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When kings the sword of justice first lay down,

They are no kings, though they possess the crown.

Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things,

The good of subjects is the end of kings.
Daniel Defoe

This is the opposite of the Ermine Cape Effect, where persons in power, usually members of the royal family or the ruling monarch, prefer very simple clothing and will often refuse to wear anything but the simplest crown. They still won't dress like Slobs Versus Snobs or peasants -- that would be King Incognito. You might mistake them for well-mannered commoners in the right situation. Color-Coded Patrician is possible.

Sometimes the Princess Classic can go this way, but a Rebellious Princess almost always will. The Boisterous Bruiser, if a royal, usually does; fancy clothing interferes with drinking life to the lees. It's not uncommon to see the King walk the streets as a King Incognito while their Decoy Leader handles the day-to-day.

This trope is usually confined to good fictional royalty. Evil royalty tend to go overboard with their costumes and impressive crowns. Common exceptions are conquerors from Proud Warrior Races and Barbarian Tribes, who tend to dress in a simple but Badass fashion, and those who insist they are Just the First Citizen. A possible example of this exception might be a Magnificent Bastard who dresses his Praetorian Guard up in gorgeous Bling of War to emphasize his power while he wears grimly simple garb himself to emphasize what a Badass he is.

Largely Truth in Television, if only because you'd have to be extremely sybaritic to walk around every day wearing a fortune in irreplaceable jewelry and fancy clothes, although in the past, some came close.

There is even a correlation with good monarchs: all those dresses, furs, and jewelry cost money, which had to come from taxes, unless the monarch is a miser or, in more recent times, exports some natural resource over which the state has a monopoly. However, those monarchies tend to become corrupt, too.

Compare Royals Who Actually Do Something, Real Women Never Wear Dresses.

Contrast with the Ermine Cape Effect, Costume Porn, Pimped-Out Dress, Bling of War, and some other Luxury Tropes.

Examples of Modest Royalty include:


Anime And Manga

  • Princess Fala (Allura) of GoLion (Voltron), arguably. When not wearing her floor-length pink dress, she goes with a jumpsuit and small tiara.
  • Konoka Konoe in Mahou Sensei Negima is this basically. The class' other Ojou is willing to spend the most ridiculous sums of money for whatever reason and has upgraded her dorm room to be twice as large as the standard (though in one episode of the first TV series, she took the subway with Asuna while dressed in a typical teen's shirt, jeans, and sneakers). Meanwhile Konoka (who's even richer) chooses to live as the other students and has so far used her vast fortune at least once in the series (to gain help for her friends from a miserly Boisterous Bruiser). Konoka specifically concealed it from the class that she was so rich at all (since they never asked). Not many princesses more modest than the type who enjoy housework and cooking. Asuna would also count if she actually knew she was a princess. Likewise the latter's relative, Negi, who was raised after the kingdom fell in a fairly austere setting.
  • Princess Amelia's yellow/tan traveling outfit is modest, even compared to the sorceress Lina's complex getup, and the dress and accessories she's usually seen in (a ruffly pink dress) while performing her duties isn't super-elaborate. Aside from her vocal love of righteousness that boarderlines on Wrong Genre Savvy, one also doesn't get more modest than a willingness to travel in austre settings with a bunch of misfits.
    • And from season 4, the prince Pokota (before being transformed into a stuffed animal thing) was also shown to have dressed down.
  • In Code Geass, Princess Euphemia may have Rapunzel Hair, but her style of dress is rather plain compared to the rest of the family. (spoiler alert).
    • Lelouch and Nunnally were actually commoners on their mother's side, with their father as The Emperor. As a result, they were disowned after her death and live like regular Britannian teenagers (or, as much as they can given their unique situation). They're both generally much kinder and modest compared to the rest of the royal court (except for the afore-mentioned Euphie, who's the only one from the family Lelouch still seems to love unconditionally).
  • Van Fanel (as did the rest of the Fanelian royal family, as seen in flashbacks) in Vision of Escaflowne dresses very plainly, to the point that people outside of Fanelia - noble and peasant alike - don't even realize he's royalty unless someone points it out.
  • One Piece: Princess Nefeltari Vivi of Alabasta. Granted the majority of her time onscreen was infiltrating an underground criminal organization that was trying to take over her kingdom and later fighting alongside the Straw Hats as an honorary crew mate, but she's only ever shown once in a Pimped-Out Dress and that was for an official occasion. Mostly she's seen wearing comfortable and practical clothes for everyday duties. To some extent, Dalton from Drum Kingdom, but then again he didn't inherit the throne and doesn't like to be called "King" to begin with.
  • Sailor Moon: Queen Serenity and her daughter have fairly simple dresses as anime royalty goes, even Chibi Usa's princess dress in the manga is pretty modest, if you ignore the colour and frills. Even their jewellery understated, even Neo-Queen Serenity's crown (which is more like a tiara in the manga) isn't excessive and that's about the most ornate thing any of them appear with, minus the scepters, of course.
  • Shogun Yoshimune in Ooku: the Inner Chambers has a very informal style, going so far as to conduct business in her pajamas and dragging members of her harem into convenient rooms or bushes on a whim. It's good to be the shogun.
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind always chooses practical clothes for flight, exploration and combat. At the beginning she wears the same uniform as the old male pilots of her valley.
  • Relena Peacecraft from Gundam Wing tends to wear modest clothing in her everyday life, and even during the period where she was ruler of her own nation she alternated between a modestly fancy outfit for formal occasions and the local school uniform for day-to-day wear. The fanciest she gets is this dress, worn during the four episodes/two weeks in-universe where she was Queen of the World.
  • Queen Millennia has this for pretty much the entire royal family: Yayoi and later her sister usually walks around in "normal" Earth clothes in order to keep up the masquerade, but even the royal clothes are subdued. The queen has a cool lightshow but when she leaves it it turns out she is only wearing a similar version and a very un-fancy helmet.
  • Although Hotohori is always well-dressed (and interested in fashion), he doesn't wear anything too fancy most of the time.


