It's the week of Prince William's wedding, and soon Kate Middleton will become a princess (though her future title is not yet publicly known). Nevertheless, we think Kate will make a kick-ass royal; she's already leading the way by having a wedding registry that benefits multiple charities.
We love women who use their royal status to make the world a better place. Some of our favorite kick-ass princesses (both real and fictional) who stood for social good include:
Diana, Princess of Wales—Groom-to-be Prince William's late mother was dedicated to charity work, supporting fights against AIDS, homelessness, and poverty. Diana was publicly involved in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a cause that some found too political for a royal. She also acted as president of Great Ormand Street Hospital, the United Kingdom's first institution to offer inpatient care to children only.
The Little Mermaid—You may know her as Ariel, who gives up her voice and her world for a man. However, in the original fairy tale, the unnamed Little Mermaid also wants a soul that will live on after death (which mermaids do not have). Though the prince ultimately ends up marrying another girl, the mermaid magically becomes a spirit known as "a daugheter of the air." The other spirits inform the mermaid princess that if she does good deeds as a spirit, eventually she will earn a soul in heaven.
Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden—This 33-year-old royal suffered from anorexia earlier in life. Through professional treatment, she overcame the disorder and now speaks publicly about it. "Now I’m feeling well and with the insights I’ve acquired through this I can hopefully help someone else," she wrote in her book, Victoria, Victoria!
Princess Leia—The Star Wars princess is a driven political leader, doing whatever necessary to defend her people in the name of a republic. Beyond the movies, Star Wars literature follows Leia in her training to become a Jedi Knight, a warrior dedicated to preserving the all that is good and fair in the universe.
Princess Inaara Aga Khan—Born Gabriele Thyssen, this native German first married an Italian prince and then Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV), the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. Now as the Begum Aga Khan, Princess Inaara is the president and chairman of the board of her self-titled foundation, which works to combat HIV/AIDS and to prevent conflicts between ethnic and religious groups.
Thumbelina—This thumb-sized girl receives help from animals on her adventures, and cares for them in return. In one instance, Thumbelina nurses a swallow back to help. In return, the swallow helps the girl travel to a field where she meets a flower-sized fairy prince, and they wed.
Princess Grace Kelly—The movie star moved toward royal responsibilities after wedding Prince Rainier of Monoco. She founded The World Association of Children's Friends, an organization that promotes children's human rights internationally. Princess Grace was also known for supporting the arts, inspiring her family to create the arts-funding Princess Grace Foundation-USA after her death.
Ka'iulani—After American plantation owners and businessmen forcibly overtook the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, crown princess Ka'iulani traveled to America to campaign for the U.S. government to return Hawaii's sovereignty. The princess spoke with the President and to the press, hoping to influence both politicians and the American public to side against the U.S. overtaking the Hawaiian islands.
Princess Rym Ali—The daughter of Algerian-born parents and raised in Europe and America, Rym was a CNN journalist who covered international conflict. Now living in Jordan with Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, the princess has founded the Jordan Media Institute, which awards Masters in Journalism and New Media and strives to create stronger public trust in journalism.
Princess Peach—Nintendo's royal heroine started off in the 1980s as a damsel in distress, but as time passed, she grew into more of a feminist, joining Mario & Luigi at their sides to fight evil forces like Bowser in various video games.
Princess Buttercup—No, not your favorite character from The Princess Bride. Princess Buttercup is the name of a female pit-bull who inspired a foundation that teaches kids about animal kindness and dog safety. The dog's kind nature around kids earned her the first Humane Ambassador position with the organization.