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This article focuses on the Enchanted Forest location.
For the Wish Realm location, see Royal Castle (Wish Realm).

My place. You wanna see where you're from, Emma? That's right. We're going home.

Mary Margaret to Emma src

The Royal Castle[1] is an Enchanted Forest location on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.

The Royal Castle is based on the prince's castle from the fairytale "Snow White" and the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as the king's castle from the story The Prince and the Pauper.


Before First Curse

In a deal with Rumplestiltskin, King George procures a son he intends to raise as his heir. The boy, James, grows up as a prince in George's castle. ("The Shepherd")

Years later, King George bursts into his son's castle bedroom, where James is in the midst of a sorid tryst with a woman, Jack. At first, he scolds James for wasting the kingdom's money on his dalliances, and then orders him to look for a giant that has been spotted in the Enchanted Forest. With Jack, James leaves for the search. ("Tiny")

With George's royal coffers continuing to deplete, he seeks out an alliance with King Midas, who promises to supply the latter with gold only if his lands are rid of a dangerous dragon. To prove his worth in battle, James duels Behemoth, but the prince is slain during the fight. Though grief-stricken, George procures his son's twin brother, David, with Rumplestiltskin's help. Thus, David takes James' place as prince, and he successfully kills the dragon. Impressed, King Midas seals the two kingdoms' alliance by giving his daughter, Abigail, to David in marriage. Even though the false prince doesn't wish to continue being James, George secretly threatens him into accepting or he'll kill his mother Ruth and raze his farm. ("The Shepherd")

Traveling from the future, Emma and Hook accidentally stop Prince Charming from meeting his true love Snow White. After a journey to restore the events as they had originally happened, Emma and Hook watch as Charming says goodbye to Snow and heads back to his castle, where the preparations for his arranged marriage are going on. ("Snow Drifts", "There's No Place Like Home")

As his arranged marriage draws near, David finds himself thinking of Snow White, who previously gave him his nickname, Prince Charming, and whom he has fallen in love with. A perceptive King George realizes what is going on and commands him to forget her. Nonetheless, Charming declares his feelings for Snow in writing and asks, if she reciprocates his love for her, to meet him at nightfall inside the castle so they can run away together. By the time Snow White sneaks in, she is imprisoned by the guards and thrown into the dungeon. She befriends a dwarf, Grumpy, and they are both rescued by his fellow brother, Stealthy. Snow insists they must escape through the back of the castle, but the two dwarves head out the front with deadly consequences. Stealthy is shot dead by a guard's arrow, and Grumpy nearly faces the same fate, until Snow gives herself up to protect him. She is brought to a furious King George, who forces her to reject Prince Charming or he will kill him. Left little choice, she sneaks into Charming's room, where the prince is in the middle of packing his belongings. Charming is elated to see her, but when he moves to kiss her, Snow tells him that they do not belong together because she doesn't love him and that he should instead fill his heart with another person who he can not only love but who will love him back. After returning his handwritten letter to her, she turns and walks out, with her pained expression mirroring Charming's own devastation. ("7:15 A.M.")

Out of belief in the connection he and Snow share, Charming calls off his wedding and flees in pursuit of Snow. After sharing a conversation with Abigail, King George calls a guard and orders him to find the fugitive and bring him back. Meanwhile, Prince Charming and Snow White are briefly reunited until he is captured and faces execution on King George's orders. However, Queen Regina intervenes, promising that she will make Prince Charming suffer more if he is alive, to which King George relinquishes him to her. Not knowing of this incident, Snow White and her allies, the dwarves, Granny and Red Riding Hood invade King George's castle to free Prince Charming. Aided by the fairies, they make a hasty infiltration. Snow White reaches the dungeon, but finds only a mirror with Prince Charming's reflection. Realizing he is trapped at the Queen's palace, she agrees to have a parley with Regina. When Snow White reports this to her friends, they disapprove of the meeting, but she departs anyway. During the parley, Snow White willingly bites into a poisoned apple, per Regina's request, in order to keep Prince Charming safe. Giving the appearance of death, she falls unconscious under the Sleeping Curse. ("What Happened to Frederick", "An Apple Red as Blood")

