Power behind the throne


Power behind the throne

The phrase power behind the throne refers to a person or group that informally exercises the real power of an office. In politics, it most commonly refers to a spouse, aide, or advisor of a political leader (often called a "figurehead") who serves as "de facto" leader, setting policy through influence or manipulation.

The original concept of a power behind the throne was a Medieval-era figure of speech referring to the fact that the king's policies could be set by a counselor not seated in the throne but standing behind it—perhaps whispering in the king's ear—out of common sight.

Good historical examples of a "power behind the throne" include Diego Portales of Chile and General Hideki Tojo of Japan, who was influential in the military's actions leading up to World War II and later became Prime Minister of Japan in 1941. He served under Emperor Hirohito, who ruled as a deified figurehead. Another example is the rule of Pol Pot in Cambodia from 1975-1978, who led the Khmer Rouge to victory following a devastating civil war. King Norodom Sihanouk returned to reign over Cambodia, but held no executive power. In the United States, Edith Wilson - the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson - took over many of the routine duties and details of the government after her husband had been incapacitated by a stroke.

Another modern example was Deng Xiaoping in China, who was recognized as China's paramount leader without holding the position of either General Secretary or President. In Latin America, a good example was Doctor Joseph Marie Cordoba Montoya during the Presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994). Dr. Cordoba Montoya, a French naturalized Mexican, was the Head of the Office of the Presidency. Another example in the same region is the one of the former general Manuel Noriega, who was the military leader and the de facto chief of state of Panama from 1983 to 1989.

A related term is "éminence grise" (French: "gray eminence"), a powerful advisor or decision-maker who operates secretly or otherwise unofficially. This phrase originally referred to Cardinal de Richelieu's right hand man, François Leclerc du Tremblay (also known as the "Père Joseph"), a Capuchin friar who wore grey robes. Because the Cardinal de Richelieu, the power behind the throne of King Louis XIII of France, as a Catholic cardinal was styled "Son Eminence" ("His Eminence"), his alter ego Père Joseph was called "l'éminence grise" (which is also the English title of his biography by Aldous Huxley).

In sporting politics, a good example of this concept is that of Johan Cruyff's direct influence at FC Barcelona as a consultant, despite holding no official title whatsoever.

ee also

* cabal
* cloistered rule

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • power behind the throne — {n. phr.} The person with the real power backing up the more visible partner (usually said about the wives of public figures). * /It is rumored that the First Lady it the power behind the throne in the White House./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • power behind the throne — {n. phr.} The person with the real power backing up the more visible partner (usually said about the wives of public figures). * /It is rumored that the First Lady it the power behind the throne in the White House./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • power behind the throne — A person or group of people who exercise power or influence without having the formal authority to do so • • • Main Entry: ↑throne * * * a person or organization that exerts authority or influence without having formal status …   Useful english dictionary

  • power behind the throne —    Someone with no apparent authority who has great influence over the person officially in charge is said to be the power behind the throne.     It s essential to be on good terms with his wife. Apparently she s the power behind the throne …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • power\ behind\ the\ throne — n. phr. the person with the real power backing up the more visible partner (usually said about the wives of public figures). It is rumored that the First Lady it the power behind the throne in the White House …   Словарь американских идиом

  • power behind the throne — noun Someone who appears to be without special status, but who has great covert influence on a person in authority …   Wiktionary

  • the power behind the throne — the person who secretly controls a country, organization, etc., by controlling the actions and decisions of the official leader He s the company president, but his assistant is the (real) power behind the throne. • • • Main Entry: ↑power the …   Useful english dictionary

  • (the) (real) power behind the throne — the (real) power behind the ˈthrone idiom the person who really controls an organization, a country, etc. in contrast to the person who is legally in charge • The president s wife was suspected of being the real power behind the throne.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • (the) power behind the throne — someone who does not have an official position in a government or organization but who secretly controls it. In his later years, the chairman s daughter was the power behind the throne …   New idioms dictionary

  • The Throne of Bloodstone — context DnDmodule| module title = The Throne of Bloodstone module module code = H4 module rules = AD D (1st Ed.) Battlesystem (optional) module character levels = 18 100 module campaign = Forgotten Realms module authors = Michael Dobson Douglas… …   Wikipedia


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