Film

  • Star Wars does this. Princess Leia spends more of her time in either her white outfit or more practical clothing. Emperor Palpatine, ruler of the Galaxy, Evil Overlord Supreme? A black robe and hood. Padme and subsequent Queens of Naboo wore elaborate garb for public functions, but switched to simpler clothes afterwards.
    • This extends into the Expanded Universe. Plour, being a Hot Amazon with a shaved head that grows into short hair over the course of the comics, never really wears anything that wouldn't work in a fight or a cockpit.
  • The royalty of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings movies wear clothing and armor that is mostly everyday garb with a little more decorations and no mud on it.
  • Hayao Miyazaki's Prince Ashitaka and Princess Nausicaa from Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind respectively. Of course, both come from far more rural regions than the above examples.
  • The titular character in Joanna The Mad usually wears simple dresses.
  • Disney
  • Leonidas in Three Hundred. You don't get much simpler than a pair of tight leather shorts and a cape. Queen Gorgo seems to wear lengths of un-dyed wool draped around herself and precariously secured with a few leather straps except for the burgundy number she wears to confront the senate.


Literature

  • Mercedes Lackey loves this one. Most of the good kings and queens (Queen Selenay, Prince-consort Daren, Grand Duke/King Tremane, Ari and Nofret) wear high-quality but simple clothing and refuse to wear heavy robes and large crowns. The evil rulers, on the other hand (Queen Cassiopeia, Queen Clothilde, and the Emperor of the Eastern Empire), go all out for pomp and circumstance. An exception is High Priest Solaris, who as the spiritual and political ruler of Karse has to wear elaborate garb.
    • Ari and Nofret only wear royal garbs hen they have too. They hate how uncomfortable the stuff feels.
    • Justified Trope as one of the requirements of being the monarch is to also serve as a Herald and be out in the battlefield if required.
    • Solaris's personal quarters are described as both plain and expensive (albeit far less so than her predecessor's). A simple chair made with very exotic tigerwood, for instance.
    • An occasional exception to the villains typically not doing is the aforementioned Emperor, whose royal regalia is as spartan in some ways as it is lush in others, for the 'making himself look badass' principle.
  • The rulers of the Mountain Kingdom in the Farseer trilogy are not royalty in the traditional sense, so when Fitz first meets Kettricken and her brother he mistakes them for servants.
  • It seems like the royalty in Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books are like this and come to think of it, a lot of fictional works set in Ancient Greece tend to lean in this direction. Maybe Truth in Television- I remember reading something to the effect that Odysseus was rather like this, given that his kingdom was pretty small and rocky- not the kind of place that encourages ostentation.
  • Cheradinine Zakalwe in Iain M Banks' Use of Weapons: one of his assignments by the Culture is to turn around a war for one side. His coming has been prophesied, but he's not there just to be feted, so he rejects the ornate garments they offer him for military uniform.
  • In one version of the King Midas story his princess daughter went to school with the other children, dressing and acting like a fairly ordinary (if wealthy) schoolgirl, despite all the extravagant luxury she had back home.
  • Tamora Pierce tends to give the more sympathetic royal characters in her books this trait. In the first book in the Immortals series, when Daine first meets Queen Thayet, she's surprised to learn that Thayet is, well, the Queen, because she's dressed very plainly. In fact, one could go far as to say if a character likes dressing up really fancy all the time, they're probably evil. Examples include Roger from the Song of the Lioness Quartet, Ozorne in the Immortals Quartet, Joren, and to a lesser extent, Blayce in the Protector of the Small Quartet, Imajane and Rubinyan in the Tricksters books, and any noble antagonist in any of the Circle of Magic books. Good characters like dressing up sometimes, but only in very simple and understated fancy outfits. The more jewelry and makeup a character wears on a regular basis, the more evil they are with the exception of Dove in Trickster's Queen because she's embracing her "native" side by wearing multiple rings. And if a character does dress to the nines at every occasion and isn't evil, they are at least dismissed as very flippant or silly or petty and mean.
