Irulan Corrino, from the Sci-Fi Channel's Dune Miniseries (2000), portrayed by Julie Cox.

Irulan Corrino I

Irulan Corrino I is the eldest daughter of the 81st Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, and the Lady Anirul Sadow-Tonkin Corrino, the most famous Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Superior Proctor of the Hidden Noble Rank. She was also the second wife and concubine, in title only, of the 82nd Padishah Emperor Paul Atreides, and the most important political historian who chronicled the events of the Atreides Empire's rise to the Imperial Golden lion Throne through a series of written works.


As the eldest of Shaddam and Anirul's five daughters, Her Extreme Imperial Highness, the Imperial Crown Princess Irulan Corrino I was born on the planet Kaitain in the Imperial Opal Palace at Corrinth City in the year 10,162 A.G.

When the Imperial Crown Princess only was a young child at the age of four, she has been brought up over by her mother, the recent Padishah Empress Anirul Corrino with a few Bene Gesserit training skills.

And right now by between the eleven and twenty-five, she was trained by her father's second Imperial Court Truthsayer, Reveren Mother Gaius Helen Mohiamm to become the newly crowned Supreme Padishah Goddess-Empress of the Known Universe after her parents' untimely deaths. Her entire training has been to give her the political skills and intellect necessary to be an efficient ruler. She is regal and beautiful, and incredibly literate but still too haughty in a large equal measure.

While being raised among the intrigues and politics of her father's reign over the galaxies under auspicious circumstances in the Imperial Court, she received the finest excellent education through the Bene Gesserit training. Like her four younger sisters Chalice, Wensicia, Josifa, and Rugi, she was conditioned to be made a gorgeous-looking young lady of refinement and elegance suitable to be the eldest daughter of an Padishah Emperor and Empress of the Known Universe.

But as Irulan grew up to be just such, described as willowy of appearance with smooth fair skin, long platinum-blonde hair and bright jade-green eyes, she was also the youngest member of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood just like her mother before her, and she received training from them and instruction to follow their ways.

From an early young age, Irulan's father, Shaddam Corrino IV expected her to become the next ruler of the Corrino Empire after his death, or otherwise at the very least she will be wedded to a political ally and retain the Imperial House Corrino's hegemony over the Imperium. The Bene Gesserit also saw such full potential in the girl, and gave her sufficient training so that they could exploit her at some point in the near-future, where she must be able to find herself in a highest-ranking position of superpower.

However, despite the expectations of others, Irulan remained only an average Bene Gesserit adept, and retained a strong sense of personal identity and ambition: qualities that caused tension between a rebellious daughter like herself and a equally strong-minded despot like her own overprotective father.

But when Her Highness was only eleven years old as a petite little girl, her mother, Anirul died in 10,176 A.G., during the events of the Dune: House Corrino novel, right where she saw her murdered by the Harkonnen [[Mentat] Piter De Vries while trying to save the young Paul Atreides from being kidnapped. This is quite a mystery for the other Bene Gesserit, who regard the na-Duke as a failure in the scheme to create the Kwisatz Haderach. They cannot understand the reason why the Kwisatz Mother takes such a course of action, although it is revealed that the Empress' Other Memory had been deeply concerned on the realization that the Kwisatz Haderach might be born a generation earlier.

The Plot Against House Atreides

At her early teens and her late twenties, Irulan was gradually drawn into the events that were happening on Arrakis as her father orchestrated with House Harkonnen in his plot to destroy Duke Leto Atreides I and House Atreides.

As Leto's power and influence grew in the Landsraad, there was wide speculation that Irulan could be married to his second biological son, the fifteen-year-old young na-Duke Paul Atreides to symbolize Shaddam's selection of House Atreides to peacefully assume the Imperial throne after his death; but the Emperor's jealousy of the "Red Duke" Leto and his hatred for her future son-in-law instead led him to orchestrate a plot to destroy him.

Irulan wrote everything important in her private diary:

"My father, the Padishah Emperor, took me by the hand one day and I sensed in the ways my mother had taught me that he was disturbed. He led me down the Hall of Portraits to the ego-likeness of the Duke Leto Atreides. I marked the strong resemblance between them — my father and this man in the portrait--both with thin, elegant faces and sharp features dominated by cold eyes. ‘Crown Princess-daughter, my father said, I would that you'd been older when it came time for this man to choose a woman.’ My father was 71 years old at the time and looking no older than the man in the portrait, and I was only 14 years old, but yet I remember deducing in that instant that my father secretly wished the Duke had been his son, and disliked the political necessities that made them enemies.” — In My Father's House by the Imperial Crown Princess Irulan Corrino I

In order to get the Harkonnens to assist with this scheme, the Emperor offered to potentially give her up in marriage to the Harkonnen heir apparent, the na-Baron Feyd-Rautha Rabban Harkonnen, along with the riches of the Arrakis fief.

Baron [[Vladimir Harkonnen] favored this arrangement, as he believed such a union and his plans would greatly assist in the establishment of a Harkonnen Empire.

Irulan was so ensnared, and she would oppose being used as such a pawn.

The plot against the Atreides family was executed: lured to Arrakis on the pretense of taking over the valuable melange operation there, the Atreides were soon attacked by Harkonnen forces (secretly supplemented by the seemingly unstoppable Imperial Sardaukar armies).

Leto was betrayed and killed, but Paul and his biological mother, the Duke's Bene Gesserit concubine, Lady Jessica Atreides fled deeply into the deserts and they were said to be presumed dead.

