In the movie Shrek the Third (where as usual for the franchise the traditional roles in folktales are subverted), Prince Charming appears as the main antagonist. Charming in a position of power reminds me of Suetonius's account of emperor Nero: vain, theatrical, erratic and murderous, had mommy issues etc. Nero also loved to perform so much that he threatened his subjects into attending his performances:

"While he was singing no one was allowed to leave the theatre even for the most urgent reasons. And so it is said that some women gave birth to children there, while many who were worn out with listening and applauding, secretly leaped from the wall, since the gates at the entrance were closed, or feigned death and were carried out as if for burial." ~Suetonius, life of Nero

So I am curious now who was the inspiration for the character of Charming as the tyrannical ruler of the Kingdom of Far-Far Away? Was it emperor Nero or he was based on someone more recent?

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Prince Charming does not appear to be based off any real person

Given that Shrek conglomerates fairy tale characters, it is not surprising that Prince Charming is based off Prince Charming from a series of fairy tales. He is most likely best known as the prince from Disneys Cinderella series, though variations of many fairy tales feature Prince Charming as "the good guy that saves the princess".

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There does not appear to be any evidence that his characterisation was based on any real person, in the Shrek series. Given that ogres are usually depicted as the cruel bad guy, and yet Shrek depicts an ogre as a kind-hearted good guy; it is not surprising that Prince Charming, often depicted as a kind-hearted good guy, is instead depicted as a cruel bad guy.

Wikipedia has a more in-depth analysis of Prince Charming in previous works of fiction, including a history of how the generic hero in contemporary fairy tales evolved into "Prince Charming".

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  • 3
    you sure about that mate? – Möoz Jul 12 '17 at 7:51
  • My question is less about him being tyrannical & cruel and more about the unique way he does it, that is, about his theatrical mishaps. That seems awfully specific. – user68762 Jul 12 '17 at 9:28
  • @Möoz, haha. Who is that? My minds drawing a blank. – Gnemlock Jul 12 '17 at 9:29
  • 2
    @Gnemlock thats j'aime my sister Lannister from GoT – user68762 Jul 12 '17 at 10:17

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