titles like she was sick of saying it, generally when she honestly expected people to not be impressed. Her introduction to a certain constable springs to mind...
    • Kaitama the First Monarch in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Precious Cargo". She starts off as a kidnapping victim Girl in a Box. When she is removed by Trip Tucker, she spends the episode being this to him while they escape from the kidnappers, leading to the inevitable squabbling, torn clothing, and passionate cliche clinching.
  • Donna from That '70s Show.
  • Along with Belligerent Sexual Tension, Mal and Inara in Firefly play this straight and invert it, sometimes simultaneously.
  • Emma the "cause girl" from Degrassi the Next Generation is even sarcastically called a princess at one point.
  • Lady Morgana from Merlin, at least in the first series. Also Lady Vivian, but without the falling in love part.
  • Penny from The Big Bang Theory.


Video Games

  • Adell and Rozalin from Disgaea 2.
  • The Player Character (if male) and Bastila Shan in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
    • If the player character is female, she can do this to the hunky pilot Carth.
  • The Neverwinter Nights mod The Bastard of Kosigan has the player's relationship with Alex look something like this.
  • Clarine of Reglay in Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals, especially in regards to Rutger the myrmidon and Lance the cavalier. She eventually warms up to them and to the female Archer Dorothy, not always putting status before everything. (And Rutger admits in their A support that he likes her better like this. Awwww.)
  • Phoenix Wright thinks this exact line (complete with a drawn-out "excuuuse") after one of Franziska von Karma's foolishly foolish lines for foolishly foolish fools.
    • Given that the Ace Attorney series is laden with Shout Outs, this is probably just another one.
    • There's also one in Ace Attourney Investigations when you are examining Lance Amano's testimony.
  • The eponymous Prince of Persia (in his recent 3-D incarnations, anyway) has this sort of a relationship with the various female sidekicks he works with.


Junpei: Those 9 plates look pretty expensive.
Lotus: They're plates for appetizers. Remember appetizers usually come on square plates.
Junpei: Okay, okay. Well excuuuuuuse me, princess.


Western Animation

  • And who could forget the hero who overused this phrase: Link in The Legend of Zelda cartoon, in probably his most lackadaisical and loser guy iteration. Zelda was a pretty good mix of both this and the Magical Girlfriend tropes.
    • They actually parody that in the Flash series: Unforgotten Realms but it is Roamin saying it to his assistant Gary It gets even more literal when said assistant cross dresses for one event
      • It's also used in the online series There Will Be Brawl. Borders the line of Crowning Moment of Awesome, as Link's finally had it with Zelda's ideals, and uses it to cement that he wants no further part in her schemes. Too bad he ends up shanked because of it later on.
  • The eponymous Kim Possible attempting to fix best friend Ron Stoppable. Considering how pathetically You Suck he was through Season 1 and 2, she probably didn't go far enough.

Kim: "Last night he had to take off his shoes to count to 12, now he's taking a genius aptitude test." Kim realises something isn't quite right with Ron Stoppable.