After Snow White is uncursed by Prince Charming, they walk along the shoreline of a lake. She announces that they must take back the kingdom, to which the pair longingly gaze the castle in the distance. ("A Land Without Magic")

During the subsequent war to win back the kingdom, Snow is captured by one of King George's swords-for-hire, Lancelot, and brought to the castle. In retaliation against Charming, King George tricks Snow into drinking poisoned water that makes her barren, however, she later takes a sip of magical water from Lake Nostos, helping to undo the curse. ("Lady of the Lake")

Some time later, Snow and Charming continue warring against King George, and after his army falls in battle, they secure the castle and entrap the Evil Queen. At a war council meeting, the Blue Fairy, Granny, Grumpy, Jiminy Cricket, Red Riding Hood, Sneezy and some guards deliberate about the ex-Queen's future fate. They decide a fitting punishment for her crimes is death, but, during the execution, Snow puts a stop to it as she believes Regina has the capacity to change. To make sure, Snow tests Regina, who proves to be still a very vengeful person, to which Snow banishes her from the kingdom. ("The Cricket Game")

Under the Queen's directive, Edmond gains Snow and Charming's trust and becomes employed as their new wine steward. With a vial of poison from the Queen, he secretly pours it into a wine jug, while the couple are chatting at the dinner table. Snow's handmaiden, Charlotte, rushes down the stairs to join them, apologizing about being late. Snow tells Edmond that Charlotte is spending her last night in the castle before going home to take care of her ill mother. Edmond is troubled by this, as it means Charlotte will have to drink the poison laced in the wine too, if his plan to kill Snow and Charming works. After pouring wine for all three of them, Edmond walks off as the trio clink glasses. He has a change of heart at the last moment, however, and stops them before they can sip their drinks, explaining that a bottle of match is better suited for the occasion. Another steward comes by to take away the filled wine glasses, while Edmond goes to the cellar to get the other wine. Rumplestiltskin appears to him there, and questions why he didn't kill the royal couple. Edmond admits he wouldn't be able to live with letting Charlotte die for the sake of completing the mission. He decides Snow and Charming do not deserve to die either, and that he won't try to murder them again. Not wanting Edmond to go back on his word, Rumplestiltskin teleports an unconscious Charlotte into the cellar and poisons her. He persuades Edmond to leave the Enchanted Forest forever and take Charlotte to the Land of Untold Stories, where the poison will be halted, but only if she stays in that realm forever. ("A Bitter Draught")

On the day of Prince Charming and Snow White's wedding, the Evil Queen bursts in to announce her intent to take away everyone's happiness permanently. Directly after the Queen leaves, an upset Snow runs off to the war council room. Despite that Charming wants her to relax, she is obsessed with finding a way to defeat the Queen. When Snow realizes the perfect weapon for doing so is at the Summer Palace, she deliberately convinces her husband that they must have their honeymoon there. After he leaves to prepare for the journey, Grumpy walks in to reassure Snow that the entire castle is currently secure from the Queen. He asks about what she just said to Charming, to which the princess hints at what is at the Summer Palace. During the honeymoon trip, Snow comes to realize that her desire to defeat the Queen is ruining her life and eventually lets go of the fixation in favor of starting a family with Charming. ("Pilot", "The New Neverland")

Fearing the Evil Queen will cast the Dark Curse, Maleficent and her allies, Cruella and Ursula journey to the royal castle to consult with Snow White and Prince Charming. There, Maleficent puts the guards and everyone inside the castle gates to sleep. Arriving back from their honeymoon, the couple quickly notice something is amiss and rush in, where the villains inform them about the curse. As they talk inside the castle council room, Snow and Charming agree to ask the Tree of Wisdom how to stop the curse. This mission is met with failure, as the tree rejects the couple after sensing Snow's unborn child, who can become good or evil. Later that night, Maleficent enters the castle bedroom, putting PCharming under a sleeping spell, as she reveals her own pregnancy to Snow. She desires an alliance, as they are both mothers desperate to protect their children, in order to stop the curse. Snow White refuses, believing exposing her child to Maleficent will make her evil, and she won't compromise her morals to defeat the Queen. ("Unforgiven")

