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Lord Protector (
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or ph ...

plural
: ''Lords Protector'') was a title that has been used in British constitutional law for the head of state. It was also a particular title for the British heads of state in respect to the established church. It was sometimes used to refer to holders of other temporary posts; for example, a
regent A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
acting for the absent monarch.


Feudal Royal Regent

The title of "The Lord Protector" was originally used by royal princes or other nobles exercising an individual
regency A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
(i.e., not merely as a member of a collegial regency council) while the English monarch was still a
minor Minor may refer to: * Minor (law), a person under the age of certain legal activities. ** A person who has not reached the age of majority * Academic minor, a secondary field of study in undergraduate education Music theory *Minor chord ** Barbe ...
or otherwise unable to rule. Notable cases in England: *
John, Duke of Bedford John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford KG (20 June 138914 September 1435) was a medieval English prince, general and statesman who commanded England's armies in France during a critical phase of the Hundred Years' War. Bedford was the third son ...
, and
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester (3 October 139023 February 1447) was an English prince, soldier, and literary Patronage, patron. He was (as he styled himself) "son, brother and uncle of kings", being the fourth and youngest son of Hen ...
, were (5 December 1422 – 6 November 1429) jointly Lords Protector for
Henry VIHenry VI may refer to: * Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1165–1197) * Henry VI, Count Palatine of the Rhine (ruled 1212–1214) * Henry VI, Count of Luxembourg (crowned 1281, died 1288) * Henry VI the Older (before 1345 – 1393) * Henry VI, Count o ...

Henry VI
(1421–1471); * Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, was thrice (3 April 1454 – February 1455; 19 November 1455 – 25 February 1456; and 31 October30 December 1460) Lord Protector for Henry VI; *
Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Richard, Duke of Gloucester
, was "Lord Protector of the Realm" (10 May 1483 – 26 June 1483) during the nominal reign of
Edward V Edward V (2 November 1470)R. F. Walker, "Princes in the Tower", in S. H. Steinberg et al, ''A New Dictionary of British History'', St. Martin's Press, New York, 1963, p. 286. was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 9 April to 26 June 1483. ...
(one of the
Princes in the Tower The Princes in the Tower refers to the apparent murder in England in the 1480s of the deposed King Edward V of England Edward V (2 November 1470)R. F. Walker, "Princes in the Tower", in S. H. Steinberg et al, ''A New Dictionary of British ...
) before claiming the throne for himself as
Richard III Richard III (2 October 145222 August 1485) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Ita ...

Richard III
; * Edward Seymour,
Duke of Somerset Duke of Somerset, from the county of Somerset Somerset (; Archaism, archaically Somersetshire) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, D ...
, was Lord Protector (4 February 1547 – 11 October 1549) during the early years of the reign of the young
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fr ...
; and in Scotland: *
John Stewart, Duke of Albany John Stewart (1481 or 14842 July 1536) was the regent A regent (from the Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin Language, Latin: 'for the time being') because the regnant monarch is a minor, ...
, was "Governor and Protector of the Realm" (12 July 1515 – 16 November 1524) for
James V of Scotland James is a common English language surname and given name: * James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...

James V of Scotland
(1512–1542); *
James Hamilton, Duke of Châtellerault James Hamilton, Duke of Châtellerault, 2nd Earl of Arran ( – 1575), was regent of Scotland during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots, Mary I, from 1543 to 1554 when he lost the regency to Mary of Guise, the queen's mother. Family J ...
, was "Governor and Protector of the Kingdom" (3 January 1543 – 12 April 1554) for
Mary, Queen of Scots Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart, was Queen of Scotland The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. According to tradition, the first King of Scots was Kenn ...

Mary, Queen of Scots
.


Cromwellian Commonwealth

The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland was the title of the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
during the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...
(often called the
Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin ''i ...
), following the first period when a
Council of State A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the cabinet or it may refer to a non-executive advisory body associated with a head o ...
held executive power. The title was held by
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
(December 1653 – September 1658) and subsequently his son and designated successor
Richard Cromwell Richard Cromwell (4 October 162612 July 1712) was an English statesman who was the latter Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and son of the first Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. On his father's death, Richa ...
(September 1658 – May 1659) during what is now known as
The Protectorate The Protectorate was the period during the Commonwealth (or, to monarchists, the Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypal ...
. The 1653
Instrument of Government The Instrument of Government was a constitution of the Commonwealth of England#The Protectorate, 1653–1659, Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Drafted by John Lambert (General), Major-General John Lambert in 1653, it was the firs ...
(republican constitution) stated: The replacement constitution of 1657, the
Humble Petition and Advice The Humble Petition and Advice was the second and last codified constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organizat ...
, gave "His Highness the Lord Protector" the power to nominate his successor. Cromwell chose his eldest surviving son, the politically-inexperienced Richard. That was a nonrepresentative and de facto dynastic mode of succession, with royal connotations in both styles awarded, (even a double invocation 16 December 1653 – 3 September 1658 "
By the Grace of God By the Grace of God (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repub ...
and Republic Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland") and many other monarchic prerogatives, such as that of awarding knighthoods.
Richard Cromwell Richard Cromwell (4 October 162612 July 1712) was an English statesman who was the latter Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and son of the first Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. On his father's death, Richa ...
, who succeeded after his father's death in September 1658, held the position for only eight months before he resigned in May 1659. He was followed by the second period of Commonwealth rule until the
Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
of the exiled heir to the Stuart throne, , in May 1660.


Lords Protector (1653–59)


Post-Cromwell

Since the Restoration the title has not been used in either of the above manners. , appointed to the regency in 1811, was referred to as "His Royal Highness the
Prince Regent George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union A polit ...
". George exercised the powers of the monarchy, just as Lords Protector had, but the title's republican associations had rendered it distasteful.


Protector of the church

'Lord Protector' has also been used as a rendering of the Latin ''Advocatus'' in the sense of a temporal Lord (such as a Monarch) who acted as the protector of the mainly secular interests of a part of the church; compare the French title of
vidame Vidame () was a feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a ...
.


References


External links


United Kingdom
at WorldStatesmen.org {{Kingdom of England Heads of state of England Heads of state Lords Protector of England Republicanism in the United Kingdom Stuart England Interregnum (England)