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The Politically-Active Princess is a princess who handles her position in a unique way. More often than not, she takes an active interest in and plays an active role in politics. Naive courtiers and commoners alike might view her only as a figurehead, but in truth, she discreetly uses her position and guiles in order to achieve her ends. Skilled in diplomacy, she will usually attempt to solve conflicts via conversation or bargaining, rather than combat. Her defining trait is her involvement in politics or diplomatic matters, without letting herself serve only as a bargaining chip. That, however, does not mean she cannot be a Lady of War or a Badass Princess at the same time.
This trope contrasts the Princess Classic, where the royal in question is characterized by her saintly virtues rather than her actions. Although historically neither princes nor princesses were expected to involve themselves in such matters, in fiction, this trope is Always Female, as male royals are typically expected to act, while females... not so much.
Anime and Manga
- Euphemia li Britannia from Code Geass offers her own way to solve the problem with the Japanese peacefully. Lelouch even says she has won everything in a single move. At least until Lelouch's permanently active Geass forces her to go on a massacre...
- Marina Ismail from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, although she's not very good at it. While phrased as a compliment, her closest adviser Shirin tells her outright that she's far better at charitable work and being a good will ambassador than she is at politics and ruling.
- Relena Peacecraft from Gundam Wing serves this role after undergoing some Character Development. She is a pacifist, but that does not stop her from using her political clout to try to stop the war.
- Princess Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun from the Slayers series, when not out adventuring with the rest of the gang, often acts as Seyruun's envoy to other kingdoms.
- Princess Henrietta from Zero no Tsukaima is very active politically. For example, at one point she hires Saito and Loise to spy on a village to confirm her suspicions about corruption within the nobility, because she doesn't trust the usual sources. However, it appears that not only is Princess Henrietta the heir to the throne, when her father dies, she really has been running the country, as her mother "did not have the heart to continue to rule Tristain after her loss".
- This trope and The High Queen are the basis behind the plot of Anatolia Story. The Queen Consort of the Hitite Empire aka the Tawananna is expected NOT to be just a pretty face and a good Royal Mother, but to be the King's Number Two and assist him in political, government, social, etc. matters. The current Tawananna is the Big Bad, Queen Nakia; the protagonist Yuri Suzuki/Yuri Ishtar, who has become the lover and partner of Nakia's stepson Prince Kail Mursili, aspires to become the Tawananna to put a stop to Nakia's machinations AND begin helping the realm itself.
- Princess Leia Organa from Star Wars is a senator (until Palpatine disbands the Senate) and then an important member of the rebellion.
- And so was her mother Amidala in the prequels.
- In Deryni:
- Araxie Haldane is clearly this, particularly in the period just prior to her marriage to Kelson in King Kelson's Bride. When presented with a plan to evacuate the family to the safety of Rhemuth, her mother and sister raise many objections over the incomplete wedding preparations, and Araxie steps in to get them to cooperate. She later makes a diplomatic suggestion to resolve Kelson's difficulties with his prospective Ramsay in-laws (for which she gets a relationship-changing kiss from Kelson), and leads the negotiating team to convince Rothana to take the scola position Kelson offered.
- Morag Furstana is sister to King Wencit, but cannot rule under Torenthi laws and traditions. Even so, she serves as a regent for two of her sons in succession, and she is depicted as an equal participant in the family deliberations. Later still, Liam asks her opinion on what to do with Teymuraz directly after the failed coup d'etat.
- Sarene from Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. By age twenty-five, she's been serving for a long while as an (apparently highly-ranked) member of her father's diplomatic corps, and both she and others note her appreciation for (and skill at) political games.
- In the Firebird Trilogy, Princess Phoena Angelo of Netaia is very politically active. After the Federacy takes over Netaia, she heads the resistance group and spearheads research into a biological Weapon of Mass Destruction capable of wiping out an entire planet, which she intends to use to threaten the Federacy into withdrawing. She contrasts with her Princess Classic older sister, Carradee, and her Badass Princess younger sister, Firebird.
- In The Seven Realms Series, Princess Raisa invokes this trope with the Briar Rose Ministry, a charity she founded and funds.
Live Action TV
- Princess Michelle Benjamin of Kings, who campaigns to get her father to pass a healthcare bill.
- Lady Morgana from Merlin (who is a princess in every other respect) spends the first season of the show constantly arguing with Uther about his treatment of those with magical abilities.
- Ashe of Final Fantasy XII tries to reclaim her kingdom by bargaining with The Empire and other factions for most of the game. Although she's a Badass Princess and would rather fight against the Archadian Empire, she slowly understands that to achieve peace, she needs to take the diplomatic route.
- Princess Natalia from Tales of the Abyss, despite her initial brattiness, is very much one of these. Luke even refers to her as a "wannabe queen" at one point. She mainly uses her influence for the benefit of her people or engaging in international diplomacy, to the point where she's already almost universally considered a much better ruler than her father, the king. The people in fact, are so fond of her that they choose to protect her even after her lineage is revealed, even though she is not a real member of the royal family.
- Most of the female cast of Drowtales counts, since their society is a Matriarchy, so it's expected. Zala'ess Vel'Sharen is probably the best example, since she's the politician among her three sisters. And because Queen Diva is quite reclusive, all of her daughters perform most of her duties. In fact, the older sisters convinced Zala to help them imprison their mother in a secret coup.
- In Eight Bit Theater Princess Sara is given this Alternative Character Interpretation (compared to her Distressed Damsel Final Fantasy counterpart). Mostly because leaving King Steve to his own devices would pretty much be the end of their dynasty.
- Feferi, Empress-to-be of the Trolls in Homestuck, has big plans for social reform, although The End of the World as We Know It understandably forced her to give up those plans.
- All the princesses in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic qualify but Twilight really takes the cake once she becomes one, being willing to go to the ends of Equestria to fulfill her duties as the Princess of Friendship. Justified since she was a commoner to start out with and, even within the confines of the show, her title does appear to be a tad ceremonial.
- Voltron: Legendary Defender has Princess Allura. She starts out as Mission Control for Team Voltron and being the driving diplomatic force of the Voltron Coalition before later becoming the Blue Paladin and taking the fight right to the Galra.
- The backstory gives us her father, King Alfor, as the original Red Paladin.