Myth Buster: The Real Life of a Medieval Princess

To capture an accurate view of medieval princesses, forget all those fairy tales you read growing up.  Clear your mind of all the romantic ideas of castles, damsels in distress, and women who just sat around brushing their hair and trying to decide what to wear!  Not to burst the fantasy bubble here, but just keeping it real, medieval princesses were far from inactive and stress free.  As a matter of fact, there was a great deal of pressure thrust upon them as they were immersed in the world of politics and public scrutiny.  On the plus side, though, they did strut around in awesome dresses!

Medieval Dresses:

Medieval princesses lived in a time where men had the voice while women were to remain in the background.  Thus, princesses were treated more so as property rather than royalty.  They were used by men as bait to attain power and make alliances.  These girls were promised to kings and subjected to arranged marriages, often before they were even to their teen years.  As a result, these girls were pulled away from their homes and given to their suitors throughout Europe.  When they left their homes, they usually never returned.

Medieval Princess Dress:

Medieval Princess Dress

As is the policy of many retail stores today where “all purchases are final”, marriages of the Middle Ages were also final.  Translation: divorce wasn’t an option.  This was because marriages were the ultimate political alliances and children of these unions reaped the benefit of being heirs to two kingdoms.  Therefore, it is no surprise that the primary purpose of a princess was to bear children, specifically males, to inherit the throne.  Female children were completely a lost cause though.  They were welcomed as booty to bargain for more power in future alliances.

So, where there any benefits of being a medieval princess?  To be honest, there were very few, but they did bask in materially privileged lives in court.  Their living conditions, food, and fashion were not so bad and any commoner would covet these things.  On the flip side, princesses were constantly staring at the face of adversity.  For example, the loyalty of those royal females who arrived from foreign kingdoms was often questioned.  Courts feared betrayal from these women, which made it difficult for them to maintain power or earn respect.  As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, princesses also had to deal with their husbands taking mistresses.  Infidelity was quite normal in medieval times, but only men were allowed to engage in this practice.  Due to this behavior, princesses were left to the task of being faithful to an unfaithful husband, while the public lost respect for the reigning couple because of it.

Princess of Pearl Dress:

Princess Of Pearl Dress

Well, now that the facts are laid out, all you girls out there can rest assured that you didn’t miss out on a glamorous life because you weren’t born a medieval princess.  The only thing you may have missed out on is the opportunity to wear elaborate dresses and other rich garments.  Fortunately, these apparel items are still accessible today without the other things attached to being a medieval princess.

To peruse our collection of medieval princess attire and other great medieval attire, go to:

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