    • Ironically, TP is so into long, loving descriptions of what all of her characters are wearing that the effect of any contrast is sort of lost on the reader. She can spend just as much time telling you someone's not dressed up as that they are.
    • One notorious subversion was a story told to Daine, in which Thayet had been dressed up in a very expensive dress for a court function, but was called to fight bandits in her capacity as Commander of the Queen's Riders. The bandits were defeated, but the dress most emphatically did not survive.
  • Frank Herbert's original Dune did exactly this. The narrator takes great pains to point out that Emperor Shaddam IV rarely bothers to wear imperial regalia; he prefers an only slightly more ostentatious version of the uniform worn by the Sardaukar, the Imperial House Corrino's military force, although it's less "modesty" and more "naked show of force".
  • Several examples from the Discworld series:
    • King Verence II, due to him growing up a jester. He spends most of his time in his work clothes and actively tries to lessen his own power and prestige, much to the confusion of the traditionalist people of Lancre.
    • Vimes, too, fits this mold. After being promoted to Duke of Ankh, he goes out of his way to remove most of the frillier things in his "traditional" dress outfits--partly because he's always hated the upper class, and partly because (from the descriptions), they'd look ridiculous. He even gets into this as Commander of the Watch: for example, when his wife buys him new, expensive boots, he always trades them for the cheap, barely-a-sole-to-them boots like he used to wear, because he can tell exactly where he is in the city based on how the stones feel on his feet.
    • And another ruler who shuns the fancy stuff: Havelock Vetinari. He doesn't even dress as a high-class Assassin despite having attended and graduated from the school; instead of Assassins' traditional stylish black, he just wears plain, plain black. Back when he was still an active assassin, he preferred brown, gray, and green - essentially a variation of modern-day camouflage, as he realized that the regulation black is almost always visible except in deepest darkness where you can't see anything, anyway. He did wear black whenever attending the guild functions though, since anything else would have gotten him kicked out.
    • Not to mention Carrot Ironfoundersson, who'd rather remain in the Watch than be acknowledged as the rightful king of Ankh-Morpork.
  • A non royal example is from Harry Turtledove's TL-191 series, Jake Featherston. During his rule as President of the CSA he prefers to dress in a Sergeant's uniform instead of anything gaudy or elaborate. Considering that he's an Expy of Hitler this is understandable.
  • Raymond E. Feist's Midkemia novels use this a lot. Most of the protagonists (especially in earlier novels) are gruff, tough, no-nonsense types from the rugged western frontier, so they tend to dress sensibly and conservatively and act in a very straightforward manner. Meanwhile nobles from the Kingdom's eastern realm are courtiers and intriguers, and they keep up with the latest trends and dress ostentatiously, and are portrayed as being isolated from the rigours of life in the real world.
  • Jelaudin in Bones of the Hills is an interesting case. When introduced, he's spent most of his life in fancy clothes, as befits the prince of Khwarezm. However, after Samarkand falls to the Mongols and the shah dies, he is reduced to wearing rags. He goes on to raise an army, largely by making a number of rousing speeches, and the fact that he doesn't wear fancy clothes is one of the things his men respect about him. Indeed, when offered the chance to wear something more fitting than rags, he refuses.
  • Prince Josua from Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - admittedly only the King's brother, but quickly becomes the replacement of choice once Elias does his Face Heel Turn. Known for his lack of ostentatious dressing and easily mistaken for someone of much lower status.
  • The Prince of Dragonstone in George R Martin's The Hedge Knight (A Song of Ice and Fire spinoff) - granted Duncan the Tall isn't the world's smartest Knight, but he manages to not be aware that he's talking to the Heir Apparent to the Targaryen king.
