Prince Charming

Prince Charming is a stock character who originates in a number of fairy tales. He is the prince who comes to the rescue of the damsel in distress, and typically must engage in a quest to liberate her from an evil spell. The name has been given to the heroes of a number of traditional folk tales, including "Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty", and "Cinderella".

These characters are often handsome and romantic, a foil to the heroine, and are seldom deeply characterized, or even distinguishable from other such men who marry the heroine. In many variants, they can be viewed more as rewards for the heroine rather than characters." [Catherine Orenstein, "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale", p 121, ISBN 0-465-04125-6 ]

History of term

In the eighteenth centurey, Madame d'Aulnoy wrote two fairy tales, "The Story of Pretty Goldilocks", where the hero was named "Avenant", and "The Blue Bird", where the hero was "Le roi Charmant" ("The Charming King," in French). When Andrew Lang retold the first (in 1889) for "The Blue Fairy Book" [] , he rendered the hero's name as "Charming"; the second, for "The Green Fairy Book", as "King Charming".

Although neither one was a prince and the first was not royal, this may have been the original use of "Charming."

Then, Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" refers ironically to "Prince Charming," perhaps the earliest use of the exact term. The main character, Dorian, is supposed to be a young actress's "Prince Charming," but he abandons her and in despair she commits suicide.

The Walt Disney animated version of " Cinderella" that appeared in 1950 further popularized the name in English. In the Charles Perrault version of "Cinderella", and in most pre-Disney versions, the prince is not specifically identified as Prince Charming. Nor is the character of the Prince named Prince Charming - or for that matter anything else - in the earlier Disney animated feature "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937). Since that film appeared, the name has been bestowed upon the highly similar characters who appear in "Snow White" and "Sleeping Beauty". In fact, the princely status of Prince Charming is more important to the plot of this latter tale, since it is his royal status that enables Prince Charming to break the curse that keeps Sleeping Beauty in her supernatural sleep. In Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (1959) the Prince is named Phillip and never referred to as "Prince Charming".

Frog Prince

In another variant, Prince Charming is the victim of a curse that has transmogrified him into a frog or toad. In this version, Prince Charming has to be kissed by a princess while in his amphibian form for the curse to be broken; only then can he be restored to his human form as a handsome prince.


The prominence of the character type makes him an obvious target for revisionist fairy tales.

The character of Prince Charming is deconstructed in the 2004 movie "Shrek 2" (wherein he is a Bad Fiancé, he has a personality not unlike that of Gaston in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", although he is rather more metrosexual) and also in the comic "Fables". "Prince Charming" is the title of a 1981 album and song by Adam and the Ants. "Prince Charming" is also the title of a 1999 movie starring Andy Lau and Michelle Reis. "Meet Prince Charming" is the title of a 1999 movie starring Tia Carrere and David Charvet.

Prince Charming is a prominent character in the "Fables" comic book; in that version, he successively married Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, each marriage ending in divorce due to his compulsive womanizing. He himself comments: "I always truly love a woman when I first pursue her...I'm just no good at the happily-ever-after part." He parlays his charm into election as the mayor of Fabletown, the underground "Fable" community, and finds the job more difficult than he had anticipated.

This aspect of his character is also explored in the Broadway musical "Into the Woods", where there are not one but two prince Charmings, brothers going after Cinderella and Rapunzel, then, later, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White after they marry their first loves. Cinderella's Prince even has an affair with the Baker's Wife, and when confronted about his womanizing, states "I was raised to be charming, not sincere."

The concept of the Prince Charming is also parodied in "Enchanted" when Prince Edward looking for Princess Giselle in New York. While knocking the doors he finds a pregnant housewife holding 3 kids, who tells him, in a scoffing voice, "You're too late."

ee also



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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prince Charming — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Prince Charming» Canción de Metallica del álbum Reload álbum Reload Publicación 18 de noviembre de 1997 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Prince Charming — n informal a perfect man who a young woman might dream about meeting often used humorously ▪ She is still waiting to find her Prince Charming …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Prince Charming — 1850, from Fr. Roi Charmant, name of the hero of Comtesse d Aulnoy s L Oiseau Bleu (1697), adopted into native fairy tales including Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. As for me, I have always agreed with the fairy books that the moment when Prince… …   Etymology dictionary

  • prince charming — A prince charming is the perfect man in a woman s life …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • Prince Charming — Prince Charm′ing n. cvb a man who embodies a woman s romantic ideal • Etymology: after Prince Charming, hero of Cinderella …   From formal English to slang

  • Prince Charming — noun count HUMOROUS a young, attractive, kind man that a girl dreams will make her life perfect …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Prince Charming — n. a man who realizes a woman s fondest romantic hopes …   English World dictionary

  • Prince Charming — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Prince Charming Originaltitel Meet Prince Charming …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Prince Charming — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Prince Charming (Prince Charmant en anglais) est le titre de plusieurs œuvres : Cinéma Prince Charming est un film américain réalisé par James… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Prince Charming — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms Prince Charming : singular Prince Charming plural Prince Charmings humorous a young, attractive, kind man that a girl dreams will make her life perfect • Etymology: From the name of the prince in the story of… …   English dictionary

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