Gracie has a bunch of books about Disney Princesses. This is, I believe, to be expected. She’s a four year old girl, and very much into things that are girly and pink. Disney Princesses fit the bill quite nicely.
But she has one book that lists eight princesses: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, and Pocahontas.
I have issues with this; I don’t think they’re all princesses.
Snow White is definitely a princess. That isn’t even up for discussion. Same goes for Sleeping Beauty. Even a cursory examination of these stories clearly reveals the characters as royalty (or royalty in exile). Cinderella I can also accept. Although she doesn’t begin life as a princess, she marries a prince.
Those three are easy. The others are a bit trickier.
Ariel: yeah, she’s a princess, I guess. Her father is the King of the Sea, so that makes her the mermaid equivalent of a princess. And even if you don’t buy that, she marries a human prince at the end. I’ll also take Jasmine as a princess or princess equivalent, since her father is the sultan.
So we’re up to five bonafide princesses so far.
Belle, one of the “Classic Six” as near as I can determine, is problematic, so I’ll get back to her in a moment.
Mulan I’m rejecting out of hand. She’s not born into royalty. She doesn’t marry into royalty. She doesn’t marry at all, in fact, at least within the story as Disney tells it. I suppose a romance and eventual marriage are implied, but even so, her beau isn’t a prince. He’s a soldier. True, he’s a high ranking soldier, but that’s not quite the same as a prince, now is it? So, I’m sorry, but Mulan doesn’t make the cut. Great soldier, but no princess.
As for Pocahontas, I could go either way. Her father is the chief of the tribe, but that does that really qualify as royalty? Especially in that culture? I don’t know. Like I said, I could go either way. We’ll count her as a half princess.
Back to Belle. As far as I’m concerned, Belle is no princess. Allow me to explain. She’s the daughter of an eccentric inventory, not a king, so she’s not born into royalty. She does marry a “prince” at the end of the story, but for me, it’s the princeliness of the former Beast that raises the most questions. I don’t think he’s a genuine prince. He lives in some huge castle in France, near a village where no one even knows about the castle. None of the villagers seem to be aware that there’s a prince in the proximity, and there doesn’t seem to be any other sort of constituency within a reasonable distance of the castle. So what, exactly, is the Beast the prince of? Just the castle? Hogwash. And where are his parents? In the story, he must fall in love by either his eighteenth or twenty-first birthday (I forget which). How did he amass such wealth and power so early in life, and apparently entirely on his own? He even has a full staff at his disposal. Obviously, the Beast attained his position illegally. I think he sold steroids to Gaston and his cronies. I reject the Beast as a prince, so that rules Belle out, much as it pains me, because she is the second hottest of the so-called princesses.
So out of eight potential princess, we have five and a half.