  • King Mendanbar from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Not only does he dress very casually, he hates formal occasions and cancels as many as he can get away with, much to his steward's dismay. At one point, another character chides him for it, saying he should at least wear the crown or else no one would know who he was.
  • King Conan of Aquilonia.
  • A very common trope with David Eddings, whose nobility tend to only wear their regalia when real monarchs would- at formal occasions for dramatic effect. This is probably based on the simple fact that wearing excessively ornate clothing is heavy, uncomfortable, and hot.
    • Notably, near the beginning of the Belgariad, where Anheg, King of Cherek starts talking to Belgarath in a flowery, poetic language. Belgarath then responds with a sort of "what's up with the language, dude?" and the response is "well, we wanted it to look nice in the history books". From there on, though most characters are either royalty or nobility, only very corrupt nobles
    • Partially employed in The Elenium; while courtiers are often described wearing ornate and rather ridiculous court fashions, serious or competent nobles tend to downplay their finery to tasteful elegance instead of ermine and other ornate details. In fact, most respectable monarchs are described as disliking court functions precisely because they're so overblown. Ehlana is an exception; while she dresses sensibly enough, she likes court functions and the Ermine Cape Effect because of a neglectful and abusive childhood. Sparhawk actually has to force his wife to not issue him stylish clothing or a rapier.
      • Thoroughly averted in the same series, in Sparhawk's interactions with the Bhelliom - he has to use formal, archaic patterns of speech and thought or it won't deal with him, because it believes formality helps shape history.
  • In George R. R. Martin's The Sworn Sword, Lady Webber is something of a tomboy and tends to dress in plain, outdoorsy clothes. When Dunk first enters her courtyard, he assumes that an older, better-dressed woman is the lady, overlooking the young woman in leather practicing archery.
    • The Starks (except for Sansa) are a partial fit for this trope. When Robb becomes King in the North, the only change to his wardrobe is a crown. And the Starks were never that ostentatious to begin with - judging by their costumes in the show, they spent enough money to keep themselves comfortable, and stopped there. You'd never confuse Robb Stark for a commoner, but you could easily assume that he's a minor noble or knight.
      • The Stark crown itself deserves mention. It's made from iron and bronze, rather than gold or silver. The idea is that gold and silver, while pretty, are weak. The Stark crown is made of tougher stuff, because to be King in the North, you need to be tough.
    • The Braavosian nobles wear simple black clothes.
  • After Honor Harrington gets ennobled on Grayson she starts wearing dresses, but due to her utilitarian nature from her military career tends towards very simple styles. Queen Elizabeth takes a liking to Honor's fashions, and - well, nobody argues with the Queen of Manticore.
    • Given the description of the traditional unisex formal Manticoran court clothing (basically the result of a clown car colliding with a tuxedo), the simple dress is a huge improvement.
  • The crowns of the Kings and Queens of Narnia are described as being simple circlets, rather than the traditional real-world style baroque monstrosities. The rest of their clothing is not mentioned in any detail, however except for Lewis emphasizing that in Narnia one's 'best' is also one's most comfortable clothes.
  • The opening of Jules Verne's Michael Strogoff features the Tsar of All the Russias wearing "the simple uniform of a cavalry officer." Of course, cavalry in those days often had some pretty flashy "simple" uniforms.
  • King Birtram of Binn in Dr. Seuss' book, The King's Stilts is a workaholic most of the day whose one pleasure is cavorting on his stilts on late afternoons. The book notes that the citizenry notes while this is an unusual thing to have, the King is perfectly entitled to his dirt cheap hobby.
  • Almost all of the main characters in the Dragon Prince trilogy behave according to this trope. They only get dressed up to impress people and on formal occasions.
