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[[quoteright:279:[[TabletopGame/{{Eberron}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/122610_CN_GL_1170.jpg]]]]

->''I can think of no better men to serve as my bodyguard than those who rescued me from the Ye-tai and guarded me so well during all the long months at Gwailor''
-->-- ''[[Literature/BelisariusSeries In The Heart Of Darkness]]''

A character of great power or wealth has their importance underscored by having a cadre of bodyguards from a foreign land. These guards will be elite, disciplined, faintly exotic, and extremely competent.

In fiction, this is usually reserved for villains. The EvilOverlord, EvilChancellor, EvilPrince, and PresidentEvil all need foreigners to protect them because it's hard to trust your citizenry when you spend most of your day exploiting and oppressing them. Don't be surprised if they are commanded by TheDragon.

Contrary to [[HollywoodHistory Hollywood's portrayal]], foreign bodyguards were historically [[RealityIsUnrealistic very common and very respected]]. This, of course, pre-dates all the negative stereotypes associated with PrivateMilitaryContractors, when hiring mercs was a common way of raising an army; mercenaries who distinguished themselves on the battlefield stood a good chance of being offered a bodyguarding job, which was essentially a permanent exclusive contract. In their favor, a foreigner's loyalty was largely independent from domestic politics, which prevented BodyguardBetrayal and palace revolutions; and with their [[BlingOfWar exotic look and weapons]], they added a welcome [[ErmineCapeEffect touch of grandiosity]] to a ruler's court, ceremonial and public presentation.

Part of the StandardRoyalCourt. Whether their charge is [[MyMasterRightOrWrong good or evil]], they'll stick to their [[IGaveMyWord oath of service]]. They are probably from a ProudWarriorRace, and might be TheRemnant. Could overlap with BodyguardBabes, if the babes are foreign. Usually does ''not'' accompany a BodyguardCrush. A subtrope to PraetorianGuard.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/{{Jormungand}}'', in both the anime and manga versions, almost all of the arms dealers have bodyguards, though only notably Koko and Casper Hekmatyar have truly diverse cadres of bodyguards.


[[folder: Fan Works ]]

* In ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' Kaiba hires German Nazis to work as security guards.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/LuckyNumberSlevin'': The Rabbi hires two BadassIsraeli bodyguards to protect his son from assassination.
* ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'' and his bodyguard, Oddjob.
* ''Film/AustinPowersInternationalManOfMystery'' has Dr. Evil and Random Task, a parody of Oddjob.
* ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'': Jabba the Hutt relies on brutish Gamorrean guards for security.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'':
** The bodyguards for the Hereditary President of the People's Republic of Haven are all from Neo Geneva.
** Honor's armsmen hail from Grayson, prompting some ruffled feathers when she has to take ''armed'' foreign nationals onto Her Majesty's warships. Though this is ''technically'' an aversion, because Honor has dual Manticoran and Grayson citizenship (and titles).
* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'': The Irish hero is guarded by the [[BattleButler Butler]] family, of Caucasian (as in, from the Caucasus) descent.
* In the ''Literature/BelisariusSeries'' the BadassPrincess Shakuntala has a unit of Kushans that were originally her ''captors'' before she convinced them in a CrowningMomentOfAwesome that she was a much more honorable not to mention much prettier employer. It was assumed that anyone who was {{Badass}} enough to keep Shakuntala captive should also be able to keep her alive.
** The BigBad Link has bodyguards from Khmer(Cambodia), both eunuch-soldiers and professional assassins.
* In ''Literature/StarTrekVanguard'', the KnowledgeBroker Chathani has several Anticans serving as her bodyguards. She mentions that Antican guards are known across the Taurus Reach for their loyalty, and thus it's implied a fully Antican detail is a status symbol.
* ''Literature/{{Deryni}}'': The Marluk and his daughter Charissa of Tolan seem to favor black robed Moors as their personal bodyguards and chief lieutenants.
* El Patron of ''Literature/HouseOfTheScorpion'' had a bunch of Irish hooligans as bodyguards, including a couple former terrorists.
* Subverted in ''[[Literature/TalesOfTheBranionRealm The Granite Shield]]'', in which knights from an [[FantasyCounterpartCulture alternate England]] cross the border to protect a Welsh pretender to their own throne during a religious schism between the two.
* In ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'', the Keldara are descendants of Scots and Vikings brought into the Byzantine Empire to serve in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian_Guard Varangian Guard]], and serve as this to the Keldar (a position always held by a foreigner) in the present.
* It being a fantasy version of ByzantineEmpire the Videssian emperor in various books by Creator/HarryTurtledove has his Halogaland guard of large men with axes from the frozen north.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''
** Prince Doran Martell's personal bodyguard is Areo Hotah, a foreigner trained by the bearded priests of Norvos.
** For a short time, Tyrion Lannister has bodyguards who are leaders of the various mountain clans that he has recently recruited. The mountain clans are from within the borders of the Seven Kingdoms but exist outside of its feudal society. Although not suited to the DeadlyDecadentCourt of Kings Landing, Tyrion wants soldiers who are loyal to him personally, as opposed to Lannister household guards who might be beholden to another member of his BigScrewedUpFamily.
* In ''Literature/DiamondSwordWoodenSword'', the Emperor of Mel'in is guarded by naturalized Freefolk warriors.
* In ''Literature/TheLongShips'' Orm and his companions serve in the Almohad Caliph Al-Mansur's bodyguard for several years.
* As a ProudWarriorRace, the Noghri in the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' often appear in this role. Notably, the titular Grand Admiral in ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'' invokes their species' debt to the Empire to secure their services as his bodyguards and assassins. In the same trilogy, Leia picks up a pair of Noghri bodyguards as well, due to her status as "Lady Vader." She keeps these bodyguards for years afterwards.
* In ''Literature/{{TheBlackCompany}}'', in the later novels, the leaders of Taglios, the officers of the Black Company, and at least one Shadowmaster have foreign bodyguards.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Michael Garibaldi goes on a mission to the Drazi homeworld. He meets a human friend working as a bodyguard. He tells Garibaldi that rich aliens hire human bodyguards as a status symbol.
* In ''Series/IClaudius'', one of the difficulties faced in assassinating Caligula is the large contingent of German guards he has around him. He apparently didn't trust his native-born Praetorian Guard and military officers very much ([[ProperlyParanoid with good reason]], [[BodyguardBetrayal as it turned out]].)
* ''StarTrek'' occasionally showed Nausicaans serving in this capacity.


