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Lord Protector

The Lord Protector was an English governmental title used by the de-facto head of state during the brief period of the republic or "Commonwealth" in Great Britain and Ireland. Oliver Cromwell and afterwards his son Richard Cromwell were the Lords Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland during the period 1649 to 1659.

The title of Lord Protector was not an invention of Cromwell's, however. It had previously been used by princes or other nobles exercising a regency while the heir apparent was still a minor. The most notable example of this is Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) who was Lord Protector to the 'Princes in the Tower'.