  • An early 1900s Afrikaans (South African) short story, I forget the author, invoked this. It details a dream in which the protagonist, a farmhand, visits the King (of the British Empire). The King lives in a two-story farmhouse, and the protagonist throws pebbles at the upper bedroom window behind the house to attract the King's attention. He then drinks tea with the King under the large eucalyptus tree in the back yard (the Queen brings the tea tray) and they discuss current affairs. Except for addressing him as "o Koning" ("o King") at every possible opportunity, the King gets no special treatment from the farmhand, and by the former's reactions in the dream, this is apparently accepted protocol.
  • In The Vorkosigan Saga, Emperor Gregor deliberately avoids the Barrayaran mania for military regalia, and wears conservative civilian suits for most occasions. Though as commander-in-chief he is entitled to wear a pimped-out uniform, he only wears it when ceremonial duties require it. This is partly tacit acknowledgment that he has never meaningfully served in the military, and partly to support the image of his "progressive" reign.
  • In The Secret of Platform 13 the Island is ruled by a pair of normal, non-magical humans who don't particularly care if you turn your back in their presence. They live in a marble house that is large and elegant but notably smaller than the average palace in another kingdom, and any citizen of the Island can stay there if they wish (Odge moves in at the end).
  • Lynn Flewelling does this; in the Nightrunner books most of her queens and princesses run around in armor, riding clothes or at court in somewhat elaborate but modest dresses. The fanciest it gets is when Pincess Klia has to do some negotiations with another nation. And it is only fancy because she wears tons of jewellery - and this is for tactical reasons (since the 'faie have an intricate gift culture - Klia has received most of said jewellery as welcome gifts and is more or less oblieged to wear them. Aside of that such gifts are usually done by simply giving the necklace you wore yourself. Klia wears an arsenal of tactic maneuvres.)
    • Also Queen Tamir form the Tamir Triad always preferred simpler garb even in her/ his youth. She/ he grew up far away from court and is used to simple, comfortable clothes. ... and for a good while just feels silly in a dress. However, in general the trope is justified with any Skalan Queen since they also are the leaders of their army and in wartimes spend quite a chunk on the battlefield.
  • Slave Of The Huns gives this treatment to Attila the Hun. The main character envisions Attila in a heavily glamorous, borderline Camp attire, going into absurd details such as wearing gold rings on all fingers and toes, but it turns out he is dressed in rather modest clothes, that while show he is of higher status than the other Huns, is still considerably plain.
  • Invoked by Yang Fu in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. When Cao Rui of Wei spends too much money on palaces, Yang Fu cites a number of precedents in history. On one hand were the kings and emperors who had modest palaces and were considered wise and left strong legacies. On the other were those who built extravagantly and lost their empire, or had their successors lose the empire. Rui ignores, and the Wei dynasty is eventually supplanted.
  • Fred Saberhagen uses this trope pretty a lot. In his Empire of the East trilogy, Emperor John Ominor wears simple white robes with black trim, and is otherwise a fairly ordinary-looking man; he's also the Big Bad (although it turns out that there is an even Bigger Bad), which just goes to show you that this even villains can be modest. Later, in the Books of Swords trilogy, set thousands of years later but in the same fictional universe, Yambu, the Silver Queen, is depicted as preferring to dress casually, and is generally pretty informal, despite being The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask; interestingly, she is also the Big Bad in the first couple of books, until the even Bigger Bad shows up at the end. Later, when Mark becomes the Prince Consort of Tasavalta, he continues to dress like a soldier. The Emperor (the one from the Swords series, not Ominor) is a subversion: he dresses like a shabby clown, but, despite his title, he is not really the ruler of anything (well, except the Universe).
  • The Mallorean has Emperor Zakath who, in complete contrast to the opulence of the palace he lives in (he inherited it that way rather than creating it to be such), dresses in such a simple white robe that it's easy for him to travel through his empire as a King Incognito (even the streets of his own capital city). And once he grows a beard, even people who had met him in person have trouble recognising him such is his lack of pomp.


