Sofia the First Mimics Progressive Real-Life Princess Law

This is a big week for Disney Junior's princess in training, Sofia the First. After an indefinite hiatus, the show is back with a new episode every single day this week. There are going to be some pretty big ones including the introduction of a disabled princess and a return to Merroway Cove, where Sofia's mermaid princess friends live. Today's episode, "A Royal Wedding," was no exception. The episode was set during the wedding of Sofia's Aunt Tilly to Sir Bartleby, both of whom were introduced last season. Tilly is a fun Mary Poppins-like character who is the older sister to King Roland. She revealed in an earlier episode that she had inherited Sofia's magical Amulet of Avalor before it was passed down her. Sir Bartleby struggled to confess his feelings to Tilly because he was afraid she would be put off by his odd high-pitched voice, but she accepted him the way he was as soon as she learned the truth. However, none of that was addressed in their wedding episode. Instead, it focused on a bigger issue that subtly referenced real-life laws about royal lineage.


As King Roland's stepdaughter and the youngest sibling, it's a well-known fact that Sofia would not be inheriting the throne to Enchancia, but with her amulet that allows her to talk to animals, meet Disney Princesses, transform into magical creatures, and become the protector of the Mystic Isles from the wicked sorceress Prisma, who has time to worry about being queen? Instead, the throne would go to one of King Roland's biological twins, Princess Amber or Prince James. The episode "A Royal Wedding" revealed that James had assumed he would inherit the throne due to an old law that parallels real-life history called primogeniture, in which the firstborn son of the king and queen will inherit the throne. However, Tilly revealed that Enchancia has no such sexist law because it's basically paradise and that the only reason King Roland inherited the throne instead of her is that she relinquished it to him because she wanted to be an adventurer instead of a queen. Therefore, Princess Amber, being seven minutes older than her twin brother, would be the one to rule Enchancia after King Roland steps down.

Even though today's episode wrote off primogeniture as a made-up attempt for Tilly to protect King Roland's feelings, the dissolution of it is actually something that was voted on in the UK in 2011 to apply to the real-life royal family. The change to the succession law was unanimously approved at a summit in Australia by the leaders of 16 Commonwealth countries. It goes without saying that this is a huge step for feminism. Boys and girls of royal birth will now have an equal chance of becoming monarchs. It also shows how far princess culture has spread. Princesses are more popular than ever, and now they share equal rights with princes. The first real-life princess affected by this amendment is Kate Middleton's daughter, Princess Charlotte. If her baby brother had been born before 2011, she would have bumped off from her place in line for the throne, but instead, she has made history as the first princess to keep her spot in line for the throne after the birth of a male heir.

In the episode "A Royal Wedding," James does not take very well to the news that his sister will take over the kingdom instead of him. Amber handles his attempts to sabotage her with grace and dignity, showing how much she's grown as a character since the show began in 2012. In the end, James decides he'd rather be a knight than a king anyway, especially after proving that he lacks the necessary maturity to rule, and the two accept their stations in life. I thought it was very interesting that even though the show takes place in a fantasy world that's very different from our own, they chose to incorporate some actual laws about royal lineage. Clearly, Disney is just as excited about the additional rights for princesses as the rest of us are. I'm looking forward to seeing what other creative concepts they will incorporate into the rest of this week's new episodes.

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