Disney’s Tangled was released in 2010 to a receptive audience that later became a dedicated fanbase. Though the movie never rose to the heights of fame that Frozen did, its well-designed setting, charming lead couple, and child-sized exploration of the effects of emotional abuse resonated with audiences, especially survivors of parental abuse.
Its decent amount of popularity led to shorts and even a series on Disney Channel. Tangled: The Series aired from March 2017 to March 2020 and featured the same kingdom in Tangled. Rapunzel spends the series trying to keep her kingdom safe from scheming palace staff and backstabbing friends. The funny thing is that the rest of the world has been trying to get rid of her kingdom since 2020.
Why? Because the name of that kingdom in Tangled is ‘Corona’.
Corona: The Virus or the Kingdom in Tangled?
The internet seems to be a little confused. Not the people on the internet, mind you, but the internet’s search engines and algorithms. The unfortunately named kingdom of Corona has been the subject of memes and funny tweets about the coronavirus since March 2020, the same month that Tangled: The Series stopped airing.
Google Trends’ Twitter account revealed that “What is the name of the kingdom in ‘Tangled‘?” had received an unexpected surge in interest in the wake of the pandemic. While it seems strange at first, you have to remember that the show and the movie still maintains a lively, if small, fanbase that remembers the name of the kingdom in Tangled along with other details of the show.
The basic premise of Tangled is that Rapunzel, the princess of a fantasy European kingdom, is kidnapped by Mother Gothel, an evil witch who keeps her locked in a tower so she can use Rapunzel’s glowing hair, imbued with healing powers, as an enchanted anti-aging beauty gadget. Yes, the girl’s hair could literally cure the coronavirus but a witch hogs it to herself so she can get rid of her crow’s feet. Go figure.
Gothel masks her selfish possessiveness of Rapunzel as motherly protectiveness, teaching the young girl that nothing but monsters and misfortune awaits her if she goes to the kingdom nearby. She does a fantastic job of tearing down Rapunzel’s confidence in “Mother Knows Best“, a song where she effectively gaslights Rapunzel into staying in the tower.
Tangled fans had a field day picking apart the eerie parallels of Rapunzel’s situation with the lockdowns during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Many joked that Mother Gothel really did know best when she decided to keep Rapunzel socially distanced from the kingdom of Corona. While many chose to crack the joke in straightforward Tweets, other fans went about it like this:
Do this enough times and people will start googling phrases like “What is the name of the kingdom in ‘Tangled‘?” enough to push the kingdom of Corona into the top search results. We can imagine Disney execs were thrilled at first and started planning to release a proper sequel to Tangled. That is until they realized that people were making memes of the movie because of the coronavirus.
Talk about a tragicomedy.
It’s actually sad that Tangled is now known for being ‘that movie with a kingdom that’s named after a global pandemic’ because its lovingly designed setting is based on solid architectural research of a real-life setting. Believe it or not, the kingdom in Tangled actually has an irl version that, thank floating lights, doesn’t share a name with the coronavirus.
The Real Life Kingdom of Corona
The real-life version of the kingdom in Tangled can be found in the Normandy region of northern France. Named ‘Mont-Saint-Michel’, this small island city has a history that stretches back to the 11th century.
The entire town of Mont-Saint-Michel is situated on a tidal island composed of yellow granite that juts out of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay. The area of the island is an almost circular shape. Almost, given that it’s still sort of lopsided at 3,000 feet by 256 feet.
Its less-than-perfect shape doesn’t hinder the town from looking stunning, though. Aside from serving as inspiration for Corona, the one that’s a kingdom in Tangled, the medieval town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Despite it being an island, Mont-Saint-Michel is rarely surrounded by water. Its position in a relatively shallow area of the bay means that it’s bordered by sandbanks during low tide. It feels a bit anti-climactic but this is probably what allowed for the island town to be built so early in history.
Mont-Saint-Michel wasn’t always Mont-Saint Michel. Before the 8th century, the town was called Mont-Tombe which sounds rather grim. So, if any of you speak French, a translation in the comments would be much appreciated.
Mont-Tombe was only rebranded after St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, had a vision of Archangel Michael who came down from heaven to tell him he needed to start converting the pagans on the island to Christianity. At first, St. Aubert shrugged it off as an effect of not having too much wine, but cheese. The Avranches region was, and still is, famous for its high-quality cheese and oysters.
But Archangel Michael was the same guy who wrecked Lucifer in a 1-v-1 and he certainly wasn’t taking no for an answer, especially from St. Aubert.
The next time he showed up, he jabbed a finger in the poor bishop’s head as a sign that it was time for St. Aubert to heed the will of God. The mortal finally got the point and set to work on building an oratory on the island.
By the 11th century, the church that St. Aubert built was too small for the many devotees flocking to Mont-Saint-Michel. To solve this, four massive crypts were built at the top of the island and on top of them, the Mont-Saint Michel Abbey. The abbey exemplified the Romanesque architectural style that was popular in the 1000s. When the Romanesque style evolved into the Gothic style, improvements on the abbey followed, seamlessly blending the two in a symphony of high arches and ceilings.
The Gothic windows that flood the interior of Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey in bright, golden light are sure to inspire awe even if you’re not too keen on the divine.
The church of the kingdom in Tangled, unfortunately, doesn’t keep the same architectural features as Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey, opting instead for the timber framing that German architecture is known for. This is more of a worldbuilding choice on the Tangled team’s part than any dislike for the abbey. A close look at the kingdom of Corona during what’s been dubbed the ‘kingdom dance’ scene shows that the small medieval city is based on German cities, not French.
That said, the kingdom in Tangled remains a charming mix of real-life architecture and creativity that gives both the movie and the show a lot of character. So, next time you find yourself in France, drop by Mont-Saint-Michel and tour its perfectly preserved ramparts.
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