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Why Does Every Little Girl Want to be a Real Princess?

Fairy Tales, Folk Stories and Disney

From fairy tales, folk stories, Disney and even Real Life; little girls totally adore the whole Princess thing. They love dressing up as a princess, behaving like a princess and reading or viewing absolutely anything about princesses.

But with the princess syndrome comes a dangerously false sense of self-importance. The princess child identifies so strongly with a princess that she naturally assumes she is unimaginably superior to her siblings, pets, friends, relatives and anyone at school including the staff.

This inane sense of superiority can become a massive handicap. At some point the head teacher or principal may well take offence at being ordered around by a six year old with a plastic crown on her head!

So where does this obsession with royalty come from?

Real Princesses and Pretenders

In Europe we have an excuse. Many of us still have a royal family. In England, where I live, we worshipped Princess Di more than the rest of royal family put together and Diana quickly became an icon for every little girl under a certain age.

Now we have a suitable replacement in the fine form of Kate Middleton who will one day, God willing, be Queen of England.

Diana, A Real Princess and Queen of Hearts

Diana, A Real Princess and Queen of Hearts

Boys like a Variety of Dressing Up Costumes - Darth Vader is Popular Choice!

Boys like a Variety of Dressing Up Costumes - Darth Vader is Popular Choice!

Quite a few Euro nations seem to have more or less ditched their royals and our French neighbours have taken the somewhat extreme measure of chopping their heads off for good measure!

The more northern Europeans, such as the English, the Dutch, Norwegians, Danes and Swedes, manage to live in the 21st century but still coexist with and tolerate our Royals.

But why are our little girl American cousins so Princess infatuated?

Maybe its just envy or perhaps its all down to Walt Disney who created so many princesses in his movies. We can also look to Hollywood and such stanch supporters of the princess lobby as Mattel the toy makers and Toys r Us.

Lets face it, the little girl princess thing is a multi-billion dollar industry that not only costs parents a small fortune every Christmas but also creates little monsters who insist on sitting on the rear seat of the family car wearing ankle length gowns in luminous pink or purple, plastic tiaras and solemnly waving to every passing pedestrian.

Incidentally, have you noticed that while boys have a much wider range of costumes from cowboys, firemen, Star Wars characters to superheros, virtually all the little girl costumes in your local Walmart or Tesco store are princesses? So why does every female tot want to be royalty?

Little Princess Car Sticker - Just Encourages Pretentious Behaviour!

Little Princess Car Sticker - Just Encourages Pretentious Behaviour!


Another benefit in believing you’re a princess is escapism. A sense you are better than your family home and your neighbourhood. A belief that some handsome prince will one day take you away from a life of drudgery and give you wealth and remove the need to work at Mcdonalds or the local hairdressers.

I blame the parents. How many cars do you see with a sticker in the rear window proclaiming ‘Princess On Board’? And how many stories we read to our kids just reinforce the little princess stereotype?

The Princess and the Pea - How to Expose a Fraud!

The Princess and the Pea - How to Expose a Fraud!

The Princess and the Pea

What about the Princess and the Pea? (No not Pee. Bed wetting is not a Princess attribute!) You remember the story. There is a need to prove that the girl who claims to be a princess is the Real McCoy.

The Prince in the story is obsessed with finding a real princess to be his bride but the girls he meets never seem quite like the real thing. One night a rain soaked young woman knocks on the door seeking shelter. She is gorgeous, intelligent and well spoken and mentions in passing she is a Real Princess.

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The Queen therefore gets the servants to make up the visitor's bed with 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds and slips the pea in the bottom (of the bed not the princess!).

The next morning the poor princess complains of something hard in the bed keeping her awake all night. Obviously this proves she is a real princess (no really!) as she is so sensitive she feels the pea through all those layers. Anyway, they marry and live happily ever after.

Men Like Ordinary Girls Just as much as Princesses!

Men Like Ordinary Girls Just as much as Princesses!

The Princess Pea Test

Incidentally the Pea Test is a great way to expose a typical ‘little princess’ as the fraud she really is.

If you know a family terrorised by a tiny tyrant, obsessed with her royal blood, then offer to conduct the Pea Test on the bed of the little pretender.

Before her ladyship retires to her princess bed, slip a single pea under her mattress. Make sure the bed has a firm base and the pea is dried and therefore hard.

Some misguided parents assume a few frozen peas will do the trick. Frozen peas will not cut the mustard!

I hear someone stupid saying shouldn't there be a great pile of mattresses as in the story. No, because:

  • The point is better made with a single mattress. If if her royal highness can’t even feel the pea through one mattress she is even less of a princess!
  • Health and safety - You don’t want your imaginary princess falling out of bed some 10 feet and breaking her non-royal leg

Get the parents to tuck her in and read the story of the Princess and the Pea to her but on no account tell her about the pea under her mattress.

The next morning her parents should enquire if she slept well. If the answer is affirmative then they immediately confront her with the damming evidence of the hidden pea.

She will then break down in tears, confess she is a fraud and spend the next 10 minutes sobbing the bathroom.

Tactfully remind her she needs to be ready for school and that study is important for someone without inherited wealth or a title. You might also point out that at the recent English royal wedding most men were far more interested in the Chief Bridesmaid Pippa than the Bride Kate.

In other words normal men don’t always fall for princesses, even one as pretty as Kate.

Actually, on reflection, I’m not sure that this is a helpful explanation. The suggestion that it is better to have a fine butt, bottom or derriere than to be a Real Princess may not be helpful for a six year old!

How to Deal With a Little Girl Who Thinks She's a Princess

Kate (Real Princess) Wedding


Michaela from USA on December 17, 2015:

I never wanted to be a princess when I was a kid - think I subconsciously understood all the bullsh*t socializing that tried to make girls into these weak and inferior little creatures that needed to be rescued by a big strong male character....

When I was a kid, I excelled at playing pirate or explorer.

Dummy on January 21, 2013:

I always wanted to be Yoshi when I was little (for some reason that I don't know.)

Gina Coole (author) from London on November 27, 2011:

rdlang, interesting point that most grown up women are also 'princesses' and like to be pampered and spoilt! Thanks for being the first to comment!

R D Langr from Minnesota on November 27, 2011:

I like how you mentioned the "real princess". Perhaps all women secretly desire to be (and are) that, but with stupid societal influences just don't know how to to do?

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