The Great Prince of the Forest is Bambi's father, the protector of the forest and a supporting character in Bambi and the deuteragonist of its sequel Bambi II. He was voiced by Fred Shields in the first film and by Patrick Stewart in the midquel.
According to the Great Prince, he was much like Bambi when he was just a fawn. As an adult, he is shown to be a highly dignified stag who sometimes treats his son - Bambi - coldly without even realizing it. That aside, he has opened up to his son and really does care greatly about him.
Though he has an intimidating appearance, the Great Prince has a soft heart, seen when he's in the presence of his family. After the death of Bambi's mother, the Great Prince had to appear strong for the sake of his son, but he was depressed by her death, as seen whenever Bambi would mention her.
The Great Prince is first seen looking at his wife and newborn son from a distance. Later, when all of the creatures are enjoying the meadow, the Great Prince enters, causing everyone to become still in reverence. The Great Prince takes a moment to look at Bambi, who then asks his mother who the stag was. Bambi's mother explains that the stag is greatly respected for his bravery and wisdom, as well as for living longer than any other deer in the forest. These reasons are why the stag is known as the Great Prince of the Forest. A few moments after, the Great Prince senses danger and signals for the deer to flee. The Great Prince leads a frightened Bambi to his mother.
After the death of Bambi's mother, the Great Prince finds Bambi and explains to Bambi what happened to her. He calls for Bambi to come along with him, revealing himself to be Bambi's father.
Later, when Bambi is a young adult, Man returns to the forest. After an incident with Man and his dogs, Bambi is shot. The Great Prince comes to Bambi and orders him to get up. A fire has broken out in the forest, and so the Great Prince leads Bambi to a safe area, where many other creatures, including Bambi's love Faline, are waiting. The next spring, the Great Prince is seen looking on with Bambi, as Bambi is watching Faline and their newborn twin fawns, Geno and Gurri. The Great Prince turns and walks away, so he can go leave Bambi to be "A" Prince of the Forest.
The Great Prince can be spotted during the final scene with the Toons. He is seen peeking his head out of the brick wall along with the other Toons.
The sequel goes in depth into the time period that Bambi spent with his father as a fawn. Though the Great Prince is somewhat reluctant to take on a father role, he takes Bambi to his den after the death of Bambi's mother. He asks Friend Owl to find a doe to be a foster mother to Bambi, but Friend Owl will not be able to find one until springtime, as the harsh winter is making food hard to find.
At one point during the winter, the Great Prince allows Bambi to go with his friends to see the groundhog, who is supposed to foretell the end of winter. Bambi falls asleep afterwards, but awakens to hear his mother call him. When the calls turn out to be one of Man's tricks, the Great Prince rescues Bambi, though he is furious that Bambi fell for the trick. The Great Prince then notes that winter will end soon, and then Bambi will be able to have a new mother.
Later on, the Great Prince witnesses Bambi make a jump over a large chasm, which impresses him. The Great Prince and Bambi begin to bond after Bambi asks the Great Prince about his duties.
One day, when the Great Prince and Bambi are playing, Friend Owl finally brings a doe, Mena, to become Bambi's mother. The Great Prince is shown to regret his decision to pass on his parenting duties, but resolves to do so. Sometime later, the Great Prince arrives to see that Bambi has driven off some of Man's dogs who had been attacking Mena. As the Great Prince goes to Bambi, the cliff that Bambi is on collapses. The Great Prince finds Bambi at the bottom, seemingly dead, and begins to cry. However, Bambi soon awakens much to the joy of the Great Prince.
At the end of the film, the Great Prince takes a now teenage Bambi on a walk through the forest, showing the fawn a glade where the Great Prince and Bambi's mother first met. The Prince then reveals that he himself was much like Bambi as a fawn, to the joy of his son.
- The Great Prince of the Forest is the only character whose voice actor in the midquel lived during the release of the first film.
- Interestingly, the Great Prince of the Forest is the first character that Patrick Stewart finally voiced after previously turning down the roles of several characters. All of which include King Triton, Cogsworth, Jafar, Zazu, Governor Ratcliffe and Zeus.
- The Great Prince is the third protective, loving, funny, but worrying father. The first is Mufasa, the second is Marlin.
- In the original book, The Great Prince was named "The Old Prince".
- In nature, deer shed their antlers during winter. Strangely, The Great Prince doesn't.
- The episode, "The Emerald Key", of the show, Sofia the First, features a deer among the animals in the woods that greatly resembles the Great Prince.
Characters: Bambi | Thumper | Flower | Faline | Geno and Gurri | Friend Owl | Great Prince of the Forest | Bambi's mother | Aunt Ena | Thumper's sisters | Miss Bunny | Bluebelle | Man | Hunter Dogs | Ronno | Ronno's mother | Mrs. Quail | Pheasant | Young Bucks | Possums | Porcupine | Mrs. Hare | Mena