Royal is a freeborn black man who rescues Cora from Ridgeway. Royal has an optimistic personality, and is dedicated to the pursuit of freedom both for himself and all black people. He is attractive and captivating, and the narrator notes that may people are charmed by his “exotic” demeanor. He and Cora have a romantic affair, and Royal dreams of moving to Canada where they can start a family. He is fatally shot when Valentine farm is destroyed, and dies in Cora’s arms. However, even in his final moments as the massacre of Valentine residents takes place around him, he smiles at Cora and tells her to escape via the underground railroad, saying: “You can tell me where it goes.”
The timeline below shows where the character Royal appears in The Underground Railroad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: Indiana
...Sometimes musicians perform, and tonight there is a poet who gives a reading. Someone called Royal appears by Cora’s side, distracting her from the poetry. Cora is disturbed by her feelings... (full context)
...custom of Valentine residents, which helped ensure the farm’s safety within the local community. When Royal showed Cora the railroad station, he explained that he wanted her to know it was... (full context)
...two teams participate while joyful music plays in the background. The night before, Cora let Royal kiss her. She confesses that she’s been thinking about Terrance; she knows that the enslaved... (full context)
...Mingo’s speech, his daughter has been whispering flirtatiously with Lander. As Lander stands to speak, Royal is excited. He wants the community to move to Canada, where he will finally be... (full context)
Chapter 12: The North