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A princess lointaine or princesse lointaine, (in French, "distant princess") is a stock character from medieval romances. The romantic interest of many knights errant, she was usually a woman of much higher birth, often far distant from the knight, and usually wealthier than he was, beautiful, and of admirable character. Some knights had, indeed, fallen in love with the princess owing to hearing descriptions of her, without seeing her, as tales said Jaufré Rudel had fallen in love with Hodierna of Tripoli.
The term has been used subsequently to refer to women whose chief characteristic as love interests has been their unattainability.
In the analysis of Courtly Love: "at times, the lady could be a princesse lointaine, a far-away princess, and some tales told of men who had fallen in love with women whom they had never seen, merely on hearing their perfection described, but normally she was not so distant. As the etiquette of courtly love became more complicated, the knight might wear the colors of his lady: where blue or black were sometimes the colors of faithfulness, green could be a sign of unfaithfulness. Salvation, previously found in the hands of the priesthood, now came from the hands of one's lady".
Examples In Popular Culture
Sara Connor in the film The Terminator is one modern day interpretation, while the character Kyle Reese is akin to a Knight-errant. The film is illustrative of how a princesse lointaine would be regarded according to core precepts which run central to the medieval doctrine of chivalry; as exercised through courtly love; as displayed by the quality of Domnei: self-sacrificial deeds performed pursuant towards the duty to and upholding the honor of a Lady, worshiping her image, remaining chaste, and revering her as sacred legend.
- Little Red-Haired Girl in Peanuts
- Maid Marian in some versions of the Robin Hood story
- Dulcinea del Toboso from Don Quixote
- Beatrice Portinari from Divina Commedia
- Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby
- Emmo from Slave of the Huns
- Miranda from The Collector
- The woman in Panama in Cup of Gold
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