The Disney princes have been charming the big screen since 1937. As a result, they've carved a permanent niche in the psyche of popular culture. Yet with so many Disney characters and films, what exactly constitutes an official Disney prince?
Official Disney Princes
A prince is only allowed to be on the formal list of Disney princes if his love interest is one of the official Disney princesses. Disney maintains an official line-up of Disney princesses (eleven, so far) that the company began in the early 2000s. Since Merida doesn't have a love interest in her film, there are currently ten official Disney princes.
1. Prince Florian
Prince Florian appeared in Snow White and The Seven Dwarves in 1937 as the love interest who kisses her to wake her from her poison apple-induced coma. Walt Disney originally intended the Prince to have a significant role in the film. However, they had such a hard time animating him, his role was reduced to a bookend, appearing only in the beginning and end.
2. Prince Charming (or Prince Henry)
In the 1950 film Cinderella, Prince Charming meets Cinderella at the royal ball, falls in love with her, then finds her glass slipper when she flees. Prince Charming was supposed to sing a solo called, The Face That I See at Night, about how Cinderella continually haunted him, but it was cut from the film.
3. Prince Phillip
In Sleeping Beauty, Phillip meets Aurora when the two are children, and they are betrothed to one another by their parents. They then fall in love as adults, not knowing who the other one is. The filmmakers named the prince after the real Prince Phillip, whose new wife Elizabeth had just ascended to the throne of England as Queen Elizabeth II.
4. Prince Eric
In The Little Mermaid, Prince Eric falls in love with Ariel after she saves him from drowning and he hears her sing. He later has a direct role in killing the villain Ursula during a storm at sea. Christopher Daniel Barnes, the actor who recorded the voice of Prince Eric, was only 17 when he did the recording.
5. The Beast (or Prince Adam)
In The Beauty and the Beast, Prince Adam-turned-Beast is a complicated mix of villain and hero. He plays the central character of conflict in a gripping story about a stone-cold heart finding love again. The appearance of Beast was based on several animals: a gorilla for the brow, a lion for the mane, a buffalo for the head shape, a bear for the body, a boar for the tusks, and a wolf for the legs.
For the first time in Disney's history, the protagonist of a Disney animated film is the prince, not the princess. In this case, it's the "street rat" Aladdin, a poor young thief (and talented parkour athlete) who eventually finds a genie in a lamp. The animators created Aladdin's dashing good looks by using Tom Cruise's appearance as a model.
7. John Smith
In this New World story, Captain John Smith finds himself falling in love with Pocahontas. Things get tricky, however, when Pocahontas's father disapproves, and Smith's fellow explorers plot to steal gold from Pocahontas' tribe. John Smith was voiced by Mel Gibson who also did the singing.
8. Li Shang
When Captain Li Shang is promoted to general of the Chinese army, he discovers one of his soldiers and friends is a woman in disguise: Mulan. Together they work to win a war and fall in love with each other along the way. In the Chinese version of Mulan, Li Shang was voiced by the legendary martial artist and actor Jackie Chan.
9. Prince Naveen
In The Princess and the Frog, Prince Naveen is an actual prince born to royalty (something that was not true of a prince since The Beauty and the Beast) until he is transformed into a frog. When Tiana becomes a frog too, they go on a brave adventure in the swamp to find a way back to their human forms. Prince Naveen is from the invented country of Maldonia. In the film, he says the made-up Maldonian word, "Achidanza," which means, 'cool.'
10. Eugene Fitzherbert
The often comical Eugene (aka Flynn Rider) in Tangled lives a witty, daring life outside of the law until he happens upon Rapunzel in the tower, who sends him on a transformative journey from outlaw to prince. Eugene's name was originally going to be Bastion. His good looks were based on how female employees at Disney studios defined handsomeness during a session with the animators.
So This Is Love
The Disney princes can't be separated from their Disney princesses. Their stories are always closely intertwined with another character. There's always some relationship dynamic at play, whether it's a classic love story, a modern jazz-filled New Orleans swamp tale, or a comical escape from a very tall tower.