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 midquel Bambi II. He is the widower of Bambi's unnamed mother.
Little is known about the Great Prince's early life except that as a fawn he went to a glade in the forest and met a young doe who would grow up to be Bambi's mother.
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 him and really does care greatly about him.
Though he has an intimidating appearance, the Great Prince has a soft heart, as 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 mate 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, to whom he explains 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 wildfire 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 watching Faline and their newborn twin fawns Geno and Gurri. The father and son share a glance, and the Great Prince turns and proudly walks away, leaving his son to be become the new Prince of the Forest.
The midquel 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 afterward 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, yet outraged that he fell for the trick and scolds him for it. 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.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 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.
- In the film, whenever the Great Prince speaks, we never see him actually speak. Either another character is the focus of the shot where he is speaking (usually Bambi) or his back is turned away from the camera.
- The Great Prince of the Forest is the only character whose voice actor in the midquel lived during the release of the first film.
- The Great Prince's age had been stated by his mate to be one of the oldest white-tailed deers living. He has been living longer than other deer over half of the years, possibly reaching over 7 years.
- 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.
- In the original book, he was named "The Old Prince".
- In nature, deer shed their antlers during winter. Strangely, the Great Prince doesn't.
- The episodes "The Emerald Key", "Holiday in Enchancia", "The Secret Library: Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle" and "Beauty is the Beast" of the show Sofia the First, features a deer among the animals in the woods that greatly resembles the Great Prince.