Born in San Francisco in 1945 to a Norwegian mother and a Danish/Swiss father, Royal was always fascinated with Norwegian art, literature, language, and culture. He studied in California at the Claremont College and Otis Art Institute, earned an MFA degree from Brigham Young University in 1970, and completed a postgraduate degree equivalent to an MFA from the National School of Fine Arts in Oslo, Norway, in 1972.
Throughout his career, Royal focused on the human figure. His work was strongly influenced by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, the German Expressionists, and by the Vienna Secessionist artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and others. Although his early teachers in the United States and Norway encouraged him to embrace the tenets of Abstract Expressionism, he remained first and foremost a figurative artist throughout his life. A prolific painter and printmaker, he was featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe and is included in public and private collections in the United States, Norway, Germany, and Poland.
Over the years, Royal was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He served as an artist in residence in Norway in 1972 and 1975 and was awarded a fellowship to live and work in Edvard Munch’s Oslo studio and research graphic art at the Munch Museum. At the invitation of the Norwegian Ministry of Culture in 2004, he received a residency and one-person exhibition. In addition, Royal received sabbatical and study grants to Japan and Germany and support grants for travel and exhibition from the Japan Foundation and Art Matters. His travels and exhibitions were further supported by the Western States Art Federation, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the National Art Galleries of Norway and Poland.