Royle's father, Reginald, was vicar of  St. Saviours church in Splott, Cardiff. His father died when Royle was 14 months old. The family then moved to the Penylan area of the city. Royle was educated at Marlborough Road and Roath Park primary schools in Cardiff, then at the independent St Edmund's School, Canterbury. He read theology at King's College London and Boniface Missionary College (closed in 1969) in Warminster. In 1992 he received a Lambeth degree for recognition of his work in the media.
Royle was ordained in 1962 and became a curate of St Mary's, Portsea, Portsmouth, the largest of the city. He later became the Senior Chaplain of Eton College in the 1970s. After leaving Eton in 1979 he became a non-stipendiary (unpaid) priest in the Diocese of Southwark. He also worked for Save the Children.
He has presented been a presenter on a number of television series:
- Royle Progress for Southern Television
- The Royle Line for Ulster Television
- Songs of Praise for BBC One.
Royle's BBC career has also included presenting:
On 4 March 2007 Royle declared that he would be standing down from his long standing position on Radio 2 presenting Sunday Half Hour, despite this he continues appearances on Pause for Thought on occasional weekday mornings. He still presents his usual Christmas Day early morning show on Radio 2 between 4.00 - 6.00am.
- A Few Blocks from Broadway
- Royle Exchange
- To Have and To Hold
- Picking Up the Pieces - A book about Mother Teresa
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