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, officially launching 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 8 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 who are either royal by birth, royal by marriage or considered a "princess" due to their significant portrayal of heroism in their film.
Most recently, the line-up has expanded to include Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida after the successes of their respective films. Anna and Elsa from Frozen are expected to join the line-up.
The Disney Princesses are featured in a wide variety of merchandise, appearing on 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 featured very prominently at the Disney theme parks.
Since 2013, with the exception of those created after the Disney Renaissance, the Princesses are showcased in their enhanced and modified redesigned outfits (excluding Ariel and Mulan) instead of the ones that they wear in their own movies.
Requirements to be a "Disney Princess"
Each Official Disney Princess must have the following requirements: A) have a primary role in a Disney animated feature film, B) be human or closely human-like (i.e. Ariel), and C) 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 animal(s) 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 her film 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 - 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 dressed like a man, must listen to her peers extoll masculine traits, while describing an ideal wife that is pretty, obedient and can cook.
The latest Princesses - Tiana and Rapunzel - were created in the past decade are are more modern; Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog, is a young woman who doesn't want magic to achieve her goals and knoes that it takes hard work instead; Rapunzel from Tangled, however, is more idealistic than Tiana, but isn't afraid to go after what she wants.
Why Some Disney Females are not "Disney Princess"
Some female protagonists, even those that hold the 'princess' titlem may not be included in the line-up for the following reasons: they are not marketable, the film did poorly at the box-office (i.e. Kida from Atlantis), they are too young (i.e. Boo from 'Monster's Inc.) or she is not human.
Each of the following 11 women have been certified as an "Official Disney Princess" by Disney; some are born into the title (Aurora, Merida), some marry the son of a King (Cinderella), some marry a Reigning Prince (Belle) and some correspond to an equivalent title (i.e. Chieftain's Daughter or Sultan's Daughter), though some, such as Mulan, do not hold the actual title of Princess.
Born into Royalty: Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine (as a Sultan's daughter), Rapunzel, Merida, Anna and Elsa. Pocahontas is considered as being of royal heritage, as she is the daughter of a chief and considered Native American royalty by the English. Royal by Marriage: Cinderella, Belle and Tiana become royalty by marriage. Not Royal: Mulan is neither royal by birth or 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
Princess Snow White, titular character in the 1937 Disney movie Snow White, is a character based on the German fairy tale "Schneewittchen". Snow White has the honor of being the first Disney Princess in the first animated feature film, paving the way for princesses after her. In the film, Snow White is a young, beautiful girl living with her vain and cruel stepmother. The stepmother fears that the princess will become more beautiful than she 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 death sleep with love's first kiss. At 14, she's the youngest of the Princesses.
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 and stepsisters; 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 stepsiblings) 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.
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 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 also 16 years old.
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.
Belle is the fifth Disney princess and the main female protagonist of the film Beauty and the Beast. Her film is based on the traditionally French fairy tale Belle et la Bête, 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.
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 in the film Pocahontas and its sequel, Pocahontas II, and is the first Disney Princess to have been based (loosely) on a real person, and not on a fairy tale. 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 a different singing voice than speaking voice.
Pocahontas was born as the only child of Chief Powhatan, thus she is technically a Princess (i.e. Chieftain's Daughter), which though not a European title, is accorded the respect of one in the sequel. Her eventual marriage to John Rolfe (a commoner) does not change her status or his.
Fa Mulan is the main protagonist in Disney's film Mulan and its sequel Mulan II. She is the first Disney Princess to be based on a legend instead of a fairytale, and the second to be not based on a fairy tale (Pocahontas).
Mulan is (to date) the only Disney Princess to not hold the title of Princess in one form or another, although she earns 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.
Tiana is the main female protagonist in the film The Princess and the Frog. Tiana made history as the first African-American princess. She is the third to be married into the Princess life. She is probably the princess closest to our time period as her story is set in New Orleans in the 1920's.
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, is born into the 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 is born a Princess; the only child of the King 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. She 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) make 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 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-spirit, fearless happy-go-lucky, reckless ball of energy who lives by trusting in her own feelings.
Presumably, she will eventually marry Kristoff granting 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.
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 "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 Switzerland. She has blonde hair, blue eyes 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. She is however, a princess in the game Kingdom Hearts.
Alice is a beautiful young girl living in the Victorian Era. She is somewhat of a pedantic, and coretous young lady although her determination is seen to her temper. She is also kind and caring. Her pet is a little kitten named Dinah. She and her sister often get together, although they are seen at the very end.
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 is not an official princess because of the movie's PG rating at the time, lack of musical numbers and general lack of box office success. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She would have been the youngest Disney Princess, being twelve.
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, by Renee Faia in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and is currently voiced by Grey DeLisle. Her exclusion from the official lineup is attributed to her shadowy background.
Giselle is the main protagonist in Enchanted. She is made 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), which 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, who was adopted by the leaders of the Gorilla tribe.
Kida is from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, She is not a princess due to her film's lack of success. If she were a Disney Princess, she would be the first one to become a queen onscreen.
Megara (Meg) is the main female protagonist in Hercules. Although she marries Hercules, Megara is not a princess, most likely due to the 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 would have been the first Disney Princess to only appear in the sequel. She is not a princess because her film was not a theatrical release.
Nancy is a secondary character in the film Enchanted. Though she wasn't announced as a princess, she was the one who actually married Edward by the end of the film. She is not a Disney Princess because she was only a secondary character in the film.
Sofia is the main protagonist of the upcoming 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 release and her age is irrelevant.
Ting-Ting, Su and Mei are the daughters of the Emperor in Mulan II. They are not official Princesses since they were only secondary characters in a direct-to-video sequel.
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 official because of her lack of a royal or high status.
A catch-all category for female Disney characters who have no possibility of being crowned Disney Princess.
Angelica is the female protagonist from the fourth installment from 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 being a live-action character.
Boo is the female protagonist from Disney-Pixar's Monsters, Inc. She is not a princess due to her infant age.
Celia is the female deuteragonist also from Monsters, Inc. She is not an official princess because she is a monster.
If Daisy had become a Disney Princess, she would have been first as she was one of the first Disney characters. She would also have been the first to be an animal.
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 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 Peter Pan II. She is not an official Disney princess because of her lack of a royal or high status.
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 her controversy caused by her alleged sexist proportions.
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 movie.
Kiara is the daughter of Simba and Nala, and the main female protagonist in The Lion King II. She is not a princess because of the fact she is a lion.
Kilala is the main protagonist of the manga series Kilala Princess, and not a princess probably because she is manga, and possibly her lack of 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.
Maid Marian is the main female protagonist in Robin Hood. She is not a princess due to the fact she is, in fact, a fox. She is the niece of King Richard.
If Minnie had become a Disney Princess, she would have been first as she was one of the first Disney characters. She would also have been the first to be an animal.
If Miss Piggy had become a Disney Princess, she would have been the first princess to exist as a puppet character as she is native to Jim Henson's Muppets whose newest films are produced by Disney.
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 was a princess she would have been the second to have children. She is not a princess because her love interest was a king, and she is a lion.
Natasha Romanova (Black Widow)
Out of question due to her status as a character from Marvel Comics.
The titular heroine from Disney/ABC's animated series Pepper Ann. (FUN FACT: 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 a royal or high 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.
Sally the Ragdoll
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 princess presumably to avoid confusion with Princess Sally Acorn (coincidentally voiced by Kath Soucie, 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 books. 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.