Disney Princess is a media franchise owned by The Walt Disney Company, originally created by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney in the late 1990s and officially launched in 2000. The original nine princesses were Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan and Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell was removed shortly after the franchise debuted, leaving eight official Disney Princesses.
The franchise spotlights a line-up of fictional female heroines who have appeared in Disney animated feature films. The franchise currently includes eleven female protagonists from ten different Walt Disney Animation Studios films and one Pixar film, each of whom is either royal by birth, royal by marriage, or considered a "princess" due to her significant portrayal of heroism.
The Disney Princesses are featured in a wide variety of merchandise, appearing in anything from various sing-a-long movies, dolls and other toys to bed linens, clothing and toiletries (such as hairbrushes and toothpaste). The Princesses are also prominently featured at the Disney theme parks.
Since 2013, with the exception of those created after the Disney Renaissance, the Princesses have been showcased in their enhanced and modified/redesigned outfits (excluding Ariel and Mulan), instead of the actual garments that they wear in their respective movies.
Requirements to be a "Disney Princess"
Each Official Disney Princess must meet the following requirements: A) has a primary role in a Disney animated feature film, B) is human or mostly human-like (e.g. Ariel), and C) does not appear primarily in a sequel. The actual title of Princess (or equivalent) is not necessary, but certainly helps.
Facts pertaining to the original fairy tales upon which the films are based are irrelevant to the versions appearing in the franchise.
The Princesses themselves, despite appearing in separate films, have distinct similarities. Most Princesses have the common ability to communicate with animals (even if the animals do not actually talk back). They are also known for their inner and outer beauty, as well as having beautiful singing voices (the exception to this is Merida, who only sings a song with her mother when she is little). Each Princess (excluding Merida and Elsa) also has a romance that is resolved by the end of the film; the male counterparts are known as Disney Princes.
The Princesses can also be grouped depending on what era their films debuted. The "original" three (Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora), are quiet, classy, graceful and romantic daydreamers; they play more of a "damsel in distress" role and suffer from the actions caused by others. They hold an inner strength through compassion, love, kindness and (particularly with Snow White) a strong sense of resilience.
During the Disney Renaissance Era, which started with The Little Mermaid in 1989 and ended in 2000, the heroines in Disney feature films became more active than reactive and included Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan. These women were strong-willed, adventurous, feisty, cunning and determined. They were less interested in finding love and more interested in finding adventure and freedom. The Renaissance Princesses also existed in worlds that were more self-aware of the changing roles of women. For example, in The Little Mermaid, the villainess Ursula assures Ariel that she won't need her voice on land as men prefer silent women; Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, is told by Gaston that "it's not right for a woman to read." And Mulan, who joins an army under the guise of a man, must listen to her peers extol masculine traits, while describing an ideal wife who is pretty, obedient and a good cook.
The latest Princesses were created within the past decade and are more modern. Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is a young woman who doesn't rely on magic and knows that it takes hard work to reach one's goals; Rapunzel from Tangled, however, is more idealistic and isn't afraid to go after what she wants.
Why Some Disney Females are not a "Disney Princess"
Some female protagonists, even those that hold the "princess" title, may not be included in the official line-up for the following reasons: they are not marketable, their film did poorly at the box office (e.g. Kida from Atlantis), they are too young (e.g. Boo from Monster's Inc.), or she is not human (e.g. Nala from The Lion King).
Each of the following 11 women has been certified as an "Official Disney Princess." Some were born into the title (e.g. Aurora, Merida), some married the son of a king (e.g. Cinderella), some married a Reigning Prince (e.g. Belle), and some correspond to an equivalent title (e.g. Chieftain's Daughter and Sultan's Daughter). So far, the one exception to these rules is Mulan; she is currently the only Official Disney Princess who neither comes from a royal bloodline nor marries into royalty.
Born into Royalty: Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine (as a Sultan's daughter), Rapunzel, and Merida. Pocahontas is considered to be of royal heritage, as she is the daughter of a chief and therefore considered Native American royalty by the English. Anna and Elsa are also of royal lineage, though they have yet to be officially inducted as Disney Princesses.
Not Royal: Mulan is royal by neither birth nor marriage, but is still included in the line-up as she meets other requirements and received grace from the Emperor after saving China.
Regardless of any actual title(s) possessed, each Official Disney Princess is properly addressed (within the franchise) as "Princess ________".