Worried about their child's potential for good or evil, Snow White and Prince Charming leave home to track down a white unicorn. By touching its horn, each of them glimpse into their baby's future. While Charming has a serene vision with his infant daughter, Snow has her heart ripped out by her teenage daughter. On their way back to the castle, they help a passing peddler, who warns them not to go west since Maleficent has claimed territory there after laying an egg. He redirects them through the Infinite Forest to a cottage. This sends the couple to the Apprentice, who offers them a way to keep their child from becoming evil by infusing another living vessel with darkness. Only after the pair sacrifice Maleficent's child, they realize the gravity of their mistake too late. ("Best Laid Plans")

Some months later, Snow White becomes distressed after seeing Sneezy assemble a unicorn mobile above the castle's baby crib, which reminds her of what she did to Maleficent's child. After dismissing Sneezy from the room, Prince Charming talks to his wife about their terrible actions, and his belief that if redemption is possible, they must be the best people they can be. ("Best Laid Plans")

In the last stages of pregnancy, Snow White consults Rumplestiltskin about the Queen's threat at her wedding. Using his prophetic powers, he foretells of a curse the Queen will enact to make their lives miserable, and the only one who can break the enchantment in twenty-eight years is Snow White's unborn child, Emma. ("Pilot")

Directly after receiving the revelation from Rumplestiltskin, Snow storms into the castle bedroom, frantic about finding a way to stop the Queen's curse. Charming assures her they will figure something out but that she needs to rest for their baby's sake. Snow agrees to after getting some air on the balcony, where she sees a blue star and wishes on it for a way to help Emma get a happy ending. Unknown to Snow, her wish is granted that very night by the Blue Fairy in the form of a singing spell. Snow wakes up the next day in bed to the sound of a bird tweeting as she is unable to speak without her words coming out in song. With Charming singing along with her, Snow realizes they can use the power of their love expressed through song to defeat the Queen Simultaneously, when the Queen discovers herself to be an unwilling participant in the singing spell, she spies on Snow and Charming through one of her palace mirrors and sees them in their castle as the two sing to each other. After the Queen takes away the couple's singing ability, she teleports them back to their castle. Snow and Charming go onto the balcony, where the Blue Fairy visits to tell them the actual purpose of the songs was to give them to Emma, who needs them in the future as a source of strength when she will be forced to fight alone. To ensure the songs stay safe, Blue also reveals everyone who was under the influence of the singing spell will forget that they ever sung. ("The Song in Your Heart")

Sometime after the singing spell memory wipe, Snow and Charming conduct another war council meeting, with all their defense plans against the Queen exhausted. The Blue Fairy offers a solution in the form of a enchanted tree which can be carved into a magic wardrobe and transport a person to another land without being affected by the curse. Unknown to everyone else, the wardrobe can protect two people, but because Blue's a deal with the wood carver, Geppetto, to allow his son Pinocchio to be one of the two people to go into the wardrobe, she lies to Snow and Charming about the wardrobe only allowing one person in. ("Pilot")

As Geppetto begins working on the wardrobe, Snow White questions the Blue Fairy for more details about how her child will know when to save everyone from the curse. The Blue Fairy simply states it's a matter of having hope that their plan is going to work, and she knows that someday the savior will learn of their story. Following the fairy's departure, Snow White is left more doubtful than ever. With her dreams crushed, she relates to Prince Charming about her wish to remain a family with him and their child. He is certain the curse is just another turn in life, and somehow in someway they will be together again in the future. She agrees, and decides to believe things will work out for them. ("Going Home")

