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This article focuses on the Enchanted Forest character, Prince James.
For the character who impersonated him, see Prince Charming.
For Lily's adoptive father, see James Page.

You stole my glory. You were never half the man I was and yet you got everything. Everything that was mine.

—James to David src

Prince James, also known as Jimmy, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the sixth episode of the first season and is portrayed by starring cast member Josh Dallas and co-star Luke Roessler.

Prince James is based on Prince Edward from the novel, The Prince and the Pauper.


Before First Curse

James is born to Ruth and her husband Robert, along with his twin brother David. When he and David are still infants, they become sick and their parents do not have enough money for medicine. The wizard Rumplestiltskin offers the couple a chance to gain money for their impoverished farm if they forfeit one of their twins to a barren king and queen. Ruth refuses, however, when Rumplestiltskin implies both children will likely perish during the winter, Robert concedes to the deal. In the end, James is chosen as the child taken away by Rumplestiltskin, after Robert is made to flip a coin to decide which son will be given up. King George is given James, who he raises as his heir. ("The Shepherd", "Lady of the Lake", "Murder Most Foul")

Six years later, James runs away from home, out of fear of his father George's wish for him to become a knight and kill things. He ends up on Pleasure Island and is found by his birth father, Robert, who suggests that he can live on the farm with his brother. However, as the pair reach the island dock, they meet King George. Robert reveals himself as James' birth father and refuses to give the boy up, but is pulled away from James by guards on King George's orders and sentenced to death. As the guards take Robert away to carry out the king's command, James watches, unable to intervene. ("Murder Most Foul")

In adulthood, James is irresponsible and passes his time wasting time on money and dalliances. One night, he is pursuing a tryst with a woman, Jack, but his father storms in, demanding for his son to focus on helping the kingdom as it is in economical disarray due to his spending. King George orders him to go after a giant who just climbed down a beanstalk. James and Jack greet the giant, Anton, and they give him a magical mushroom that shrinks him to human size. The two befriend Anton and manipulate him into feeling sympathetic to the kingdom's debts. Wishing to help, Anton goes to fetch treasure from his home for them. In an act of betrayal, they follow him up the beanstalk and lead a siege to slaughter all the giants and steal their magic beans. James manages to procure a large bag of treasure, but refuses to assist Jack as she is dying from poison, and instead hastily climbs down the beanstalk to get back to his kingdom. ("Tiny")

Much later on, the kingdom once again is in need of money. James spars with Behemoth in a sword fight to impress King Midas. After winning the match, the three come to an arrangement wherein if the prince can defeat a dragon ravaging Midas' kingdom, Midas will supply George's kingdom with wealth using his golden hand, which turns any object into gold upon contact. After Midas departs, Behemoth unexpectedly rises and stabs the prince through the torso, killing him. King George, heartbroken over losing his son, asks Rumplestiltskin to do whatever it takes to bring him back. Rumplestiltskin cannot, because magic cannot revive the dead, but he can find James' twin brother as a replacement son. King George agrees to the deal, offering up the whereabouts of the Fairy Godmother, in exchange for Rumplestiltskin's end of the deal. ("The Shepherd")

During Alternate Reality
After Isaac rewrites everyone's stories in the Heroes and Villains book, James remains dead in this reality, however, Queen Snow White's memories are altered so she remembers being in love with him and that his death was caused by Regina telling a secret. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1", "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Third Curse

After his death, James' soul resides in the Underworld as sheriff of Underbrooke, where he is unable to move on because of his unfinished business. At some point after this, he begins a relationship with Cruella. She comes to believe he hates his brother David, who his birth parents decided to keep instead of him. In actuality, he hates David for stealing his glory and living the life he would've had if he hadn't died. Once the Apprentice comes to Underbrooke, James takes the key from him that opens the Sorcerer's mansion, where the storybook and the Author's quill are hidden. He later puts the key in the top right drawer in the sheriff's office for safekeeping. ("Souls of the Departed", "The Brothers Jones", "Sisters")