Live Action TV

  • Emperor Cartagia of the Centauri in Babylon 5. Subversion of the usual rule since he's the most undilutedly evil bastard in the entire show - he may ponce around in a gleaming white frock coat/tuxedo with gold trim, a golden pendant the size of a dinnerplate, and white spats, but it's still much more subdued that usual Centauri dress. Hell, even Vir is more flashy! Most importantly, he wears his hair short even though the size of a Centauri's hair fan traditionally indicates his status.
    • Emperor Turhan, Cartagia's predecessor, refused to wear a wig in his last days.


Video Games

  • Arcueid in Tsukihime used to wear royal regalia most of the time, but now tends to be more of a Sweater Girl. Borderline as everyone who could really be called one of her subjects is now dead but...
  • Marle in Chrono Trigger. She appears better dressed than most of the other characters, but the other royalty tends to be much better dressed.
  • Galuf & Krile of Final Fantasy V are rather informal, and are also Royals Who Actually Do Something.
  • Edgar of Final Fantasy VI dresses casually enough to pass for a non-royal, is on first name terms with most people, and appears to be wearing plain light armour in the tacked-on FMV sequences. He is another Final Fantasy royal who actually does things.
  • Garnet of Final Fantasy IX dresses fairly casually for most of the game, and actively tries to behave in a more "common" fashion, as well as changing her name to Dagger. And again, she is a princess who actually does something.
  • King Mickey in Kingdom Hearts. It's the natural end result of making an everyman-type character like Mickey Mouse a king. And yes...
  • Graham in King's Quest. Even after becoming king at the end of the first game, he continues to adventure in his red shirt, blue leggings and feather cap.
    • The rest of his Badass Family isn't much fancier. The fanciest outfit among them was the dress Rosella wore when about to be sacrificed to a dragon. There was also his daughter-in-law's layered robes, all the better to conceal a knife.
    • Invoked Trope because no one believes they are royalty during their quests. Alexander has to show off his signet ring a few times in King's Quest VI. In the Fan Sequel The Silver Lining, Graham's first action is to change out of his formal attire and into his "questing gear" because it's frankly impractical to kick Black Cloaked butt in formal attire. He also has to show the ferryman a Daventry coin to prove he's Alexander's dad.
  • It's implied of Babi in Golden Sun, as nobody realizes he's the ruler of Tolbi until Ivan reads his mind... despite having been presented with a Missing Person picture of him earlier. Depending on interpretation, this could make Babi a rare evil example.
  • In Dragon Age, if Alistar (and possibly Anora) are elected king, he'll spend most of his time out of the castle, chatting with the locals and visiting taverns, all to the commoners' delight.
  • King Lino En Kuldes of Suikoden IV prefers a very simple vest and shorts to the usual trappings of royalty. As a result, he's easily mistaken for just a local fisherman by anyone first visiting Obel... something he likes to take advantage of.


Webcomics

  • From Drowtales, Waes'soloth, Quain'tana, and Ariel dress rather plainly for the matriarch of an ancient and powerful clan and the ruler and heiress to a mercenary empire, respectively. The Sharen clan, on the other hand, tend to have elaborate outfits and crowns, and other clan leaders do the same to show off their wealth.
    • In the case of Ariel and Quain'tana, however, their clan is not as ancient as the other clans by a long shot, and Quain's reputation is as a fearsome Lady of War. In a society where anything can technically be considered armor, Quain's actual armor could be considered even MORE showy than the lavish dresses of the other clans. When you consider she's actively trying to subvert social norms, this makes sense.
  • HRH Adharia Kuvoe in Last Res0rt dresses fairly simply and modestly, aside from some silky bedtime apparel. Of course, her modesty isn't all self-imposed; she's trying to make a run for the throne, so it's likely she can't afford to carry around her full trappings all the time!
  • Thief from Eight Bit Theater, though far from modest in any other sense, is the Prince of Elfland and wears simple leather armor. His post-upgrade outfit (Ninja gear), though far from casual, might count as well, since it doesn't signify his status in any way.
  • Gamzee of Homestuck is actually near the top of the Troll blood caste system (higher even than Equius), but really doesn't care much about it. He's by far the most easy-going of all of the Trolls.
    • Rebellious Princess Feferi goes even further, hoping to abolish the caste system, that puts her on the very top, altogether.
    • And even when Gamzee runs out of his pie, he still doesn't give a damn about blood colors: he wants to murder everyone equally. Same as his ancestor was.


