It’s a girl! Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to her second child on May 2, 2015, and we couldn’t be happier for the royal couple. After all, what could be more exciting about having not just one, but two beautiful young princesses to admire? Just like the late Princess Diana, Kate has managed to make countless people fall in love with her, and it doesn’t look like our obsession with this intelligent royal is going to fade any time soon.
Blame it on Disney if you want, but there’s no doubt that princesses hold a special place in the hearts of people all over the world. They might not be as politically powerful as queens, but they still fascinate us with their beauty, fashion, and royal stature. It’s no wonder little girls like this have dreams of growing up to be princesses themselves! While English royalty is probably the most famous in Western culture, there have been princesses from all over the globe that have made their mark on the world throughout time… and many of them deserve to be the stars of their own animated films.
Whether they were known for their beauty, their power, or their skill on the battlefield, these princesses have solidified their place as some of history’s most iconic royal figures.
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1. Pingyang (China)
Pingyang (formerly known as “Zhao”) was a real-life Mulan who was born in 598 AD. When her father, Gaozu, led a rebellion against the Sui dynasty, Pingyang and her husband fled their home in opposite directions to avoid being killed for treason. Eventually, Pingyang returned home and sold all of her possessions to buy military armor and equipment. She rallied and trained a group of peasants and made them into warriors who then joined forces with other neighboring armies. They eventually grew into a force of over 70,000 soldiers and were nicknamed, “The Army of the Lady.” Finally, Pingyang was able to reunite with her father to destroy the Sui army. Gaozu became the first emperor of the Zang dynasty thanks to the incredible military prowess of his daughter. Oh, and did I mention Pingyang did all of this when she was just twenty years old?
2. Ameerah Al-Taweel (Saudi Arabia)
Ameerah Al-Taweel was just an ordinary girl when she somehow managed to get an interview with Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed Bin Talal for a school paper she was working on. But she got way more than just an interview— she and the prince fell in love and were married nine months later. Being the wife of one of the thirty richest men in the world meant that she could have easily lived an easy life of luxury, but instead, Ameerah set her heart on fighting for women’s rights in her country, which is notorious for oppressing their female population. She worked with her husband’s humanitarian charity and has joined up with world leaders such as Bill Clinton and the entire royal family in Britain to push to get women in Middle Eastern countries the same rights as their male counterparts. Ameerah and Alwaleed eventually divorced, but both insist they’re still on great terms, and it doesn’t look like Ameerah is thinking about stopping her human rights work any time soon.
3. Grace Kelly (Monaco)
Grace Kelly was adored long before she married Rainier III to become to princess of Monaco. Born in Philadelphia, she rose to fame during the 1950’s for her roles in Dial ‘M’ for Murder, To Catch a Thief, and The Country Girl. At the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, she was invited to Monaco for a photo session with the prince, and although it took over a year for them to finally meet, they eventually married and had three children. Since Grace had to quit acting due to her new role as a princess, she began working in philanthropy and founded AMADE Mondiale: a non-profit based on the idea of helping protect the spiritual well-being of children all over the world. She also worked to help improve Monaco’s art institutions and support local artisans. Grace tragically died after having a stroke while driving, but her memory lives on through her charity work, films, and impact as Monaco royalty.
4. Nefertiti (Egypt)
Nefertiti, whose name means “the beautiful one has come” in Egyptian, married the future pharaoh Amenhotep IV when she was just fifteen years old. She began her rule around 1353 BC, and she was known both during her time and today for her unprecedented beauty. But this Egyptian princess was far more than just a pretty face— she and her husband started the Aten cult, which dictated that the sun god was the only one of ancient Egypt’s many deities worthy of worship. Her husband respected and admired her so much, he made the unheard-of move of treating and depicting her as his equal. In some art pieces, she’s even shown wearing a pharaoh’s crown! Nobody knows why one of history’s most powerful women completely disappeared from Egyptian artwork after twelve years, but many think she might have begun to dress as a man after being elevated to co-regent, meaning that her power was equal to the pharaoh’s.
5. Diana Spencer (Wales)
Lady Diana married Prince Charles in 1981 to become possibly the most well-known modern day princess. The media was obsessed with her, and she used her influence to spread HIV/AIDS awareness, assist the homeless, and help disadvantaged children. Diana was known as “the people’s princess” for her frequent interactions with the public and down-to-earth personality. She divorced Charles in 1996, but continued her philanthropic efforts, such as protesting against the use of landmines in war. Tragically, Diana was killed a year later in a car crash as she fled from the paparazzi. However, her mark on the world still remains in the form of a charity fund set up in her name that helps refugees and sick people throughout Africa.
6. Catherine of Aragon (England)
This famous woman who would one day become the queen of England was born to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain in 1501. She married Henry VIII when she was still a teenager, but their marriage grew sour due to Catherine’s inability to give Henry an heir. Her husband began an affair with Anne Boleyn and tried to annul their marriage, but Catherine fought to remain queen until she was finally forced out of court. Henry got married to Anne, and Catherine lived the rest of her life in a damp castle away from court and was given the title of “Princess Dowager” for her first marriage to Henry’s brother, the late Prince Arthur. She is remembered not only for her admirable struggle to stay on the throne, but also for being the first of Henry VIII’s six unfortunate wives.
7. Rania Al Abdullah (Jordan)
With a degree in Business Administration and a resume that includes Apple Inc., Rania was a remarkable woman long before marrying Prince Abdullah bin Al-Hussein of Jordan. After holding the title of princess for six years, she was made a queen in 1999 when her husband ascended the throne. Since then, she has written four books and worked to support education, children’s welfare, and cross-cultural understanding. Despite her busy schedule and royal status, she still finds time to be extremely active on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, often using her online presence to help create conversations and awareness for her causes. She may be royalty, but just like Princess Diana, Rania uses her power to make the world a better place.
8. Anne (England)
Though she may be a princess, Anne is much more content to sit on a horse than on a throne— she has always been an avid equestrian, and she has multiple eventing awards to prove it. She even represented the British team in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal! She’s involved with more than two-hundred charities, and, as the queen’s only daughter, assists in many royal responsibilities. Being twelve in line for the throne, Anne will probably never be a queen, but she clearly knows how to rule in everything else she tries!
9. Meerabai (Rajasthan)
Meerabai, or Meera, was a princess Rajasthan, India born in 1498. She was famous for her beauty and carried a deep devotion to the Hindu deithy, Krishna. When she married the ruler of Chittor as a teenager, her in-laws strongly disapproved of her faith. Her husband died not long after they wed, but rather than burning herself alive on his funeral pyre, she chose to devote herself even more to Krishna, leaving her home at night to spend time for religious reunions and dancing in the streets with the commoners. Her in-laws were so repulsed by her “unfeminine” behavior that they tried to kill her multiple times, but according to legend, she survived all of their assassination attempts with a little help from Krishna himself.
10. Kate Middleton (England)
She may not have been a princess for very long, but the Duchess of Cambridge has already won the hearts of countless people around the world. She encompasses everything we love about a good Cinderella story, growing up in a non-noble household and winning the heart of a prince. But she’s far more than just William’s wife— Aside from her important work for numerous charities, Kate has also had a major impact on U.S. and U.K. fashion. She gave birth to her adorable son George in 2013, and with the new arrival of her baby girl, it looks like we all have yet another princess to obsess over.