Leia is the first true protagonist we meet in Star Wars and we learn early on that she is a princess.
We later discover through backstory that she was Luke Skywalker’s twin sister and Darth Vader’s daughter. So how did she end up as a princess?
To find out how Leia became a princess, we must travel back to 19 BBY, where an infant Leia made a cameo appearance in Revenge of the Sith.
Senator Bail Organa and his wife, Queen of the planet Alderaan, adopted Leia. This made her a princess by adoption.
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Is Leia a Princess?
We first met Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the movie, we knew Leia as a princess from the planet Alderaan. As the Star Wars franchise evolved, so did Leia’s backstory.
We later found out she was not the biological daughter of Viceroy Bail and Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan. Instead, Leia was Darth Vader’s biological daughter, who was revealed in The Empire Strikes Back as the fallen Jedi Knight, Anakin Skywalker.
In Revenge of the Sith, we get the true paper trail as to how Leia Organa ended up with Senator Bail and Queen Breha Organa. Leia’s mother, Padmè Amidala, was pregnant with her during the Revenge of the Sith’s events.
Padmè was close with Bail, as they served on the Galactic Senate together. Unfortunately, Padmè died after Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side, but not before giving birth to Luke and Leia.
Following Padmè’s death and Anakin’s fall, Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda met with Bail Organa. They agreed to split the twins up, since their primary goal was to conceal their Force-sensitivity from the Empire.
Why Is Leia a Princess and Luke Not a Prince?
Since Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Organa thought it was best for Luke and Leia to grow up apart from one another, Organa decided to take Leia.
He and Queen Breha always wanted a daughter, and he assured the Jedi Masters that they would care for her as if she were their own.
Obi-Wan then asked what should be done with Luke. Yoda replied that he needed to go Tatooine to live with his step-uncle and aunt Owen and Beru Lars.
Luke would grow up on Tatooine and work on the moisture farm until he came across the droids C-3PO and R2-D2.
After Yoda told Obi-Wan to take Luke to Tatooine, Kenobi replied that he would watch over him. Before Obi-Wan and Organa left the meeting, Yoda stated they would all disappear until the time was right.
This is what ultimately set forth Luke’s next 19 years. With an exiled Kenobi watching over him on Tatooine, Luke was never meant to be a prince.
When R2-D2 played the message from Leia Organa, attempting to recruit Kenobi to the Rebellion’s cause, the former Jedi Master (known to locals as Ben Kenobi) agreed to end his exile.
Was Princess Leia In A Royal Family?
Princess Leia, ironically, was the daughter of a former queen. However, her adopted mother was also a queen, which made her royalty.
However, she was also the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa, and she ended up replacing him as Alderaan’s senator.
Some fans incidentally referred to Leia’s status as princess because she was Padmè Amidala’s biological daughter. She was not part of a royal family because she was Padmè’s daughter. Instead, Leia was adopted into royalty.
Does Darth Vader Know Leia Is His Daughter?
When Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, he knew Padmè was pregnant. However, he did not know that she would have twins. He also didn’t know she had given birth.
When Padmè went into labor, Vader had already lost his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi and was on the verge of death. While Vader underwent the painful process that ultimately put him into his black armored suit, Padmè gave birth and died shortly after.
Vader Discovers Luke
Upon asking Darth Sidious whether Padmè was alive, Sidious stated his anger had killed her.
Since Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi decided to put Luke and Leia into hiding, Vader did not know of their existence until he discovered Luke was his son, courtesy of Darth Sidious.
During Vader’s meeting with the Emperor, Sidious informed Vader that there was a “great disturbance in the Force,” something that Vader also felt.
Sidious postulated that Luke was Anakin Skywalker’s son, to which Vader proposed to Sidious that Luke should join the dark side.
While Vader confronted his son in Cloud City, he still did not know about Leia. Luke didn’t even know Leia was his sister until he conversed with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Force ghost in Return of the Jedi.
Vader Discovers The Twin
Obi-Wan told Luke that he needed to confront Darth Vader, which occurred at the Battle of Endor.
During the climactic lightsaber duel, Vader read Luke’s thoughts through the Force. This led him to conclude that he had a daughter, although he did not yet know it was Leia.
However, Vader threatened to turn Luke’s twin to the dark side. This motivated Luke to defeat, but not kill, Vader in their duel.
Luke’s refusal to kill Vader brought the latter back to the light side, and led to Darth Sidious’ first death.
Despite Vader knowing Luke had a twin, he never referred to her by name in Return of the Jedi. Whether he guessed it was Leia or not is unconfirmed.