Western Animation

  • Adventure Time has Marceline, the Vampire Queen- she's a queen, but prefers a tank-top, skinny jeans, and cowgirl boots to any sort of signifier of her royalty. She's only seen wearing a dress once- and it was a dress made of tattered wolf fur. There's also the Earl of Lemongrab. He's an earl, and the heir to the Candy Kingdom Throne, but he enters the kingdom with nothing but his camel, a sword, and very simple clothes; a grey jumpsuit. Aside from his title on introduction, (and the fact that he quite insistently screamed "THAT IS WHY I AM ROYAL, AND YOOOU ARE SERVAL!!!" later on,) he gives no visual indication that he is royal.
    • Princess Bubblegum counts, too. Her costumes of choice consist of long, flowy, formal dresses and gowns. However, when she isn't on the job, she prefers more casual attire, like jeans, hoodies, shorter skirts, and T-shirts.
  • Roselyn of Xyber 9: New Dawn tends to wear rather plain clothes, although Tatiania wears royal requisite regalia.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Would you believe that this guy is the prince and later king of the most powerful nation in the world?
    • Averted with his father and sister, however. His sister is outright verbally abusive to her servants.
      • Still, in terms of clothing, the entire Fire Nation royal family counts as modest. Zuko and Azula both make their formal public appearances in Fire Nation military uniforms, the crown is much less ostentatious than real-world versions, and the Firelord's robes are relatively plain. Indeed, when Ozai has the chance to design his own uniform, he has a helm with a somewhat-exaggerated crest and a robe that's apparently designed to be removed easily in a fight. Heck, come to think of it, the Earth King's robes aren't all that fancy either, and the Water Chiefs are largely indistinguishable from their tribe. Only Bumi is shown with exaggeratedly large and fancy regalia, and that seems to be a sign of his eccentricity.
  • Zelda from The Legend of Zelda who, while looking upper-class, doesn't dress like a princess at all. Her most common costume is a purple shirt, a blue vest, white trousers and black thigh-high boots.
  • Princess Celestia the absolute ruler of Equestria. Celestia is shown as calm, modest and understanding to everyone, and doesn't like to be grovelled. She also a God Princess who has ruled for more than a thousand years.


Real Life

  • Many Islamic Caliphs embody this trope. One that comes to mind is Hazrat Umar Ibn Khattab. Who despite commanding one of the most terrifyingly powerful armies in the world at that time and ruling one of the most powerful empires ever to be wrought on earth, would go out among the Empire at night in common clothing and a sack of corn and would give it in charity among the poor. One telling instance was after the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, Umar was holding the reigns of his camel while his servant rode upon it - upon seeing this, the Patriarch of Jerusalem was said to declare; verily, Islam has excelled over all other religions. Umar is also said to have shouted at the men who took the city for wearing garish clothing and gold, accusing them of abandoning the simplicity of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
  • Charlemagne. Oh man, Charlemagne. The man basically had one rule - if you would drink and feast with him, you were alright. His court was basically one constant party, and it didn't end there - he would insist friends join him while he bathed, so that they could keep reveling. He was basically the most outgoing, boisterous monarch in Europe.
  • While coronations are usually lavish affairs, King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia had a very understated one, not wanting to put his financially-devastated nation under further strain with a fancy ceremony. He doesn't even have a crown--the ancient crown of Cambodia disappeared during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, and he decided against having a new one made despite the unlikelyhood of the original crown even existing anymore.
  • A lot of everyday people with royal origins, are technically royalty, even if not legally and in practice. Some don't know, some don't care, but most of them definitely don't look the part.
    • Quick way to tell: if someone's last name is also the name of some town or village in Europe somewhere, their ancestor was probably once a Duke or some such of that town, as such royals were often referred to by the name of their dominion, which later mutated into a surname.
    • In most cases they were simple knights granted the land by their king. Sure, they were landowners, sometimes pretty wealthy, but nowhere close to royalty.
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