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Duchess Rowena is the main antagonist in Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses. She’s the cousin of King Randolph and she wants to take over his kingdom.


Duchess Rowena seemed to desire more than what she already had and wanted to become queen. She also had a manservant named Desmond and a pet monkey named Brutus.

Rowena's hopes of becoming queen soon came; her cousin, King Randolph, believed that his daughters needed to become proper princesses, so he asked her to come to teach his daughters etiquette. When she met them, she had low opinions of them since they didn't seem like proper ladies and immediately put them through a lot of training; she made them wear grey, dreary dresses, attempted to teach them in using fans (while criticizing them when they didn't do it right), took away their individual belongings and imposed a strict eight o'clock bedtime for them. Meanwhile, she began buying poison from an apothecary called Mr. Fabian and put it in tea that she served for Randolph. When his daughter Genevieve attempted to tell Randolph about what Rowena was doing, Rowena came in and made Randolph think that she was trying help his daughters (to Genevieve's distress).

The next morning, Rowena scolded the girls for being late. When Genevieve attempted to state that they were celebrating their sisters' birthday, Rowena stated that that was no excuse and refused to allow them to celebrate anything until they learned to be proper princesses (while also ignoring the fact that it was a tradition their Mother created, since she had passed away).

The next day, Rowena found some of the girls half-asleep. Although she attempted to question this, she was interrupted when Mr. Fabian came to give her more of the poison (for which she paid him with a silver goblet that was own by Queen Isabella, the girl's late Mother and Randolph's late wife). Soon enough, Brutus showed her that the dancing shoes belonging to one of the princesses were worn through. This convinced Rowena that the princesses had been out dancing with princes that they would soon marry, which made her fret over the fact that her plans would be ruined. She soon heard singing coming from Randolph's room, which was the girls trying to make him better. After ordering the girls to leave, she became annoyed at Genevieve's suggestion to get the royal doctor to take a look at Randolph (which he agreed to). When the doctor advised Randolph to take an elixir to make him better, Rowena offered to do the job but instead emptied it into a flowerpot.

Still thinking the girls were sneaking out at night, Rowena had Desmond guard over the princesses' room. However, they were again still half-asleep the next day. Questioning the girls, they told her they danced in the pavilion which she refused to believe when Kathleen (one of the girls) told her they got to it through a "magic boat" and a "magic gateway". Accusing the girls of lying to her, she subjected them to housework to try and get the truth out of them. While tending to Randolph, she claimed the girls were burdens to him (although he told her that he loves them) and tried to further question them. Still accusing them of lying to her, she ordered them to continue their housework the next day and locked their bedroom door. However, she was surprised to find the girls not in their room the next morning.

After Brutus convinced her to come with him to the princesses' room, she became annoyed when he appeared to think she didn't know the girls were missing and was about to leave when one of the flowers on the floor lit up and he showed her the pavilion they had been going to. Realizing the girls were telling the truth, she found some magical flowers and got Brutus to get her some. She soon left the pavilion and ordered Desmond to destroy the entrance to forever trap the girls, while telling Randolph the girls had run away. This led him to temporarily make Rowena queen under his approval. She also hired a platoon of guards to protect her while ordering them to imprison the princesses on the off-chance the guards found them (having also told them the girls had abandoned Randolph).

Unknown to Rowena, the girls had escaped the magic pavilion and taken out her guards and Desmond. After she supposedly killed Randolph, she was shocked when Genevieve and her boyfriend Derrick came in. She tried to use the magical flowers to wish "for armor to protect the queen" which caused two suits of armor in the room to come to life and attack Genevieve and Derek. After the two defeated them, Desmond burst in with Lacey as a hostage. This led Rowena to wish Genevieve would keep dancing forever, only for Genevieve, with help of a fan, to send the golden pollen back to Rowena. Rowena then started to dance and could not stop herself. When Desmond tried to help her, he too became affected as soon as he touched her. They left the kingdom cursed to dance together forever, with Brutus in pursuit.

Physical Appearance[]

Rowena has gray hair and light blue eyes. She wears a lot of jewelry, and all of them are made of a cold, blue-green stone. Her 18th-century dress is also in light blue color and has a very big skirt.


Rowena was very cruel to the girls; she banned everything they hold dearly to during their nobility training (especially their dancing), constantly mis-named the girls (for which she didn't apologize when they corrected her) and told them off for supposedly talking back at her. Even Desmond and Brutus (who were forever loyal to her) were subjected to this treatment (she never thanked them for their servitude to her and chastised them for their apparent incompetence). She also proved herself as manipulative, having convinced Randolph that she wanted to help his daughters become proper princesses and to help rule over the kingdom in his absence.


  • (To Genevieve) "Why not get what you always wanted. I wish you would dance forever, and ever and ever!"
  • "And it looks like I have my work cut out for me."
  • (To the princesses) "Tomorrow, you'll clean the stables, as for tonight, I'm locking you in. Nobody's going out dancing. I promise you that!" (Delia: "Papa would never lock us in!") "Your father is sick, and who could blame him, taking care all of you with your wild ways, if you really want your father to get better, you leave him alone!"
  • "Things are going to be a bit different around here now, starting with your attire."


  • A running gag in the film shows that Rowena almost always gets the princesses' names wrong (e.g. calling Fallon "Blair"). The only princess that Rowena gets the name right is Genevieve.
  • It was implied that she wanted (and needed) to rule her cousin's kingdom because she was struggling financially:
    • She had a carriage that was in shambles.
    • Fabian said that she never paid her bills.
    • She stole items from other people in order to buy what she wanted.
  • According to the summary on the back cover of the junior novelization she was originally intended to be the princess's aunt.
Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses
Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses Classic Cover

Quote: "There's a difference only you can make."

Media: Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses

Characters: Brutus | Desmond | Duchess Rowena | Felix | King Randolph | Prince Derek | Princess Ashlyn | Princess Blair | Princess Courtney | Princess Delia | Princess Edeline | Princess Fallon | Princess Genevieve | Princess Hadley | Princess Isla | Princess Janessa | Princess Kathleen | Princess Lacey | Queen Isabella | Twyla

Locations: King Randolph's Castle | Magical World

Songs: "Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses Theme" | "Birthday Song" | "Derek's Tune" | "Sacerdotes Domini" | "Shine"