When Mary Margaret arrives to the Underworld with her family to find Hook, James catches her alone at the diner and approaches her. With no reason to assume otherwise, Mary Margaret mistakes him for David and notes he changed his clothes. While she prattles on about how creepy the Underworld is so far, he pulls her into a passionate kiss. After parting from her, James smugly comments that now he sees why his brother likes her, which makes Mary Margaret flinch backwards in recognition of who he really is. Since she is in the Underworld, he presumes David must be too. As he picks up a coffee cup from the counter, James tells her to send his regards to David when she sees him because there is a new sheriff in town. After James walks off into the hallway, David enters the diner from the front door, in time to see his brother disappear into the back room. ("Souls of the Departed")

In search of the key to the Sorcerer's mansion, David and Mary Margaret obtain it the sheriff's office, while James is not present. However, when Cruella comes in looking for James, David sends Mary Margaret out with the key, and then pretends to be his brother in Cruella's presence. She plays along with him, fully aware he's not James, until David reveals himself after having enough of her games. Cruella suggestes James loathes David for being the son their mother chose to keep instead of him. David gets angry that he's being blamed for something he had no control over, to which Cruella notes his temper is more like James than knows, and the day they meet will be one hell of a reunion. ("The Brothers Jones")

After Snow's departure from the Underworld, James seeks to impersonate David in order to find Zelena's baby, who Cruella wishes to hold hostage until Hades agrees to revive her. On the streets of Underbrooke, he stops his sheriff car and steps out to confront David. David brings up what Cruella told him, but James reveals he hates David for stealing his name and glory. David moves to defend himself against his brother, but James is faster, tasering him until he passes out and later locking him up in the sheriff's station cell. James, carrying the same bag of baby supplies that David had, returns to the apartment, where Emma notices nothing amiss. Still missing her mother, Emma shows him a photo of her parents that she was looking over. James mistakes it for a birthday photo, but she corrects him, saying it's from an anniversary. He blames his memory lapse on being distracted with what's going on in the Underworld lately, which Emma accepts. With the supplies, he and Emma meet up with Robin and his daughter. Once Robin shows up, James slaps an cuff on Emma's wrist, cancelling out her magic, before drawing a loaded gun on her. Cruella drives up to join him, explaining to both Emma and Robin of her plan to use the baby to get what she wants from Hades. Robin refuses to go without a fight, and he shoots James in the chest with an arrow. It has no effect since James is already dead, and after James pulls the arrow out, he threatens to put a bullet in Robin, making him as dead as he is. At the docks, James and Cruella attempt to send Emma and Robin into the River of Lost Souls, but David, with Hook's help, saves them. While Cruella scurries to the sidelines, James and David have it out in a physical fight. David wants to help him move on, but James coldly tells him that his unfinished business is to kill him. Pulling out a knife, James charges at him, with David blocking the hit and then hurling him into the river. David regrets what he had to do because, despite everything, James was still his brother, but Emma insists some people can never move on. ("Sisters")


RobertKing George
Albert Spencer
Adoptive mother †
Prince JamesPrince Charming
David Nolan
Snow White
Mary Margaret Blanchard
Prince NealKillian Jones
Emma Swan
Neal Cassidy
Jacinda Vidrio
Henry Mills


  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriage, engagement and adoption relationships, and relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Both Prince James and Prince Charming were adopted by King George
  • Emma and Neal have never been married



  • The name "James" is of English origin derived from the name "Jacob" that means "supplanter".[1]


Costume Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. Given Name JAMES. Behind the Name. Retrieved on September 30, 2018.
  2. File:612JamesIveCome.png
  3. FacebookIcon.png @oceandriveleather (Ocean Drive Leather). January 8, 2012.  "ODLeather gauntlets on hot prince, Josh Dallas." (archive copy)
    FacebookIcon.png keith.steven.christensen (Ocean Drive Leather). September 15, 2011.  "From "Once Upon A Time", Prince Charming Battle Cuffs." (archive copy)
  4. TassyTas (March 13, 2012). Fairy Tale "it" Leather Jackets. The It Lists. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016.
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