Minority reign

The term minority reign or royal minority refers to the period of a sovereign's rule when he or she is legally a minor. Minority reigns are of their nature times when politicians and advisors can be especially competitive.[1]

Commonly, a regent is appointed if a sovereign is a minor. In many instances, the advent of a royal minority led to fierce competition for any regency office, and in England only one actual regent was ever appointed: In October 1216 William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke became regent for the nine-year-old Henry III on the death of King John. Subsequent royal minorities before 1811 were dealt with by the appointment of officers who held the less provocative title "Lords Justices of the Realm", "Lord Protector" or "Protector and Defender" (after 1422), and sometimes "Guardian of the Realm". In all instances they were intended to be assisted by a collective council or body of officials, although the brief Protectorate of Richard, duke of Gloucester from April to June 1483 did not allow for the naming of an official council.

Sovereigns who have ruled as minors include:


  1. Beem, Charles. 2008. The Royal Minorities of Medieval and Early Modern England. New York, New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, pp. 1–5. ISBN 978-0-230-60866-5
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