Over the years Disney has gotten a lot of grief for its "inaccurate even for a cartoon" interpretations of historical heroes like Mulan and Pocahontas and Lilo. And it's all just so unnecessary; history is full of royal women who kicked all kinds of ass.
Although some of these stories would have to be toned down a bit ...
#5. Isabella, the She-Wolf of France
If you've seen Braveheart, you know this lady. It was her:
One hair-reduction treatment away from a gold bikini.
She was the French princess under the evil king and she, in the world according to Mel Gibson, had sex with ... you guessed it, Mel Gibson. But, in the real world, William Wallace was not only too damn dead to have fathered a kid with the woman, but Princess Isabella was so damn deadly that she eventually earned the nickname "She-Wolf of France" for all the new assholes she tore England.
Isabella began her life as a wealthy French princess, betrothed at the age of 12 to her very gay husband, Edward. And for a while there, Isabella played along as nicely as one could expect for the tween wife of a homosexual guy, even making an alliance with her husband's boyfriend. It wasn't until Edward got a new boyfriend that the shit hit the fan.
Caption writers in the 14th century had a much tougher job.
It started when Edward, Isabella and their entourages were mucking around after a failed battle in Scotland, and Edward decided to split. With his army. While the Scottish army was heading in her direction. Before you knew it, Isabella was surrounded by hostile forces and it took a couple of her knights stealing boats to get her out of the jam. So, that was bad.
And then, on her return home she found Edward had confiscated her lands, taken over her house, put her staff in jail and given custody of her children to her political enemies.
To be fair, her children were tiny-headed monsters.
Isabella went to France to regroup. And by "regroup" we mean raise a navy and an army and nab her own boyfriend, because why should Edward have all the fun? In 1326, Isa-rebella and her army sneaked over to England, where they were joined by multiple factions who were also pissed at Edward and his boyfriend, Hugh. Edward and Hugh saw the jig was up, so they fled. Within weeks they were both arrested and brought back to Isabella.
"This ... is probably about the lack of sex, right?"
What happened next is up for debate. Hugh's dad, who was Edward's adviser and Isabella's main political enemy, was captured and sentenced to be dragged by a horse, hanged and decapitated. And he was the lucky one. Hugh himself was also dragged by a horse, hanged until mostly dead, disemboweled and then decapitated. His body parts were cut up and sent to towns all over England and his head was displayed on the London Bridge.
We bet a lot more people would vote if shit like this happened in American politics.
Edward's disposal was a little more tricky. After all, he still had supporters, and Isabella's grip on the throne was pretty shaky. So she just locked him away. And then he "died." "Accidentally." A generation after Edward's death, an English historian named Geoffrey le Baker claimed the king was definitely murdered. Big deal, right? Lots of kings have been murdered. Not this way, though. According to Baker, who allegedly got the story from Edward's murderers, the king was stabbed with a red hot poker. In the rectum.
The really cool stories never make it into the illuminated manuscripts.
Maybe this isn't the best story for Disney treatment after all.
#4. Touch Princess Chiomara, Lose Your Head
Back in the days when Rome was conquering everything, they came across a tribe of people who were next in line to be conquered. The Romans captured a particularly beautiful tribal woman named Chiomara, who by the way was the wife of the chief.
At this point, a Roman centurion proceeded to violate her. You know what we mean when we say "violate," right? Of course you do, you're not stupid.
Rape was only the third favorite thing for a Roman to do after mass murder and sex with 12-year-old boys.
Even in the ancient world rape was a pretty shameful affair, so her assailant tried to ease his guilt with a deal. He offered to send her home if somebody paid him a gold ransom, which is kind of like Jaws demanding Amity Island to pay it for the privilege of chomping down on residents.
Here's the scene: The tribe agrees to pay the gold. Chiomara's captor brings her to the designated drop-off to get his ransom from her tribesmen. While counting the gold, the chief's wife gives a little nod, or, according to one historian, gives a little chit chat in her native language. Whatever she did, it translated into "Cut his fucking head off" to her rescuers. And they did it.
That casual attitude to decapitation explains why these litter our museums.
So, at this point, you'd think poor Chio's had enough. That she's been through some 'Nam style war trauma and she's probably ready to get back to her home and family and forget about the whole thing. But you'd be wrong. Head wrong.
That's because she picks up the bloody head of her Roman rapist and carries it in her dress all the way home. And upon seeing her husband, she throws the noggin at his feet like some kind of rapper dropping his mike, declaring, "Only one man who has lain with me shall remain alive."
That's the sound of thousands of men desperately trying to recall all their ex-girlfriends.
Then they presumably had sex.
#3. Rani Lakshmi Bai Brings Her Toddler to War
Rani Lakshmi Bai had two things in common with most Disney princesses: a dead mother and spunk. Lakshmi Bai was born in India in 1835, and her dad worked for a prime minister, so she was raised in a royal setting. But unlike most princess types, Lakshmi Bai wasn't content to just learn needlework and curtsy etiquette. Instead, she spent her youth studying swordsmanship, archery and how to use guns, and also how to find the tightest yellow jumpsuits. Clearly this is all going to come into play later.
Oh yeah, this is definitely a Rufus Wainwright moment.
Lakshmi Bai was married to her Prince Charming at age 12 (again -- yeah, it was a different time) and they adopted a son. But then her husband the raja died soon after. At this point a guy named Lord Jackass cited the Doctrine of Lapse as justification for seizing the rani's lands. According to the British government (who was occupying India at the time), the princess and her son weren't of royal blood, so the throne was empty.
Also a mistake was riding a toy pony and brandishing a pipe cleaner.
While emotionally recovering from the trauma of losing a husband while also still being a child herself, Rani Lakshmi Bai said "Fuck it" and became a freedom fighter. Her first move was to recruit an army that allowed lady soldiers. Next up, fighting the British! She took her role so seriously that she reportedly went into battle with her adopted son strapped to her back, presumably to drop him off at soccer practice after each fight.
Weirdly, he never got put in reserve.
Rani Lakshmi Bai, "the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders," was eventually killed during the Battle of Gwalior. According to a British report of the battle, she died "firing at the man" who had shot her in the back ... hopefully while Raja Jr. was at the babysitter's.