Royal was born on February 20, 1847, in Malone, New York. In 1879, he went with his brother Almanzo and sister Eliza Jane to what is now De Smet, South Dakota, where he filed on a homestead and owned a feed store. He later returned to Spring Valley, Minnesota, to live near his parents.
In 1893, Royal married Electa Hutchinson, a widow with four children, and their only surviving daughter Bernice was born the following year. Royal died in Spring Valley in 1925.