Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, best known simply as Princess Zelda is a member of Hyrule's Royal Family and plays an integral role in the history of Hyrule. Though she is the titular character, the player takes control of the protagonist, Link. Usually, Zelda is in some way kidnapped or imprisoned by Ganondorf. In some games she appears as one of the sages or as a prophet. To date, she has never been a playable character in the main series.
Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that her name was inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald. It is also interesting to note that Zelda's name can be associated with delta, shaped triangularly like the Triforce. The Dhimotiki (modern Greek) word for δελτα (delta) is dhelda (pronounced IPA /ðel.da/), which is typically transliterated to katakana as zeruda.
Similar to Link, Zelda has had multiple incarnations throughout the series. Generally close to Link in age, she is most often portrayed as a child, but she has been portrayed thrice as an adult, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Zelda is portrayed as a young girl or beautiful young woman, usually with blonde hair, although in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, she is portrayed as more of a brunette. (Her hair is slightly darker yet in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, her appearance in which is otherwise based on that in Twilight Princess.) She also is portrayed with auburn or red hair in Zelda II, and light brown hair in A Link to the Past. She often wears a royal gown of white, pink or another pale color (red in Zelda II), usually bearing the Royal Family's crest, and jewelry such as ornate earrings.