Princess Snow White
Snow White, titular character of the 1937 Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is a character based on the German fairy tale "Schneewittchen." Snow White has the honor of being the first Princess in the first Disney animated feature, paving the way for all subsequent princesses. In the film, Snow White is a young, beautiful girl living with her vain and cruel stepmother, Queen Grimhilde. The stepmother fears that the princess will become more beautiful than she is and thus sets out to kill her. Snow White befriends the seven dwarfs during her stay at their cottage. Her true love is the Prince, who is able to wake her from her eternal sleep with true love's kiss. At 14, she is the youngest of the official Disney Princesses.
Princess (Consort) Cinderella
Cinderella is the main protagonist of her eponymous film and the second Disney Princess. She is based on the European fairy tale of the same name, of which several variations exist. The Disney version revolves around a young woman forced to work as a maid by her mean stepmother (Lady Tremaine) and stepsisters (Drizella and Anastasia). She keeps herself company by befriending the mice that live in the house with her. Cinderella is the first Disney Princess to have siblings (albeit step-siblings) and is 19 years old. Cinderella is the first Disney Princess who is married into royalty (she marries Prince Charming). Cinderella is often considered to be the leader of the Princesses, or at least, their spokesperson, though it is unclear why.
Aurora is the titular protagonist of the film Sleeping Beauty, based on the classic fairy tale involving a beautiful princess, a sleeping enchantment, and a handsome prince. The original story is much darker than the Disney version, however. Aurora has the distinction of being both the Princess with the least amount of screen time and singing more of her lines than speaking them. Aurora has the purest pedigree of any Disney Princess, being the first and only child of a king (King Stefan) who also marries Prince Phillip, the firstborn son and heir of a king (King Hubert). Aurora is 16 years old.
Princess later Queen Ariel
Ariel is the female protagonist of the films The Little Mermaid, The Little Mermaid II (although the title of main female protagonist is shared with Melody) and The Little Mermaid III, as well as The Little Mermaid Television Series. The original film was based on a well-known fairy tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea for true love. As with Sleeping Beauty, the original tale has a much darker tone. Ariel is the first Disney Princess to have not been born human and is also the first Disney Princess confirmed to have children as she and Eric have a daughter, Melody, in the sequel. She is sixteen years old in the first film and is presumably in her late twenties in the sequel. Ariel's title of Princess comes from her father, King Triton, a title she shares with her six older sisters. She acquires the title of Princess Consort through her marriage to Prince Eric, though it is unclear whether he is a Prince Regnant (most likely), the son of a King, or both. She is considered Disney's most beautiful female character.
Princess (Consort) Belle
Belle is the fifth Disney princess and the main female protagonist of the film Beauty and the Beast and its two sequels. Her film is based on the traditional French fairy tale, La Belle et la Bête, which is about a beautiful young woman and the cursed beast that falls in love with her. Belle is the first Disney Princess to have been the antagonist of her love interest. She is also the first person to have a confirmed country in the movie (France). She is 17 years old. Belle is the second Disney Princess to be of common birth. When she marries Prince Adam (a Prince Regnant of his principality), she becomes a Princess Consort.
Princess later Sultana Jasmine
Jasmine is the main female protagonist of Aladdin, its two sequels, and the television series. The film is based on the Middle Eastern fairy tale of the same name, which is actually set in China. Jasmine is the daughter (and only child) of the Sultan of Agrabah, the traditional title styled "Shahzadi Sultan" (Princess). When she marries Aladdin, a commoner (the son of the self-styled "King of Thieves" notwithstanding), he gains the title Prince Consort. Upon the death or abdication of her father in favor of Aladdin (as was stated to be the Sultan's wish), Aladdin would become the Sultan of Agrabah and Jasmine would acquire the title of Sultana. She is the first princess to not be the titular character in her film and is the first Princess not to be of European descent.
Pocahontas is the main protagonist of the film Pocahontas and its sequel, Pocahontas II, and is the first Disney Princess to have been based (loosely) on a real person, instead of a fairy tale. She is a Powhatan Native American, and she is the first Disney Princess to have two "princes" (John Smith and John Rolfe, though only the former is an official Disney Prince). Pocahontas is the second Princess (after Jasmine) to have her singing voice and speaking voice provided by two different voice actresses. Pocahontas was born as the only child of Chief Powhatan, thus giving her the title of Chieftain's Daughter. Though not technically of European royalty, she is accorded the respect of one (i.e. a princess) in the sequel and is officially regarded as a Disney Princess. Her eventual marriage to John Rolfe (a commoner) does not change her status or his.
