The Royal Facehugger is a strong type of Facehugger that carries the Chestburster of a Queen. There is much speculation as to how Queen Xenomorphs are born; many believe a Royal Facehugger implants a Queen embryo within its victim. It is stated that a Royal Facehugger can implant several victims before it dies, and this can be seen as the case in Alien3 when it was able to impregnate two hosts (one with a Queen Chestburster, the other with a regular Chestburster).
Royal Facehuggers, like all other Facehuggers, come from Eggs laid by Queens, although they are somewhat larger and possess armor and a bladed tail to help them protect the unborn Queen they carry inside. They also have webbed digits and a dark brown coloration. Most notably, a Royal Facehugger does not die until both of the embryos it carries have been implanted; the one on Fiorina 161 survived for some time after implanting Ripley before attacking an ox on the planet's surface.
The Royal Facehugger has only appeared once, and very briefly, in the Assembly Cut of Alien3. The egg hidden aboard the USS Sulaco contained a Royal Facehugger, which infiltrated the ship and impregnated Ellen Ripley with a Queen while she was in hypersleep. Later on Fiorina 161, the Royal Facehugger impregnated an ox with a second Xenomorph which would later develop into a Runner. After impregnating the ox, the Facehugger died. The Facehugger is only seen for a few seconds on-screen when one of the prisoners finds the dead creature alongside the ox's corpse when the latter is taken to the prison slaughterhouse.
In the special features of Alien3 on the DVD and Blu-ray, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr.. talked about this "Super Facehugger' and say that originally, they had created this Facehugger by being inspired by the Alien Queen and they have thought of him as the creature who had implanted the queen embryo in Ripley's body.
The theatrical cut of the film completely removed the Royal Facehugger scene, leaving it unclear how two Xenomorphs came to be on the planet when only one egg is seen in the film, as traditionally Facehuggers have been seen to die as soon as their job of implanting a Xenomorph embryo in a host is complete.
The Queen Facehugger's appearance in the comics is very different to the one in Alien3, likely because the Assembly Cut of the film featuring the creature had yet to be released. Royal Facehuggers in the comic have the same color as normal Facehuggers but possess spikes on their backs and have spots on their air bladders. They have appeared in several comic books including Aliens vs Predator: The Deadliest of the Species, but all share the same appearance.
- Being a "Super" Facehugger, it is presumably stronger and more resilient than regular Facehuggers, and is likely more intelligent (evidenced by its ability to stay concealed for some time between impregnating hosts in Alien3).
- Royal Facehugger's are able to impregnate at least two hosts, presumably to provide the fledgling Queen with an immediate "bodyguard" in the form of a normal Xenomorph Drone.
- The legitimacy of the Royal Facehugger is questioned by some, as for many years its only appearance on film was cut from the final release of Alien3. However, with the release of the Assembly Cut of the film, it has become more accepted, although its canonicity is still in doubt.
- In the AvP games, a Drone/Warrior is shown to be capable of molting into a Queen if there is no Queen currently alive (examples include Specimen 6). This change has alternately been shown as direct or involving an intermediate Praetorian stage. This method of Queen creation bypasses the need for a Royal Facehugger and Queen embryo altogether. The Predalien in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is also shown molting, however it remains unclear if it was a Drone/Warrior before molting or if it was a Queen from "birth", like the Chestburster inside Ripley in Alien3.