The day the curse is unleashed, Snow White goes into labor early, even though she was supposed to travel into the wardrobe while still pregnant. Because of the unforeseen circumstances, as the Blue Fairy had intended for the savior to grow up being guided by her mother, she pleads for Geppetto to let Snow and her daughter go into the wardrobe. However, he ignores her order, and promptly sends Pinocchio in. Before closing the wardrobe, Geppetto asks his son to guide Emma throughout the years. Soon, Prince Charming fights his way to the nursery room where the wardrobe is. After placing Emma inside and shutting the wardrobe doors, he passes out, seemingly dead. Snow, still weak from giving birth, hobbles in to find Charming and makes a futile attempt to revive him with true love's kiss before the Queen arrives to revel in the princess's misery. However, when the Queen's guards breaks open the wardrobe to reveal it is now empty, Snow gloats about Emma having gotten away and her belief that her daughter will one day stop the curse. As the curse cloud bursts into the castle nursery room, Snow clings to Charming's still body while asking the Queen where they are going. The Queen, with a triumphant smirk as she watches the curse slowly swirl around herself, Snow, and Charming, tells her it's somewhere horrible. ("Pilot", "The Thing You Love Most", "The Stranger")

After First Curse
To find a way to return to Storybrooke after they are taken to the Enchanted Forest, Emma and Mary Margaret head to the old royal castle in search of the wardrobe. Along the way, they are joined by Aurora and Mulan, who stand guard outside as the two other women explore the interior of the castle. In the nursery, Mary Margaret sadly reminisces about the life she wanted Emma to have had the curse never happened. Suddenly, an ally from camp, Lancelot arrives, stating he followed them out of concern for their safety and has hopes the wardrobe can bring them back to Mary Margaret's husband, David, and Emma's son, Henry. His words raise Mary Margaret's suspicion, since they did not mention Henry's name to anyone except to Regina's mother, Cora. Once exposed, Cora reveals herself, stating that she already killed the real Lancelot a long time ago. She then pins both women in place, but Emma manages to set fire to the wardrobe. Cora pulls the flame away, but she is forced to escape when Mulan arrives to defend her allies. The charred wardrobe burns to ash, which leaves the foursome with little choice except to depart. Before going, Emma and Mary Margaret share an emotional talk that deepens their familial bond. After they are gone from the castle, Cora returns to collect the wardrobe's ashes as a portal-making ingredient. ("Lady of the Lake")

During Fourth Curse
After the Black Fairy casts her own Dark Curse, Snow White, Prince Charming, Regina, Hook and Neal are transported back to the castle to separate them from Emma and allow the Black Fairy to break her belief, which will destroy all realms except for the Land Without Magic and killing everyone in them. For reasons unknown, the castle is no longer in ruins. Waking up confused and concerned for Emma and Henry who are not present, Regina notes the Black Fairy's panache in taking them from Emma and Hook's wedding to the part of the castle where Snow and David were married some time before they themselves were cursed. With Snow reassuring the others that they will beat this new curse, they depart for the Evil Queen's palace. ("The Final Battle Part 1")

After Sixth Curse
After Regina unites all the realms, the citizens of the United Realms elect her as their new Queen. Zelena brings her sister to the castle for the surprise coronation, though Regina remains unaware of what is going on. As Zelena and Henry accompany her down the hallway, they meet Sir Henry outside the throne room. Zelena poofs herself into the room, while the two Henry's walk Regina in. Inside, Regina is greeted by applause by everyone as she goes down the aisle until she reaches the altar, where Snow and Charming tell her about her new status. Before the coronation begins, Regina whispers to Snow to ask her if everyone already came, to which Snow alludes to Emma not being able to attend because she is busy with a fussy baby. However, when Snow prepares to place the crown on Regina's head, the doors suddenly burst open, with Emma apologizing for being late. As Emma goes to stand next to Henry, Hook trails in behind her as he carries their daughter Hope before handing her to Henry. Snow then resumes the crowning ceremony and gifts Regina the title of "The Good Queen". Regina celebrates by sharing hugs with members of her family, and when she gets to Emma, the two talk about the new life Regina now has. Rather than it being a happy beginning, Regina considers it a second chance and then gives a resounding speech about the wonders and losses that are a part of life and make people who they are. ("Leaving Storybrooke")