Fa Mulan is the main protagonist in the Disney film Mulan and its sequel Mulan II. She is the first Disney Princess to be based on a legend and the second to be not based on a fairy tale (Pocahontas). Mulan is (to date) the only Disney Princess who does not hold the title of Princess in one form or another. However, she does earn the non-noble title of Imperial Consul. Her eventual marriage to General Li Shang (also non-noble) does not grant her any titles either. Mulan and Shang are the only non-royal Disney couple in the Disney Princess franchise.
Princess (Consort) Tiana
Tiana is the main female protagonist in the film The Princess and the Frog. Tiana made history as the first African-American Disney Princess. She is the third to be married into the Princess life. Compared to all the other Princesses, her story is set in a time period that is closest to modern day (New Orleans in the 1920s). Commoner-born, Tiana becomes Princess Consort upon her marriage to Prince Naveen, the eldest son and Heir Apparent of the King of Maldonia.
Rapunzel is the main female protagonist in the film Tangled and the short film Tangled Ever After. Like Aurora, she has golden hair, was born into her title, and was removed from her parent's custody as a baby, only to be reunited in her teens. Her hair has magical properties. She is voiced by Mandy Moore. She is strong-willed and her preferred weapon is a frying pan. Rapunzel was born a princess. As the only child of the King and Queen of Corona, she eventually marries Eugene "Flynn Rider" Fitzherbert, giving him the title of Prince Consort. Upon the death or abdication of her father, Rapunzel will become Queen Regnant of Corona, while her husband will remain Prince Consort.
Merida is the main protagonist of the Disney/Pixar film Brave, making her the first Pixar Princess. She is the first princess since Ariel to have red hair: she has long, curly, red hair and blue eyes. She is voiced by Kelly MacDonald. Merida lives in medieval Scotland and is the first Disney Princess without a romantic interest in her film. Merida is a true Princess; firstborn of King Fergus of DunBroch. Her lack of a romantic interest (and lack of any sequels) makes it unlikely that she will rise to rule the kingdom as a Regnant Queen, considering the views of gender equality in the era.
The following characters have been confirmed to join the franchise, but have not yet been crowned in an official ceremony at Walt Disney World.
Princess Anna of Arendelle is the main protagonist of the Disney film Frozen and is the younger daughter of the King and Queen of Arendelle (a Norwegian Kingdom). She has long, strawberry-blonde hair and blue eyes, and is a free-spirited, fearless, happy-go-lucky, reckless ball of energy who lives by trusting her own feelings. Presumably, she will eventually marry Kristoff and, as a result, grant him the title of Prince Consort. As the next-in-line for the Arendelle throne, she stands to eventually become Queen Regnant in her own right upon the death or abdication of her sister, Queen Elsa.
Princess later Queen Elsa
Elsa is the current queen of Arendelle.
This category includes characters who meet the qualifications for Disney Princess and/or have been included in Disney Princess merchandise, but are not included in the official lineup. These characters stand above those denominated as "Heroines" because heroines do not have any chance of actually joining the franchise.
Alice is the main protagonist of Disney's Alice in Wonderland. She is supposedly not a princess because she does not have royal or high status. She has a bad temper and lives in England. She has thick shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes, pink or red lips, hot pink nails and rosy cheeks. She is included in a few Disney Princess Sing-A-Longs. She was voiced by Kathryn Beaumont and is currently voiced by Kat Cressida. Although she is not technically a princess, she is portrayed as one in the game Kingdom Hearts. Alice is a cute, sweet, courteous and beautiful young girl who lives in Victorian Era England. Her pet is a little kitten named Dinah, and she has an older sister who is briefly seen at the beginning and end of the film.
Attina, Alana, Adella, Aquata, Arista, and Andrina are Ariel's older sisters. They are the daughters of King Triton and Queen Athena, which makes them the princesses of Atlantica. Ariel's sisters appear only briefly in The Little Mermaid and its sequel, but they each have a more prominent role in The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, as well as the TV series spin-off.
The Blue Fairy is a supporting character in the 1940 Disney feature film Pinnochio. She is responsible for bringing Pinnochio to life and then later transforming him into a real boy.
