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Power behind the throne

The title of power behind the throne refers to a person or group that informally exercises the "real" power of an office. In politics, it often refers to the spouse, aide, or adivsor of a political leader who exercises a higher degree of political involvement than his or her "official" position would suggest.

For example, in American politics Vice President Dick Cheney has often been characterized as being the "power behind the throne" of the George W. Bush Administration. Similarly, Hillary Clinton was often accused of exercising similar power over her husband's government during his presidency.

The term dates back to Medieval times, in which a confident of the monarch would often dictate the policies of the king.

see also: figurehead, oligarchy.

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