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In Beauty and the Beast (1994 Disney version) we can deduce the age of Prince Adam (the Beast) when he was first transformed, to be 11. This is from two things:

  1. "The rose, which was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his 21st year" ~Narrator
  2. "Ten years we've been rusting..." ~ Lumiere

So we could conclude that Prince Adam was only 11, alone in the castle when the disguised enchantress came a-knocking ... but is this really his age?

enter image description here

He certainly looks older than 11 here, though it's not easy to tell. Is Lumiere exaggerating when he says 10 years? Was his ageing delayed (it says '21 years' not 'birthdays' or 'until he turned 21')? Is there any allusion to an answer from other tellings of this story (of which there are many...)?

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    Does someone want to explain why the down vote? – AncientSwordRage Mar 27 '12 at 14:28
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    Beats me, but +1 from me; it's something I wondered about years ago when I saw the movie. – K-H-W Mar 27 '12 at 14:35
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    It's a good question. I can recall wondering how it was that a boy of 11 was allowed to make decisions on how to run the castle. Where were his parents? – Kyralessa Mar 29 '12 at 3:03
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    HAH. I read the Q and thought this was about He-Man until I saw the tags. – Thom Brannan Apr 22 '13 at 14:21
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    Who even made that stained glass, and then just left an 11 year old to deal with the problem by himself? Disney universes are full of assholes. – Kevin Oct 22 '14 at 7:47
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I think it's entirely possible that he could have been 11, notwithstanding the Disney slip in making him seem much older in the stained-glass-window-intro. Remember, he wasn't alone in the castle - all the servants were there too (as they got transformed with the curse as well). And in those days in France, his mother and father may well have been at the King's court in Paris (or wherever it was in those days), leaving the young prince with a governess and servants to look after him.

The question then, I guess, is why does the prince answer the door in the middle of the night and not the butler?

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    I think the bigger question is why would an enchantress punish an 11 year old for being rude? – OghmaOsiris Jun 26 '12 at 6:47
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    She was clearly in a bad mood from the rainstorm. Or just plain evil. Which makes you wonder: Why did she bother creating a get-out clause for Beast at all? – Nick Shaw Jun 26 '12 at 9:07
  • @NickShaw tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CurseEscapeClause Warning, TVTropes link – Eureka Apr 22 '13 at 11:51
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    @OghmaOsiris I think the biggest question is, why would an enchantress punish a castle full of people because an 11-year old was rude to her? That enchantress is a major dick – jono May 7 '13 at 18:16
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    @jono I imagine it was probably for the same reason Maleficent cursed Aurora. Or maybe it was actually Maleficent. She seems to have thin skin when it comes to hospitality. – lea Oct 4 '14 at 11:54
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This is a fantastic question I've often pondered myself. And it's not just the two points we can use to deduce his age, there is also the shredded human portrait of him in the west wing that Belle sees. It's this portrait (specifically his eyes) that helps her truly recognize him after the transformation at the end. In this portrait the prince is certainly not 11...in fact it seems as if he hasn't aged a day from the time the portrait was painted to the day he becomes human again.

Also, Chip is very young...maybe 5 years old. Chip's age begs the question: was he born as a cup or was he 5ish when the curse was cast in the first place? Perhaps time stopped moving inside the castle even while time kept moving for the outside world?

There is one more question that haunts me, if its only been 10 years why has the village completely forgotten the Prince that lived near by. Surely the royal family there collected taxes or homage or something...right?

