Regent: Map


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A regent, from the Latin regens "reigning", is a person selected to act as head of state (ruling or not) because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Thus, the common use is for an acting deputy governor.

In a monarchy, a regent usually governs due to one of these reasons, but may also be elected to rule during the interregnum when the royal line has died out. This was the case in Finlandmarker and Hungarymarker, where the royal line was considered extinct in the aftermath of World War I. In Icelandmarker, the regent represented the King of Denmarkmarker as sovereign of Iceland until the country became a republic in 1944.

In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795), kings were elective, which often led to a fairly long interregnum. In the interim, it was the Polish Roman Catholic Primate who served as the regent, termed the "interrex" (Latin: ruler "between kings" as in ancient Rome).

Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtensteinmarker and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganumarker (see below).

Regents in various current monarchies

It should be noted that those who held a regency briefly, for example during surgery, are not necessarily listed, particularly if they performed no official acts; this list is also not complete, presumably not even for all monarchies included. The list includes some figures who acted as regent, even if they did not themselves hold the title of regent.




  • Prince Nayeff bin Abdullah from the 20th July to 5 September 1951, due to the schizophrenia of King Talal, who was in a Swiss mental hospital.
    • A regency council (Ibrahim Hashim, Suleiman Toukan, Abdul Rahman Rusheidat and chairing Queen-mother Zein al-Sharaf) took over after the king's forced abdication and remained in office from 4 June 1952 to 2 May 1953, until King Hussein came of age.
  • Crown Prince Hassan, from 4 July 1998 to 19 January 1999 while his brother King Hussein was undergoing cancer treatments.



Malaysia and its constitutive monarchies


  • Tengku Muhammad Ismail (eight-years of age) co-reigns with the three-member Regency Advisory Council (Majlis Penasihat Pemangku Raja). His father, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin the Sultan of Terengganumarker was elected as 13th King of Malaysia. The Malaysian constitution does not allow a simultaneous reign as both the King of Malaysia and as Monarch of the King's native state (deemed absent on the State throne). Sultan Mizan was crowned as King on 13 December 2006 and the prince as the Regent (Pemangku Raja) of Terengganu effective on the same date.






Saudi Arabia




United Kingdom and its constitutive realms



Regents in various former Monarchies

The same notes apply; inclusion in this list reflects the political reality, regardless of claims to the throne.

Afghan monarchies

Before the 1881 unification, there were essentially four rulers' capitals: Kabulmarker, Heratmarker, Qandaharmarker and Peshawarmarker (the last now in Pakistan); all their rulers belonged to the Abdali tribal group, whose name was changed to Dorrani with Ahmad Shah Abdali. They belong either to the Saddozay segment of the Popalzay clan (typically styled padshah, king) or to the Mohammadzay segment of the Barakzay clan (typically with the style Amir, in full Amir al-Mo´menin "Leader of the Faithful"). The Mohammadzay also furnished the Saddozay kings frequently with top counselors, who served occasionally as (Minister-)regents, identified with the epithet Mohammadzay.



  • Stefan Stambolov, during the absence of Prince Alexander Battenberg from the Bulgarian throne between 28 August 1886 and 3 September 1886 and the vacancy of the throne between 7 September 1886 and 14 August 1887.
  • Prince Kyril of Preslav, during the minority of his dead brother (Boris III)'s son, Simeon II (1943–1944).





After the abdication of Nicholas II of Russia, the throne of the Grand Duke of Finland was vacant and according to the constitution of 1772, a regent was installed by the Finnish Parliament during the first two years of Finnish independence, before the country was declared a republic.



German monarchies











Saxe-Coburg and Gotha





  • Queen Ka ahumanu, between 1824–1832 during the rule of the infant Kamehameha III; she was also Kuhina Nui (co-ruler), regent, of Kamehameha II
  • Elizabeth Kīna u, between 5 June 1832–17 March 1833 after Ka ahumanu's death and before Kamehameha III became 20 years old




Vakataka Kingdom



Both before and during the British raj (colonial rule), most of India was ruled by several hundred native princely house, many of which have known regencies, under the raj subject to British approval


In the short-lived Hashemite kingdom, there were three regencies in the reign of the third and last king Faysal II (b. 1935 – d. 1958; also Head of the 'Arab Union', a federation with the Hashemite sister-kingdom Jordan, from 14 February 1958) :
  • 4 April 1939 – 1 April 1941 Abdul Ilah (1st time) (b. 1913 – d. 1958)
  • 1 April 1941 – 1 June 1941 Sharaf ibn Rajih al-Fawwaz (b. 1880 – d. 1955)
  • 1 June 1941 – 2 May 1953 Abdul Ilah (2nd time)

Italian former principalities


  • Louise of Artois (1854–1859), during the minority of her son duke Robert I.







Other uses

In the ancient independent miniature republic of San Marinomarker, a landlocked enclave within central Italy, the two Captains Regent, or Capitani Reggenti, are elected semi-annually (they serve a six-month term) as joint heads of state and of government.

Occasionally, the term regent refers to positions lower than the ruler of a country.
  • In the Dutch republic of the United Provinces, the members of the ruling class, not formally hereditary but de facto patricians, were known collectively as regenten (the Dutch plural for regent)
  • In the Dutch East Indiesmarker, a regent was a native prince allowed to rule de facto colonized 'state' as a regentschap (see that term). Consequently, in the successor state of Indonesiamarker, the term regent is used in English to mean a bupati (local government official).
  • Also used in private spheres, for instance, some university managers in North America are called regents, or the members of certain governing bodies of lofty institutions, such as the national banks, in France and (imitating) Belgium.
  • Again in Belgium and France, but far lower on the social ladder, (Régént in French; or in Dutch) Regent is the official title of a secondary school teacher of the lower years (equivalent to junior high school), who does not require a college degree but is trained solely for education in a specialized écôle normale = normal school.
  • A management board for a college or university; this is commonly stated as: "Board of Regents".
  • In the Philippinesmarker, specifically, the University of Santo Tomasmarker, the Father Regent, who must be a Dominican priest and is often also a teacher, serves as the College/Faculty/Institute's Spiritual Head and the "owner" of that college, faculty or institution as the Dominican representative. They also form the Council of Regents that serves as the highest administrative council of the university.

See also

Sources and references

  1. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term as "A person appointed to administer a State because the Monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated."

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