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Aiysha Hart stars as Queen Ariadne in Atlantis. (BBCA)

We’ve all heard little girls talk about wanting to be a princess and maybe even aspiring to be queen. Who can blame them? In fairytales, royal women get to live in posh castles, wear lavish clothes, and have ladies-in-waiting at their beck and call.

But as we’ve learned from watching queens and princesses on screen, it doesn’t always play out that way. A princess may be forced into a loveless marriage. A queen’s head may end up on the chopping block.

Here are 10 queens and princesses we’ve seen in TV and film who tackle their roles in life head on:

1. Ariadne
Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) is the daughter of King Minos (Alexander Siddig) and stepdaughter to the former Queen of Atlantis Pasiphae (Sarah Parish) in BBC AMERICA’s Atlantis, returning to BBCA this Saturday (June 27) at 9/8c. Notice we said former? Ariadne is a princess-turned-queen as her stepmother underestimated the young royal. While kindhearted and having the best interest of her people in mind, Ariadne knows if the city is to survive, she will have to pull a page from her stepmother’s ruthless diary.

2. The White Witch
The White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is the Queen of Narnia, at least according to her, in The Chronicles of Narnia series. While both stunning and enchanting, she is one to watch out for. The ground isn’t the only thing frozen over in Narnia; her heart is just as cold.

3. Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary Stuart
was Queen of Scotland from 1542 to 1567. She was the only legitimate child when her father King James V passed away, making her Queen as an infant. Mary moved to France at the age of five where she was betrothed to the French heir to the crown. The 2013 film Mary Queen of Scots, starring Camille Rutherford in the title role, depicts her return to Scotland and the scandalous yet fascinating life of the young queen.

4. Cersei Lannister
Cersei (Lena Headey) is the child of a Lord and Lady, but earns her title of Queen of the Seven Kingdoms after marrying King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) in the TV series Game of Thrones. Cersei’s strength is her undying loyalty to her family. Her weakness is that she’s a little too keen on some family members. During her reign she is haunted by a prophecy she heard as a child in the below clip.

5. Red Queen
You gotta love the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) from Alice in Wonderland. She is the embodiment of a confident queen, she apologizes to no one, and if someone crosses her … well, “Off with his head.”

6. Queen Helena & Princess Eleanor
The Royals TV series offers up a queen and princess. Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley) butts heads with her over-the-top daughter Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park). The Queen is fashion-forward and all about having fun. It’s got to be hard when your mum is the hottest woman in the room. Maybe this is the source of their friction?

7. “Queenie
Blackadder gives Queen Elizabeth I an amusing spin. Queenie, as she is affectionately called, uses her power to demand entertainment and presents. As well, people in her presence must laugh at her jokes. She doesn’t seem too concerned with political affairs, but is not shy to commit someone to death at a whim.

8. Princess Astra of Astros
The Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker) companion Romana II (Lalla Ward) regenerates into the likeness of Princess Astra of Astro in the Doctor Who episode “Destiny of the Daleks.” Romana II appears to be one of those little girls who liked the idea of being a princess. But as we mentioned above, being a princess can have its downfalls. The below clip shows the real Prince Astra under hypnosis after being kidnapped.

9. Cinderella
Ella (Lily James) lives a hard life in Disney’s live-action film Cinderella. She loses her mother at an early age, and her absentee father remarries to a cruel woman. Even so, she keeps her head down, stays under the radar, and somehow comes out on top … as a princess. 

10. Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II is the current Head of State of the U.K. The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, takes us back to 1997 when Princess Diana tragically lost her life. The Queen was faced with a nation in mourning.

Which queen or princess can you relate to most?

See More: 
Brit Binge Watching: Movie Depictions of Female British Royals Available Online
10 Lesser-Known Members of the British Royal Family
Snapshot: 17 Photos of British Royals as Babies

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By Brigid Brown