Eilonwy (Eye-lon-wee) is the main female protagonist of The Black Cauldron, Disney's first PG-rated movie. Despite the fact that Eilonwy is a princess in the movie, she never became an official Disney Princess because of the movie's PG rating, lack of musical numbers, and reputation as a box office failure. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. Being twelve years old, she would have been the youngest Disney Princess had she been inducted into the franchise.
Esmeralda is the deuteragonist of Disney's 1996 animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame and a secondary character of its sequel. She was voiced by Demi Moore in the films and by Renee Faia in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance; she is currently voiced by Grey DeLisle. Her exclusion from the official line-up can likely be attributed to her non-noble background, as well as her film's lack of box office success.
Giselle is the main protagonist in Enchanted and a former princess of the Kingdom of Andalasia. She is portrayed in both cartoon and live-action form, and voiced and acted by Amy Adams. Though originally intended to join the Princess franchise, legal issues regarding her appearance (based on actress Amy Adams) prevented the use of her likeness. Additionally, it is her friend, Nancy, who ends up marrying the Prince.
Jane is the main female protagonist in Tarzan and The Legend of Tarzan, and the first female protagonist to not appear in the sequel (Tarzan II). She is not a princess because she is not related to royalty, unless you count her marriage to Tarzan, whose character is sometimes regarded as "King of the Apes" or "King of the Jungle" for being adopted and raised by the leaders of the gorilla tribe.
Kidagakash "Kida" Nedakh is the deuteragonist of Atlantis: The Lost Empire and its direct-to-video sequel, Milo's Return. Despite being the daughter of the King of Atlantis, she never became an official Disney Princess, mainly due to her film's lack of success. If she were a Disney Princess, she would have been the first one to become a queen on screen.
Megara (Meg) is the main female protagonist in Hercules. Although she marries Hercules (who is the son of the King and Queen of the Gods), Megara has never been considered to be a princess. This is most likely due to her film's lack of success and popularity.
Melody is the main female protagonist in The Little Mermaid II. She is the daughter of Ariel and Eric and is the first Princess to have only appeared in a Disney sequel. She is not an official Disney Princess because her film was not theatrically released.
Nancy is a secondary character in the film Enchanted. Although she wasn't announced as a princess, she was the one who ended up marrying Edward at the end of the film. She is not an official Disney Princess because she was only a secondary character in the film.
Sofia is the main protagonist of the movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess and the television series Sofia the First. She is not an official Disney Princess because she is not from a theatrical film.
Ting-Ting, Su and Mei are the daughters of the Emperor in Mulan II. They are not official Princesses because they were only secondary characters in a direct-to-video sequel.
Tinker Bell AKA Tink is the secondary female protagonist in Peter Pan and Peter Pan II, and the main female protagonist in the Fairies film franchise. Originally included in the initial Princess lineup, she was removed in favor of giving her a starring role in the Fairies franchise.
Wendy is the main female protagonist in Peter Pan. She is not an official Disney Princess because of her lack of royal or noble status.
A catch-all category for female Disney characters who have no possibility of being crowned as a Disney Princess.
Angelica is the female protagonist from the fourth installment of Disney's live-action/theme park franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. She is not a princess due to the franchise's not-so-family-friendly nature, as well as her being a live-action character.
Miss Bianca is the female protagonist of the Disney films The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. She is the Hungarian ambassador at the Rescue Aid Society in New York City and eventually marries her partner, Bernard. She is not an official Disney Princess because she is a mouse.
Mary Gibbs (better known as "Boo") is the female protagonist from Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc. She is not a princess due to her toddler age.
Celia is a female deuteragonist from Monsters, Inc. She is not an official princess because she is a monster.
Had Daisy become a Disney Princess, she would have been one of the first because she was one of the very first Disney characters. She is most likely not a Disney Princess because she is not royal/noble and is non-human (a duck).
Elizabeth is the female protagonist from the first three installments from Disney's live-action/theme park franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. She is not an official Princess because of the films' PG-13 rating, in addition to them being live-action.
Faline is the main female protagonist of Bambi. She is not an official Disney Princess because she is a deer.
Jane is the main female protagonist in Return to Never Land. She is not an official Disney Princess because she is only in a Disney sequel and does not come from royalty or nobility.
