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Who Needs Disney Princes Anyway?

disney princes redundant
All Images Credit: Disney

Disney Princesses are some of the most prominent Disney characters. From the classics — Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Cinderella (Cinderella), and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), to the more modern Disney Princess like Moana (Moana) and Tiana (Princess and the Frog), these women have captured our hearts and minds and become embedded in pop-culture.

But that leaves one category of character hanging: the Disney Prince. And some believe that the Disney Prince is on the brink of extinction.

Princess Elsa, Rapunzel, Princess Tiana, Cinderella

Princess Elsa, Rapunzel, Princess Tiana, and Cinderella / Images Credit: Disney

Who are the Disney Princes?

The Disney Princes are typically supporting characters in Disney movies (Aladdin is an obvious exception). They are handsome, witty, charming (pun not intended), and support the Disney Princess’s journey. They often play significant roles as love interests, heroes, or supporting characters, and one Prince Eric in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid was even referred to in the movie as a “human heartthrob.”

However, looking at the evolution of Disney Princes in the canon, some are pondering the redundancy of the Disney Prince.

Prince Eric Little Mermaid Remake

Jonah Hauer-King plays Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live-action remake

Recently, The Guardian published an article highlighting the evolution of Disney princes, calling out one important observation, “The new Little Mermaid film reinforces the sense that the Disney princesses’ significant others are doomed to non-existence.”

Beginning with Prince Charming and Prince Phillip in Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and expanding all the way through Moana, which starkly has no prince at all, the writer explores how Disney Princes were always notably side characters and have become less and less important to Disney storytelling along the way. As the article points out, when it comes to Moana,

For the first time in Disney animation history, a princess film contained not even a semblance of romance, and Moana was allowed to go on an exciting adventure without having to fall for a boy. Lo and behold, the absence of a prince didn’t detract from the film’s success, and to this day, it’s consistently one of the most streamed movies on Disney+.

disney princes redundant

Flynn Rider (Tangled), Kristoff (Frozen),  Aladdin (Aladdin), and Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid) All Images Credit: Disney

Disney Princes have historically been narratively relevant characters. Still, if we’re coming to an age where they’re no longer necessary to the story itself, perhaps Disney has navigated its way through the waters to finally deliver an important message to young girls. While the Disney Princes are certainly lovely characters that many of us fawned over, perhaps the real lesson is they were never truly necessary to gain that happy ending after all.

You can read The Guardian’s full exploration for yourself!

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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