Florinice (also known as Romelia in some translations) is the main antagonist of the French fairy tale Princess Leonice by Madame d'Auneuil.
Florinice is a beautiful young woman, presumably slightly older than the prince she was set to marry. She rules over a tributary province of the king whom she serves. Despite her beauty, she is cruel, arrogant, imperious, and callous. Florinice is implied to be a dictatorial ruler, and her subjects despise her for her cruelty.
Florinice is the older sister of Leonice, who is even more beautiful than she is. Leonice is very kind and compassionate, and she is as loved by her people as Florinice is hated. Florinice hates Leonice and is jealous of her. Florinice has authority over her younger sister since their parents are deceased.
She is also manipulative and is able to turn the king against his son when she marries him.
Role in the story
A widowed king wants to marry his son as early as possible, so he selects Florinice to be the prince's bride. The prince takes an instant dislike to Florinice and refuses to wed her. One day, he sees Florinice's sister Leonice while she is hunting with her maidens. The two of them meet and fall in love.
Florinice has a closet adjoining the one in her sister's apartment, and she uses it to spy on Leonice and the prince. She overhears the prince telling Leonice that he hates her sister. This conversation enrages Florinice, who feigns illness and calls her sister in to see her and talks to her about the prince. The next day the prince pays a visit to her, where he confesses his love for Leonice. Florinice swears revenge on the prince.
Leonice flees the palace and enters the Temple of the Vestals, where she decides to spend the rest of her life. The prince goes to his father, begging him to let Leonice go so he can marry her. The king then threatens to deprive his son of the crown.
Florinice decides that she will marry the king instead, and is successful in convincing him to marry her so he can have a new child to replace his rebellious son. Thus Florinice becomes the prince's new stepmother and immediately abuses her power as queen to persecute her stepson and her sister. Florinice tries to force her sister to go back to the palace. Leonice is brought back to the palace, where Florinice pretends to care for her. However, Florinice actually brought Leonice back so she could put her to death, and she orders her guard Ligdamon to kill Leonice. At night, Ligdamon and his myrmidons kidnap Leonice and bring her to a dungeon. The prince appears and fights the myrmidons, killing Ligdamon, and rescues Leonice. Leonice's screams wake up the rest of the palace and the murder is foiled.
The prince tells his father that Florinice had orchestrated the whole thing, but the king refuses to believe him. Florinice then seeks the aid of a wicked fairy, who kidnaps Leonice and imprisons her in a castle. The prince goes on a quest to find her, but when he arrives at the castle, he finds Florinice. The angry prince demands to know where Leonice is, but Florinice tells her that she is not in her power. The prince runs away from the castle. Florinice chases him, but while pursuing him, she falls into a cavern, where she dies.
The prince later rescues Leonice, and finds out that his father had also died. He and Leonice are brought back to the palace, where they marry and become the new king and queen.
Read Princess Leonice here (text is in French)