On-Screen Notes

Production Notes


Props Notes

Set Dressing

Filming Locations

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

  • The castle is referred to as the "Royal Castle".[43]
  • During Prince Charming and Princess Abigail's journey to the castle for their engagement ceremony, they travel on "the high road beyond Midas's castle". This indicates King Midas's castle is not too far off from the Royal Castle itself.[44]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. About the name and spelling: The article name is conjecture, however, the non-canon novel Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale refers to it as the Royal Castle, with capital letters, on page 4; in addition, an invitation in "Ariel (File:306TheresABall.png; concept art: File:306ConceptArt4.png) uses the same spelling ("Royal Castle", with capital letters) for Prince Eric's castle
  2. It is unknown if this character is supposed to be the main reality version or the Wish Realm version.
  3. Royal manor:
    Summer Palace:
    Royal Castle:
    Tremaine manor:
  4. 4.0 4.1 Royal manor:
    Summer Palace:
    Royal Castle:
  5. File:118TheKingsDaughter.png
  6. File:7x01 - Hyperion Heights - Sneak Peek 1
  7. File:101LetAlone.png
  8. File:120BeHonestFather.png
  9. 9.0 9.1 File:101OnlyWords.png
  10. File:104Unicorns.png
  11. File:516ShakeShake.png
  12. File:101Group.png
  13. File:422WhereIs.png
  14. File:110InYourHonor.png
  15. File:106JamesFighting.png
  16. File:106Who.png
  17. File:113BringMeHisHead!.png
  18. File:101CoatOfArms.png
  19. File:503CoatOfArms.png
  20. TwitterLogo.svg @AdaHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (November 17, 2013). "thanks!" (screenshot)
  21. File:120YouDoThis2.png
  22. File:117Come.png
  23. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Season One Blu-ray/DVD Commentary for "Pilot"
  24. File:117ThankYou.png
  25. File:221Preparations.png
  26. File:101TalkToHim.png
  27. File:101CharmingCollapses.png
  28. File:612BottleBash.png
  29. File:101TheChild.png
  30. File:202NeedTheBook.png
  31. File:602WalkingToCupboard.png
  32. File:605MyNewCastle.png
  33. File:120CircumstancesHaveChanged.png
  34. File:101OnlyWords.png
  35. File:101LetAlone.png
  36. File:101OnlyWords.png
  37. FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Once Upon A Time December 10, 2014 (December 10, 2014).  "Once Upon a Time set photos from Central Park, Burnaby, BC taken on December 10, 2014.(archive copy)
  38. File:602WhatWasThat.png
  39. File:721SearchingForFamily.png
  40. Steve Pearlman and David H. Goodman on the Season Seven Blu-ray-exclusive Audio Commentary for "Homecoming"
  41. File:522WalkingIntoLab.png
  42. David H. Goodman and Andrew Chambliss on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "Only You"
  43. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 4
  44. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 57
  45. File:101SnowCharmingStorybook.png
  46. File:102EvilQueenStorybook2.png
  47. File:118EvilQueenStorybook.png
  48. File:218ClosingBook.png
  49. File:219Storybook.png
  50. File:310DarkCurseStorybook.png
  51. File:311Page2.png
  52. File:321DontSeeMyFamily.png
  53. File:322WeDidIt.png
  54. File:407EvilQueenStorybook.png
  55. File:412ItsHim.png
  56. File:422TheGoldenBird.png
  57. File:607Okay.png
  58. File:620NewPage.png
  59. File:721ApprenticeVision6Flipped.png (flipped image)
    File:721ApprenticeVision6.png (original image)
    It is this illustration (screenshot from "Operation Mongoose Part 2):
  60. File:416AuthorImprisoned.png (look very carefully and you can barely see that the top line reads "As they trudged back toward their castle")
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