Forty-two years before the events in Elena and the Secret of Avalor, Elena's parents, King Raul and Queen Lucia gave her the magical Amulet of Avalor on her fifteenth birthday, telling her it would protect her from harm. A year later, the evil, power-hungry sorceress, Shuriki, attacked Avalor and killed Raul and Lucia. The royal wizard, Alakazar, had a spell that could protect Princess Isabel, Francisco, and Luisa in an enchanted painting. Since he needed time to cast it, Elena went to face Shuriki alone. Shuriki tried to strike Elena down, but the amulet saved her life at the cost of her freedom by magically pulling her inside it. Alakazar found the amulet and spirited it away, and Avalor fell into Shuriki's hand, and she would rule this kingdom for forty-one years.
Forty-one years later, Princess Sofia of Enchancia freed Elena from the amulet, and Elena returned to defeat Shuriki and reclaim her kingdom.
In the Elena of Avalor episode, "First Day of Rule", because Elena did not age during her forty-one year imprisonment, she was too young to become queen, so instead, she became Crown Princess with her grandparents Francisco and Luisa, her new friend Naomi, and her cousin Esteban on the Grand Council.