The Star Wars prequels are admittedly controversial. Love them or hate them, fans of the saga are certain to have a strong opinion on Episodes I-III one way or the other. One thing they should be able to agree on, however, is that the leading lady of the prequels, portrayed by Natalie Portman, is a strong character and a positive female role-model (just like her daughter, Princess/General Leia). Here are just a few of the reasons Padmé is awesome.

1. She wasn’t born a queen, she was elected.

She had the confidence of her people fully enough to be chosen as the leader of her entire planet by age fourteen. She studied politics from the age of eight and became the supervisor of Theed at twelve. Padmé was always dedicated to her political career and helping her people, and she was brilliant in her arena.

2. She was so well-liked by her people that they wanted to amend their constitution to keep her in power.

Padmé served the full two terms allowed by Naboo’s laws, but she was so popular as a leader that her people wanted to change their rules to allow her to remain queen. Ultimately, she took the offer of her successor, Queen Jamillia, to become Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate, which allowed her to continue serving those who loved her so much.

3. She was incredibly intelligent and practical in the face of danger.

When presented with a threatening situation, she disguised herself as one of her handmaidens. This saved her life when her ship was attacked by bounty hunter Zam Wesell. Later, when she was supposed to be executed along with Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé was resourceful enough to break out of her restraints and get to higher ground while the two combat-trained Jedi were still bound.

4. She was brave willing to do anything to protect her friends.

It was Padmé’s idea to travel to Geonosis to help Obi-Wan, despite the fact that numerous attempts had recently been made on her life and she knew she was putting herself in further danger.

5. She wasn’t afraid to follow her heart.

Though she knew it would lead to unending political scandal if the public found out, Padmé married Anakin, who wasn’t permitted to love by the Jedi Order. She was always ready to defend him, even against the criticisms of his master, Obi-Wan.

6. She was instrumental in the Clone Wars.

Padmé fought throughout the conflict, surviving kidnappings, assassination attempts (including one during which she was shot in the shoulder), and trips behind enemy lines. She was undeterred and continued fighting for liberty no matter how many times her life was endangered.

7. She was selfless.

When Anakin began having visions that Padmé would die during childbirth, she showed no fear for herself. Her only concern was what would happen to their child(ren). Despite the gossip sure to circulate through the Senate, she refused to admit that Anakin was the father of her twins for the sake of preserving his standing within the Jedi Order and keeping him out of trouble.

8. She tried to stop Palpatine from assuming complete control.

Padmé recognized that Senator/Chancellor Palpatine was gaining too much power and was becoming the very dictator the Senate had sought to avoid. Eventually, she joined the Delegation of 2,000, a political group that tried to urge Palpatine to give up his power. Padmé had the foresight to fight against the man who would later serve as the tyrannical Emperor and keep the entire galaxy under his thumb. This is a fight that her children would later continue.

9. She refused to abandon her morals and beliefs.

Anakin turned to the Dark Side to gain the power to prevent Padmé’s death, but instead of joining him, she made it clear that she would betray the Republic and join him on the path that had led him to turn on and kill his fellow Jedi, including younglings.

10. She loved unconditionally and forgave even the worst betrayals.

Even though her husband had used the Force to choke her, betrayed the democracy to which she’d dedicated her life, and committed multiple murders, Padmé used her dying breath to express her faith that there was still good in him. She never stopped loving Anakin, no matter what he became.