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Lord Protector

From Academic Kids

The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland was the title of the head of state during part of the Commonwealth period. It was held by Oliver Cromwell (December 1653–September 1658) and his son Richard Cromwell (September 1658–May 1659) during what is now known as the Protectorate.

The 1653 Instrument of Government stated that ‘Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General of the forces of England, Scotland and Ireland, shall be, and is hereby declared to be, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, for his life’. The replacement constitution of 1657, the pseudo-monarchical Humble Petition and Advice, gave ‘his Highness the Lord Protector’ the power to nominate his successor. Cromwell chose his eldest surviving son, the politically inexperienced Richard, who succeeded on his father's death in September 1658. The younger Cromwell held the position for only eight months before resigning in May 1659, being followed by an ‘interregnum’ until the Restoration of Charles II in May 1660.

The title of Lord Protector was not an invention of the Commonwealth’s, however. It had previously been used by princes or other nobles exercising a regency while the English monarch was still a minor. Notable examples of this are: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who was ‘Lord Protector of the Realm’ during the reign of Edward V (one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’) before usurping the throne himself; and Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, who was Lord Protector during the early years of the reign of the young Edward VI.

The title has not been used since the Restoration and is unlikely to be revived in the future.

The term however recently returned to use in an upstate New York Congressional District, when a Congressional Staffer was by acclaimation named “Lord Protector” of the District.de:Lordprotektor fr:Lord Protecteur ja:護国卿

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