A crisis on Arrakis began when the mysterious Muad'Dib emerged as an effective leader of the native Fremen tribes against the rule of the Harkonnens. He was, of course, a very-much-alive Paul Atreides.

The Downfall of the Corrino Empire

When the mysterious Muad'Dib emerged as an effective leader of the Fremen House Atreides was deposed from Arrakeen rule, Irulan became entangled further with the Bene Gesserit, who sought to use her as a spy against her father.

Irulan in the 1984 movie version.

Later, when Paul Atreides succeeded in conquering the Imperial strongholds on Arrakis, Irulan was with her father in Arrakeen.

She subsequently witnessed Paul's defeat of the Harkonnen na-Baron in an kanly act that effectively destroyed House Harkonnen.

Then, Irulan was made to marry the Fremen leader - much to the concern of Paul's consort, Chani - in order for Paul to legitimise his rule and take away the Golden Lion Throne from Shaddam IV.

Being unaware of Paul's devotion to Chani, Irulan aggreed to the union, believing she would be the one to produce the Imperial heir apparent, and thus retain House Corrino's powers over the Known Universe.

An Unhappy Marriage to Paul Atreides

Following the consolidation of Paul's rule over the Imperium, Irulan quickly discovered that she was Paul's second wife in title only, and that his beloved Fremen consort, Chani, was his exclusive partner and the sole bearer of his three children: Leto Atreides II the Elder, and the twins named Leto Atreides III and Ghanima Atreides I.

Irulan was not originally disquieted with this new arrangement, desiring to be the mother of a new imperial Corrino bloodline with Paul Atreides and hopefully retain House Corrino's influence in some form. However, she would quickly discover that she was to be Paul's new wife in name and title only, as he intended his beloved concubine Chani to bear his children and heirs apparent, essentially writing Irulan out of her desired place in history.

This terrible jealousy and violent resentment coupled with a Bene Gesserit intervention drove her to secretly drug Chani with dangerous contraceptives so that would leave the new Emperor and his ladylove without producing any children for the next twelve years.

She was productive during this time as well though, becoming a very notable historian, writing at least twenty works on Muad'Dib and recent event; and, too, keeping personal discipline in never taking up Paul's offer to discreetly cuckold him for her own pleasures.

She too would join the conspiracy against the Emperor with the Bene Gesserit, Bene Tleilaxu, and Spacing Guild as the representative of House Corrino, but her skills as a court player would never match her scholarship and her double-crossing and drugging of Chani were both found out.

Paul would threaten her banishment to Salusa Secundus with her family to her, but she was never so directly punished until she chose to return to Kaitain on her own.

However, the scheme did not work as intended, and Irulan was left with remorse when the Imperial Empress Consort Chani Atreides died of vitilgo nine hours later after giving birth to Paul's twin children, Crown Prince Leto Atreides III and Princess Ghanima Atreides, and Paul--now blind--soon thereafter wandered alone into the desert to die alone as a Fremen prophet called the "Preacher".

Her Adoption of the Atreides Twins

Irulan was intensely grieved by these deaths (Chani's death being caused by her druggings, and Paul's apparent death being a subsequent result); at this time first feeling a deep love for her husband that she had never realized she had.

She devoted herself to House Atreides and her two orphaned stepchildren by deserting the Bene Gesserit to raise them in adoption and train them personally as their foster stepmother.

Later, after the rise of Leto Atreides III as the Supreme Padishah God-Emperor of the Known Universe, Irulan spent her remaining years contuining her study and documentation of historical and contemporary events and would have eventually died after spending ten millennia of hypersleep on Kaitain in 20,000 A.G.

This act, combined with the apparent death of Paul Atreides after he walked into the desert a blind man, led her to devote herself to House Atreides and her two surviving stepchildren.

Through their developmental years, and following the rise of the God-Emperor Leto Atreides II, Irulan spent her remaining years studying and documenting all the events that came to pass since House Atreides took control of Arrakis in 10,191 A.G.

Books By The Imperial Crown Princess Irulan Corrino I

Irulan was a prolific author as evidenced by the fact that many chapters in the novels begin with an epigraph from one of her books or essays. Here is at least a partial list:

  • "Manual of Muad'Dib"
  • "Muad'Dib, Family Commentaries"
  • "A Child's History of Muad'Dib"
  • "Dictionary of Muad'Dib"
  • "Analysis: The Arrakeen Crisis" (written for the Bene Gesserit Circulation only)
  • "The Humanity of Muad'Dib"
  • "Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib"
  • "In My Father's House"
  • "Songs of Muad'Dib"
  • "Conversations With Muad'Dib"
  • "Arrakis Awakening"
  • "Private Reflections on Muad'Dib"
  • "The Wisdom of Muad'Dib"
  • "Muad'Dib, The Man" (with preface by Stilgar)
  • "Count Fenring: A Profile"
  • "Muad'Dib: The Religious Issues"
  • "Muad'Dib: The 99 Wonders of the Universe"
  • "Collected Legends Of Arrakis"

Behind the Scenes

In the 1984 movie Dune (1984 movie), the role of the Crown Princess Irulan Corrino I was played by the actress Virginia Madsen.

In the 2000 and 2003 Sci-Fi Channel Miniseries called Dune Miniseries and Children of Dune (2003 Miniseries), the character was played by Julie Cox.

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