Jessica Rabbit is the main female protagonist from Disney/Touchstone's Amblin-produced animated/live-action film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? She is not a princess due to the controversy surrounding her over-sexualized characterization, which has been deemed sexist.
Kairi is the princess in the video game Kingdom Hearts. She is not a Disney Princess due to the fact she was never in a Disney movie.
Katrina is the main female protagonist in Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which comprises the second half of the full-length feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Because of her beauty and charm, everyone in Sleepy Hollow fawns over Katrina, who is the daughter of the richest farmer in the country. Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones both vie for her affection, but after Ichabod is presumably killed by the Headless Horseman, Katrina decides to marry Brom. She is most likely not a Disney Princess because she does not come from (or marry into) royalty or nobility.
Kilala is the main protagonist of the manga series Kilala Princess. Most likely she is not a princess because she is a manga character and has never been in a film.
Kneesaa is a female Ewok who served as the princess of the Bright Tree Village, a daughter of Chief Chirpa and Ra-Lee, and also a younger sister to Asha. She later became the Chieftainess of the Bright Tree Village and Wicket Wystri Warrick's wife.
Lady is the main female protagonist of Lady and the Tramp and a secondary female protagonist of Lady and the Tramp II. She is not a Disney Princess because she is an animal.
Princess Leia is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. She is also the main protagonist in the Star Wars trilogy.
Lilo is the titular heroine of Lilo & Stitch.
Madellaine is the main female deuteragonist of the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. Blonde-haired and shy, she is the love interest of Quasmiodo. She is not a Disney Princess because she is only in a direct-to-video sequel.
Maid Marian is the main female protagonist in Robin Hood. She is the niece of King Richard, which means that she comes from a royal bloodline; however, she is not a princess because she is non-human and a fox.
Had Minnie become a Disney Princess, she would have been one of the first because she was one of the very first Disney characters. She is most likely not a Disney Princess because she is not royal/noble and is non-human (a mouse).
Miss Piggy is a character from Jim Henson's The Muppets, which is a franchise that was re-branded by Disney in 2008. Had Miss Piggy become a Disney Princess, she would have been the first princess to exist as a puppet character.
Nala is the main female protagonist in The Lion King and a secondary female protagonist in The Lion King II and The Lion King I 1/2. She is Simba's love interest, and if she were a princess, she would have been the second princess to have children. However, she is not an official Disney Princess because her love interest was a king, and she is a lion.
Natasha is a character from Marvel Comics.
Pepper Ann is the titular heroine from Disney/ABC's animated series Pepper Ann. She was designed by Tom Warburton, who is best known for creating the Cartoon Network animated show Codename: Kids Next Door.
Penny is the main female protagonist of The Rescuers. She is not an official Disney Princess because of her lack of royal or noble status.
Red Harrington is the female protagonist from Disney's live-action film adaptation of The Lone Ranger franchise. She will never be a princess due to numerous factors: being a live-action character, the film's PG-13 rating, and the franchise's ownership by Disney's fierce animation competitor, Dreamworks Animation.
Roxanne is the main female protagonist of the Disney feature film A Goofy Movie. Beautiful, kind-hearted, and popular, Roxanne is Max Goof's high school crush. Although she and Max begin dating at the end of the film, Roxanne does not appear in the sequel (An Extremely Goofy Movie), which suggests that she and Max broke up sometime before leaving for college. She is not a Disney Princess because A Goofy Movie was produced by Disney MovieToons (as opposed to Walt Disney Animation Studios) and also because she is a dog.
Sally is the female protagonist from Disney/Touchstone's stop-motion animated masterpiece, The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is a partnership between famed filmmaker Tim Burton and Coraline director Henry Selick. She is not an official Disney Princess presumably to avoid confusion with Princess Sally Acorn (coincidentally voiced by Kath Soucie, who is Sally the Ragdoll's current voice actress) from the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons and comics. If not for this, she would have been the first princess to be animated in stop-motion.
Susan and Lucy Pevensie
Susan and Lucy are the female protagonists from the live-action film adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia book series. They would never be official princesses because they came from live-action films and Disney lost the film rights and license to 20th Century Fox, Walden Media, and Narnia author C.S. Lewis' estate.
Vanellope von Schweetz is the main female protagonist of Wreck-It-Ralph. She is the missing princess of the game Sugar Rush. She is not an official Disney Princess because of her young age.
To see more screenshots of the Disney Princesses, see List of Disney Princesses/Gallery.