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A puppet monarch is a majority figurehead who is installed or patronized by an imperial power in order to provide the appearance of local authority, while allowing political and economic control to remain among the dominating nation.
Figurehead monarch, as source of legitimacy and possibly divine reign, has been the used form of government in several situations and places of history.
There are two basic forms of using puppets as monarchs (rulers, kings, emperors):
- figurehead: the monarch is a puppet of another person or a group in the country, who are ruling instead of the nominal ruler.
- puppet government under a foreign power.
Examples of the first type are the Emperors who were the puppets of the shōguns of Japan and the kings who were the puppets of the Mayor of Palace in the Frankish kingdom. Client kingdoms under Roman Republic and Empire, British Empire's colonial relationship with King Farouk of Egypt, in the 1950s, is an example of the second type.
List of puppet kings and queens
- Qin Er Shi, Emperor of the Qin Empire
- Emperor Xian of Han of China
- Philip II Philoromaeus of the last Seleucid, King of Syria
- Leo I the Thracian, Roman emperor appointed by Aspar, but broke free
- Libius Severus, first Roman emperor appointed by Ricimer
- Olybrius, second Roman emperor appointed by Ricimer
- Glycerius, third and final Roman emperor appointed by Ricimer
- Romulus Augustulus, Roman emperor appointed by his general father, Orestes
- Ecgberht I of Northumbria puppet ruler for the Danes
- John Balliol of Scotland
- Musa, a puppet Ilkhan ruler in Mongol Persia
- Henry VI Lancaster of England
Early modern period
- John Sigismund Zápolya, Ottoman puppet of Hungary
- Manco Inca, Emperor of Tawantinsuyu
- Simeon Bekbulatovich Russian Tsar for one year as Puppet monarch of Ivan the Terrible
- Moctezuma II, Tlatoani (Emperor) of Tenochtitlan and Aztec Triple Empire
- Elisa Bonaparte, Italian ruler as Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Princess of Lucca
- Louis Bonaparte of the Kingdom of Holland
- Jérôme Bonaparte, of Kingdom of Westphalia (present-day cultural Germany)
- Joseph Bonaparte, of Napoleonic Spain and Neapolitan Kingdom
- Elector and later King, Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, appointed as Napoleonic Duke of Warsaw (present-day Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania)