"And when I promise something, I never ever break that promise."
When Rapunzel's mother, the queen, was pregnant, she became dangerously ill. The people of her kingdom sought out a magical golden flower from a nearby island, a flower that could heal… And do more. It could keep people young, and Gothel had been using it for this for hundreds of years. The people of the kingdom found the flower despite Gothel's attempts to hide it, and made it into a soup which saved the queen… And transferred the flower's powers to the hair of the newborn baby. Gothel snuck into the baby's room the very night she was born and tried to cut the hair for herself, but found that when the hair was cut it turned brown and lost its powers. So Gothel took the child, raising her as her own, keeping her locked in a tower for nearly eighteen years with terrible stories of the dangerous world beyond their home, and of the people who would try to take Rapunzel for her hair. Rapunzel's only friend in the tower was a chameleon named Pascal. She picked up a number of hobbies trying to pass the time, but wanted to see the outside world, particularly curious about the floating lights she would see each year on the night of her birthday, not knowing they were lanterns sent out for her - for the lost princess.
They day before her eighteenth birthday started like any other day, with Rapunzel spending her morning doing her various hobbies and singing all the while— And that is the exact canon point she is being taken from.
Rapunzel is primarily three things - Curious, talented, and sweet. The curiosity comes from her sheltered life, and (when fear isn't getting the better of her) she's eager to learn about the world outside her tower; to know more about what other people's lives are like. She loves to learn about a number of subjects, and approached the world wide-eyed and ready to be taught - Which leaves her perhaps a bit too impressionable.
She has a number of skills she developed early in life, to cope with being bored, and while none of them are particularly helpful in a big-picture sense - She's mostly artistically gifted - it passes the time. As an artist, she's truly exceptional. Painting is her true passion, whereas her other hobbies are more ways of passing the time. So while her artistic gifts are grand, she is not an expert in her other areas of interest, even the other artsy ones. Still, she's not doing these things to be the best - She's doing them to have fun.
She's also quite… Well, really, <i>good</i> - to the point of being somewhat naive and trusting those she shouldn't - Sometimes. (Trust is kind of a tricky issue with her.) She has a positive nature, is incredibly obedient (most of the time), and in general is just a well-intentioned soul who brings out the best in others. She's non-judgmental and very open to new ideas about other people and accepting their flaws. A large part of this is the fact that she's had so few people in her life that she really isn't about to discriminate when it comes to who she gets to know.
Rapunzel can be a bit of a scaredy-cat, but it's not without good reason. While, as mentioned above, she has the ability to bring out the best in people, she was always taught that there <i>was</I> no best in most people. Though she can be trusting of people, certainly, her initial reaction is still always suspicion and fear when meeting someone new. And just because she has fear in here, doesn't mean she's not strong. Rapunzel can be surprisingly tough for someone who has led such a sheltered life. She's not afraid to take on much larger opponents, or put herself in charge and act on the craziest ideas.
Additionally, she is perfectly capable of being tricky and manipulative when a goal is important to her. On that note, the girl is incredibly determined when she has a dream to reach. She just doesn't give up, even if she has to do some wrong - so long as it's not <i>truly</i> cruel - to get where she wants to be. Rapunzel is also quite resourceful in this goal-pursuing. She can make most any object useful for the situation she is in, and can think he way out of a number of situations even without props. She works hard, faces her fears, and thinks and acts her way around obstacles when she's on a mission.
Due to the flower her mother ingested to cure her illness during pregnancy, Rapunzel has a very unique gift: Her hair can heal the wounded and ill, and even keep people young. She has to sing a certain song to do this, and when she does, her hair glows.