Disney’s "Cinderella" is riding high at the box office, and Belle is primed for a 2017 resurgence, but not every Disney heroine with a crown gets to be an official princess.
In fact, the rules for that 15-year-old club are as exclusive as the are confusing. Here’s everything you need to know about the young women who occupy one of Disney’s most lucrative franchises.
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Since 2000, Disney princesses are now, technically, their own franchises, marketed separately from the films that spawned them. Not every princess from a Disney film or TV show is an official member of the princess franchise. And at least one official Disney princess isn’t even royal.
The original characters to be officially crowned Disney princesses were Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Peter Pan fairy, Tinker Bell.
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Each princess has her own official number in the Disney franchise lineup. Snow White is the first and original Disney princess, followed by Cinderella and Aurora, in that order.
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After Tinker Bell left her throne, she was replaced by Tiana, heroine of 2009’s "The Princess and the Frog."
Pomp and circumstance
Tiana’s ascension was celebrated in lavish coronation at the New York Palace Hotel in 2010.
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All of the original Disney princesses are royal by blood, or have married into royalty, except for one: Mulan.
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In 2011, Rapunzel joined the official Disney princess lineup. Though her 2010 film "Tangled" had CGI effects, she looks more like a traditional cartoon in official princess merchandising.
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Though she’s based on a German fairy tale, Rapunzel enjoyed her official Disney coronation in high British style at Kensington Palace, now the official home of Prince William and Kate of Cambridge.
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Disney’s first official princess from the Pixar film lineup is Merida. The heroine from "Brave" made the list in 2013, a year after her film debuted.
The main character from the Disney TV series "Sofia the First" is definitely royal … but Disney does not list her as an official princess.
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No eye contact
In any official Disney image showing more than one princess, none of royal women ever make eye contact with each other, in an attempt to keep their individual mythologies separate.
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Neither Elsa nor Anna, from the mega-smash 2013 film "Frozen," is an official part of the Disney princess franchise.
A report in the Orlando Sentinel predicted that Elsa and Anna would be coronated in 2014, but the ceremony never happened. Could 2015 be their year?
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An "evil" edition?
If Elsa is officially crowned as a Disney princess, she’ll be the first inspired by what is arguably an evil character. The original "Snow Queen" was supposed to be a villain in "Frozen" before her character was softened.
Ladies in waiting
Other princess characters from Disney films -- including Giselle from "Enchanted," Megara from "Hercules," Leia from the Star Wars franchise, and Melody from "The Little Mermaid II" — also have yet to enjoy an official coronation.
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Tinker Bell enjoyed only a brief reign as an official princess before abdicating. She’s now part of a separate Disney Fairies franchise started in 2005. (Another consolation prize: A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.)