Name Meaning: “New”
Domain: Maldonia (1920’s)
Premiered in: The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Voiced By: Bruno Campos
Prince Naveen of Maldonia is unlike any prince that has come before him insomuch that he is everything that the so-called stereotypical Disney Prince of the Golden Age is not. He’s laidback, vain, flirts with anything that can remotely be called female, and is about as irresponsible as they come. Despite this, Naveen is not a stereotypical “spoiled brat” of a prince like Kuzco. He’s optimistic, charismatic, and is actually quite the romantic. He even professes to Tiana that his pride in himself comes mostly from his own doubt at his worth as he doesn’t truly know how to do anything by himself having been served for most of his life. Heck, he had a tough time just figuring out how to cut some vegetables.
What’s rather ironic about Naveen is that whereas the curse of becoming a frog was intentional in the original story, the spell was more of a means of getting Naveen out of the way while Doctor Facilier and Naveen’s valet Lawrence make a plan to get the money of Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouf. Basically, Naveen was more of a means to an end and while it is his own fault for having trusted an admittedly charismatic witch doctor, he still fell for a trap of his own design. He even makes the situation worse by trying to break the spell with Tiana kissing him, believing her to be a princess and inadvertently spreading the curse to her as a result. While I can’t fault him for believing Tiana was an actual princess, she was rather gorgeous in her costume, but wouldn’t he have heard word of another visiting monarch to America or even aware that, at the time, America didn’t have any royals living in it?
Though Naveen and Louis the alligator got on the most, particularly with their mutually amazing musical talents, I feel that Ray the firefly was the closer companion to the young prince. Disregarding the tragic end to Ray’s tale lest I break into tears once more, Ray was the one to help push Naveen along into discovering his feelings for Tiana and taking the chance to ask her for something more even if it meant spending the rest of his life as a frog. He and Tiana even went so far as to be wedded by Mama Odie and, in an incredibly ironic twist, broke the spell as he had, at last, kissed an honest to goodness princess.
Naveen’s homeland of Maldonia is never explored beyond mere words and speculation but even so it sounds like an interesting place to visit. Its language, called Maldaquesh, is derived from Italian and given Naveen’s appearance and proficiency in French alongside Italian and English, is likely within spitting distance of Monaco. The kingdom is apparently well off enough to afford Naveen having servants attend to his every whim for most of his life but not enough to support his constant partying. In point of fact, his partying got to such a point that his parents effectively cut him off from the royal treasury, and even the throne, and gave him one option to prove himself.
He had to get a job.
Of course, Naveen saw fit to add the unmentioned second option of marrying a rich girl but that’s beside the point.
On a completed related side-note, there’s apparently two extra numbers between twenty-eight and twenty-nine in Maldaquesh, those being twenty-badini and twenty-caldonza.
Naveen’s relationship with Tiana was an incredible breath of fresh air amongst the Disney Royals. Tiana did not immediately fall in love with Naveen and his irresponsible behavior, and the prince himself could barely tolerate Tiana’s sensibility. Their romance, while a bit fast to my liking whence compared to the likes of Belle and Beast but no less than Ariel and Eric, progressed through the sensible stages with both of them realizing that there was more to each other than first glances allowed. In the end, Naveen did follow his parents’ doctrine as well as his own. He got himself a job as head waiter at Tiana’s Palace and married a girl who might not have been rich with money but certainly worth her weight in gold with sheer tenacity.