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Elizabeth Turner (née Swann) was the daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann. With an adventurous spirit and the need to break societal boundaries, she had long been fascinated with the freewheeling world of buccaneers to a point of learning a song about pirates as a child. Over the years, Elizabeth blossomed into a beautiful young lady, although drove her father to distraction with her willfulness and disregard for propriety. Both Jack Sparrow and Will Turner change Elizabeth's notions of romance and adventure forever, soon learning that all the rules she believed in are meant to be broken.

Born in London, England, Elizabeth led a fairly sheltered life of privilege throughout her childhood. Since the death of his wife, Governor Swann had raised his daughter on his own. Much to her father's dismay, pirates had always fascinated Elizabeth when she was a girl, mainly on the HMS Dauntless' voyage from England to the British colony at Port Royal on the vibrant and prosperous island of Jamaica. When the Dauntless crew rescued young Will Turner, a mysterious shipwreck survivor from a pirate attack, she recognized the "pirate medallion" he wore. Little did she know what adventures would stem from this fateful encounter. Eight years later, Elizabeth's cozy world was turned upside down after Captain Jack Sparrow rescued her from drowning: lured by the medallion, cursed pirates kidnapped Elizabeth. She was brought aboard the Black Pearl, a captive of Hector Barbossa, and was taken to Isla de Muerta. Days after Will Turner joined forces with Jack Sparrow, the cursed pirates were defeated with the assistance of Elizabeth's betrothed, Commodore James Norrington. In return for his help, Elizabeth aided Jack Sparrow in escaping from the gallows, and then left Norrington for Will Turner, her path chosen.

About a year later, Will and Elizabeth were on the verge of marrying when they were arrested by Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company for saving Jack Sparrow. In exchange for Elizabeth's freedom, Will sets out to retrieve Jack's unique compass for their freedom. However, because Weatherby Swann's failed attempt to help his daughter escape, leading to his reluctant loyalty to the Company and Beckett, Elizabeth fled to Tortuga to find Will Turner. Elizabeth retrieved Letters of Marque intended for Jack before stowing away aboard the Edinburgh Trader. After meeting with Jack Sparrow in Tortuga, Elizabeth agreed to help find the Dead Man's Chest in order to save Will Turner, who was tricked into serving on board Davy Jones's ship, the Flying Dutchman. By the end, Elizabeth took part in a battle which led to her delivering Jack Sparrow to the Kraken in order to save Will and other members of Jack's crew. But guilt led to Elizabeth joining a resurrected Barbossa in saving Jack, now trapped in Davy Jones' Locker.

After successfully rescuing Jack Sparrow, the Black Pearl escaped from the Locker, but not before Elizabeth discovered her father's death at the hands of Cutler Beckett. Elizabeth then joined the desperate quest to gather the nine Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court, their only hope to hold back the fearsome tide of Beckett, who gained control of Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. Prior to the conclave, Elizabeth was guest aboard the Empress, the flagship of Sao Feng, who believed Elizabeth to be the capricious sea goddess Calypso imprisoned in human form. Having fell to the Flying Dutchman, Feng passed on the title of Pirate Lord and his Piece of Eight to Elizabeth before his death. During the meeting of the Pirate Lords, Elizabeth became the new King of the Brethren Court.

During the final battle against Beckett's Armada, Will and Elizabeth were married. Shortly after Davy Jones stabbed Will Turner, Will himself pierced Jones' heart, thereby becoming the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. After the pirates' victory, Will and Elizabeth spent one day with each other, during which time they conceived a child. Before Will left to serve aboard the Dutchman for ten years, Elizabeth promised to keep his heart, now locked in the Dead Man's Chest, safe.

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