Robert is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. The father of Prince Charming and Prince James, he was killed through mysterious means when his sons were children, the means of which are currently being investigated in the series. He will first appear in the episode "Murder Most Foul," portrayed by David Cubitt.
Before First Curse
Robert gets married to his true love Ruth, with whom he has twin sons, named David and James. However, their livelihood on the farm is crushed by poverty. A wizard named Rumplestiltskin offers them a large amount of money for one of their sons, who will be given to a barren king and queen. To save themselves from their destitute situation, Ruth and her husband give up James.
As they raise David, the couple constantly quarrel about the father's drinking problems. Despite his apparent dependency on alcohol, the man is genuine about changing for the better. He promises that, when he returns from a two week journey to bring supplies onto their farm, his addiction will be gone. As the man leaves for his trip, David wraps a coin as a good-luck charm around his father's wrist. On the fourteenth day, for reasons unknown, he is stabbed by someone, with his body ending up in a ravine. The coin he possesses somehow ends up in Rumplestiltskin's hands later on. Despite that the man's death was caused by someone else, Ruth and David receive misinformation about how he died, in that he got drunk at a tavern and fell into a ravine on his journey home.
Years later, David shares his father's history with his new friend Joan.
Eventually, James dies and Rumplestiltskin persuades David to replace his twin. Surprised to learn he had a brother, the shepherd is told by his mother Ruth that his father regretted giving the baby up immediately after the decision was made.
After First Curse
When David confronts Regina about the fate of Emma Swan and Mary Margaret, who just fell through a portal to the Enchanted Forest, the mayor feigns ignorance and mocks David for posing as a prince while he is nothing more than the son of a shepherd.
Before Third Curse
In Camelot, David confides in King Arthur his old dreams of changing the world, to which he was led by the will of being different from his father, who drank his life away, and brother, who accomplished nothing but evil.
After Third Curse
Having retrieved from Rumplestiltskin the coin David once had given his father, the Evil Queen meets with David and suggests that his father's death might have not been an accident.
Making a deal with Rumplestiltskin, David gains information about the true nature of his father's death. He later shares this revelation with Snow White, in that the man did not die in an accident, but, rather, was stabbed by an unknown person. Snow encourages her husband to leave the past behind by accepting that his father did not betray him by succumbing again to drinking. David agrees not to avenge his father's death, but ultimately changes his mind, unbeknownst to Snow.
- "The Shepherd" (First mentioned)
- "Broken" (Mentioned only)
- "White Out" (Mentioned only)
- "Siege Perilous" (Mentioned only)
- "A Bitter Draught" (Mentioned only)
- "The Other Shoe" (Mentioned only)
- "Murder Most Foul" (First appearance) (First identified as Robert)
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