- "After the tradition of her people, House Martell then ruled Dorne as princes, not kings."
- ―Oberyn Martell
Prince of Dorne (feminine equivalent being Princess of Dorne) is a title in the Seven Kingdoms for the ruler of the administrative region of Dorne under the authority of the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men. It was previously a title used for the ruler of the Principality of Dorne. Prince Doran Martell, was killed along with his heir, Prince Trystane Martell. It is unclear whether Ellaria Sand ever assumed the title Princess of Dorne after her coup, although since her imprisonment in King's Landing by Queen Cersei Lannister, an unnamed prince of Martell heritage has assumed the title.
While the title "Prince" in other parts of the Seven Kingdoms is typically used to indicate the heir to the throne, Dorne has Ruling Princes (or Ruling Princesses). This is a holdover from centuries ago when the Rhoynar ruled city-states along the Rhoyne River in Essos. Dorne had a Ruling Prince when it was an independent kingdom, and only unified with the Targaryen realm one century ago - not through conquest but through marriage-alliance. As a result of this voluntary union, the Iron Throne allowed the Martell rulers of Dorne to continue to style themselves as "Princes" even though they are no longer the absolute sovereign.
When Dorne finally joined with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms through a marriage alliance, the Iron Throne allowed the Martells to retain the title along with their laws. As with most Dornish titles, succession to the title is granted to the eldest surviving heir regardless of gender.
After Dorne unified with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, there is apparently no functional difference between a "Prince of Dorne" and a "Lord Paramount" that rules another region, but the title "Prince" is still considered to be more prestigious.
The offspring and siblings of the Prince of Dorne also hold the title of Prince or Princess.
- There is apparently no distinction between the "Prince of Dorne" - the head of House Martell who rules Dorne - and other "Princes of Dorne" who are younger brothers of the current ruler, such as between Doran Martell and his younger brother Oberyn. Game of Thrones Wiki has been conjecturally using the title "Ruling Prince" of Dorne to refer to actual rulers such as Doran, but it isn't clear if this is a term they would actually use. Theoretically, every male member of House Martell for the past one thousand years has been called a "Prince", and every female member has been called a "Princess". This, of course, only applies to legitimate members of the family who bore the name "Martell" - acknowledged bastards do not get called a "Prince" or "Princess". As a result Oberyn Martell's eight bastard daughters, known as the "Sand Snakes", do not carry the title "Princess".
List of ruling Princes and Princesses of Dorne
- ~1000 years ago: Mors Martell and Nymeria
- A daughter of Mors and Nymeria
- ~1 AC: Meria Martell, ruling Princess during the War of Conquest
- ?–? AC: Nymor Martell, son of Meria
Princes and princesses under the Iron Throne
- ~200 AC: Maron Martell, ruling Prince during the reign of Daeron II Targaryen
- ?–303 AC: Doran Martell
Vacant 303–305 AC: Ellaria Sand rules Dorne 303–304 AC without using the title of Princess.