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    How exactly would the Beast collect taxes? His tax collectors are probably pens in his office, and it's not like he can go do it himself >.> Maybe they assume the young prince died and they're now free. – Yamikuronue Nov 14 '12 at 14:24
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    Hmm, fair enough. Even still, the adults of the village should remember the castle, but it seems as if instead of it being ten years vacant its more like the people never knew it existed at all. Perhaps that's part of the curse also? To show the prince that he was not only incapable of love himself but that he wasn't loved by others either, to show him how quickly he would be completely forgotten. – Alyxana Nov 14 '12 at 15:58
  • My take is time did indeed stop for those cursed. I always took it the curse would last for 21 years, but the prince and staff didn't age in that time. The prince was already a young man, Chip was already 5 (or whatever). The "10 years" line is harder to reconcile, but may have been a flippant rounding of time. – Michael Itzoe Apr 23 '13 at 22:01
  • Could be that it was just their summer home in the countryside... – Zibbobz Oct 22 '14 at 13:53
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I recently watched "Enchanted Christmas" and can totally see by Adam's body language and speech pattern that he probably was 11 on that fateful Christmas Eve.

If you are looking at the stained glass in order to discern the prince's true age, you are looking in the wrong place. Depictions of people in stained glass are typically more symbolic rather than literal about a person's status. Besides, the attire worn by the prince in the stained glass seems to be more reflective of Medieval times rather than 18th century France (when the events of the film take place). I think the likeness of the prince, seen in the stained glass, is more of a symbol of his societal standing (although, for obvious reasons, we can speculate that the prince is loosely referred to as a prince and is not of royal blood; he is more likely the son of a lord or other governing noble) than of his actual appearance.

If you are looking to the likeness of the prince in his torn portrait, I do see cause for confusion because he looks to be nearly the same age in the portrait as he does when he becomes human again (but maybe also slightly younger. Let's say . . . um . . . 17). This could possibly be a simple mistake on the portrait artist's part. There are many portraits in which the sitter is portrayed noticeably older (sometimes younger) than they actually are when the portrait is painted. This may be because the prince wished it (which would give him even more reason for ripping it; he thought he would never be able to live up to the expectations he created for himself when he ordered the portraitist to depict him in such a handsome, noble, striking way) or simply because the portraitist was not perfect in his craft and had a hard time depicting age.

If you are also trying to figure out Chip's age, it is very possible that he is ten at the end of the story. This means that he was born human just before the spell was cast. This explains why he seems so comfortable being a little teacup and never mentions how much he misses being human, unlike the adult servants. In "Enchanted Christmas" Adam and Belle present Chip with a storybook, much like the one Lumiere presented Adam when he was only a year older than Chip. Maybe Adam sees this as a minor right of passage for Chip. Maybe Adam saw more in Lumiere's gift than he let on and this is why he thinks a storybook to be a good present for a pre-teen boy. I think the servants had been trying to calm Adam when he found his parents would be spending yet another Christmas
in Paris instead of home with him. When none of them promised that they would make sure his parents would come home, he became stubborn and refused to show any thanks for the gifts offered to him. He chose to act out as a spoiled brat. However, this is only my opinion; the price's behaviour is up for interpretation.

No matter what age the prince was when he was cursed, the animators did wish him to be 21 at the end of the story. One of the Disney animators described the beast as a normal 21 year old male- unsure of himself, nervous about love, and even with a hint of childish innocence- trapped in a hideous, formidable form.

P.S. I know this makes no difference as to the answer to this posted question, but 'Beauty and the Beast was not released in 1994 (unless you are thinking of the Broadway play). It was released in 1991, one year before I was born (sorry, just thought I'd add some extra trivia in there). So yes, I am the same age as Prince Adam when he is broken free from his curse.

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Now here's for ya. Lumiere does indeed say 10 years but when he and cogsworth talk about Belle he also states "But the rose has already began to wilt". Already, as in it's been like that. My theory was that he was 14 when the curse happened. If you watch the enchanted Christmas, which is canon by Disney's own words, watching the scene with the flashback of Adam, he was young. Easily a teenager. If he is 14 when the curse happened the rose has been wilting for 3 years because it bloomed till he was 21, 7 years. Watching the film, sure the rose lost petals, but not very quickly, it's slow withing could easily be stretched out beyond what is normal. That's how I see the math and I hope I'm at least ball-parking where it is. I could go as far as 13, leaving a 2 year wilting gap but that's as far as ill stretch it.

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