Royal court

A royal court, often called simply a court when the royal context is clear, is an extended royal household in a monarchy, including all those who regularly attend on a monarch, or another central figure. Hence, the word "court" may also be applied to the coterie of a senior member of the nobility. Royal courts may have their seat in a designated place, several specific places, or be a mobile, itinerant court.

Bartolomeu de Gusmão presenting his invention to the court of John V of Portugal.

In the largest courts, the royal households, many thousands of individuals comprised the court. These courtiers included the monarch or noble's camarilla and retinue, household, nobility, clergy, those with court appointments, bodyguards, and may also include emissaries from other kingdoms or visitors to the court. Foreign princes and foreign nobility in exile may also seek refuge at a court.

Near Eastern and Far Eastern courts often included the harem and concubines as well as eunuchs who fulfilled a variety of functions. At times, the harem was walled off and separate from the rest of the residence of the monarch. In Asia, concubines were often a more visible part of the court. Lower ranking servants and bodyguards were not properly called courtiers, though they might be included as part of the court or royal household in the broadest definition. Entertainers and others may have been counted as part of the court.


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