[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' Classic, Book 4 ''Mercenary''. One of the mercenary tickets (scenarios) was to act as bodyguards to the leaders of the planet Jokotre while they made a pilgrimage to the shrines in the holy lands.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' a Dark Eldar Archon can have a cadre of xeno bodyguards for their protection, because they're not motivated by ChronicBackstabbingDisorder which is prevalent in most of the Dark Eldar. The usual bodyguard of choice (and the only ones there are currently game rules for) are the hulking four-armed snake-like Ssslyth, who are known for their loyalty.
** A less ostentatious variant are Incubi, who are Dark Eldar, but hail from a different Kabal. Since they aren't actually underlings of the Archon they're guarding, this protects both their charge ''and'' their true masters from the possibility of KlingonPromotion at the same time, while making one of them safer and the other richer.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}''
** The Phoenix Kings of the High Elves have traditionally been guarded by a contingent of Chracian White Lion Huntsmen, ever since an incident when the third Phoenix King Caledor the Conqueror had his life saved from Dark Elf Assassins while out hunting in Chrace himself. In that the Phoenix King is the sovereign ruler of Chrace along with the other nine kingdoms of Ulthuan, the White Lions are not mercenaries but loyal subjects, but since none of the twelve Phoenix Kings so far have ever been Chracians themselves, they're still foreign bodyguards in that sense.
** Warhammer's version of the Varangian Guard are Hungs and Norscans employed by rich citizens. [[AxCrazy Anyone who knows anything about their religion knows how stupid this is.]]
** The Regiments of Renown have a special character called the Paymaster, who is protected by four ogre bodyguards. If he dies, the regiment disbands since there's no one to pay them.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'', mercenaries and bodyguards are one of the main exports of Darguun, a nation of traditional monster races. (That's one of them in the page image above.)


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/JaggedAlliance 2'' while Deidranna mainly uses WeHaveReserves forced conscripts, at least one (the others may be, but they don't have names or faces) of her close bodyguards are foreign mercenaries. Of course, by the game's premise, all but a small handful of the party are foreign mercs as well.
* The relationship between the hanar and the drell in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' is this trope on a species level. Since the hanar rescued the drell from dying out on their starved and overpopulated homeworld, many drell choose to serve them in some fashion and serve as assassins for them.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'', protagonist Corvo Attano is not a native of the island of Gristol where the game takes place, and whose Empress he is the bodyguard of. However, this isn't a regular occurrence. In fact, Corvo is the ''first'' non-Gristolian Royal Protector in recorded history, and there is much speculation in-universe as to what bearing this has on his actions and motivations.
* One of the possible endings for [[PlayerCharacter Spectre's]] mercenary company in ''Videogame/{{MechWarrior}} 4: Mercenaries'' is to earn a cushy contract serving as these for Peter Davion-Steiner's regime after helping lead them to victory over their rivals ([[BigScrewedUpFamily the Steiner-Davions]]). Spectre even notes that [[WrittenByTheWinners the "official histories"]] downplayed his role but, hey, he's [[MoneyDearBoy getting paid enough not to care]].


[[folder: Visual Novel ]]

* In ''[[VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth Ace Attorney Investigation 2]]'', The President of Zheng Fa hired a private security firm during his visit to Gourd Lake. As explained by the game, this is due to the President's remarkably strained relationship with the police force of Zheng Fa, not exactly helped by his dwindling popularity.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/EbinAndMay'' Lord Valkyn and Lady Rani were MagicKnight guards to Ebin's family from some distant land. When the Felineous Empire invaded they remained loyal [[BodyGuardBetrayal unlike the rest of the Royal Guard]] and got him out of the country.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': Azula, the Fire Nation princess, brings back Dai Li agents from the Earth Kingdom and they serve as her own personal elite squad of guards. This ends up being particularly useful to her during the eclipse: the eclipse may turn off Firebending, severely limiting a Firebender's ability to fight, but the Dai Li are Earthbenders, and thus are unaffected.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'': Isis is hired to protect the pope from an assassination plot by a group of Swiss guards. [[OnlySaneMan Lana]] is incensed to discover that [[BunnyEarsLawyer Archer]]'s opinion of them is based on their ceremonial gear, and didn't bring guns because they won't need them against halberds, which he notes aren't very practical.
-->"Of ''course'' they aren't! That's why ''now''... they carry '''[=MP5s=]'''!"


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Possibly the Western TropeCodifier: The Swiss Guards which protect the Pope. The silly pants may make them seem a little like {{Bunny Ears Lawyer}}s, but they were a terror on the battlefield in the late 1400s to early 1500s, and they retain their tradition faithfully. And while they ''look'' silly, anyone trying to do harm to His Holiness will come to realize, to their detriment, that they are ''highly'' trained military professionals--they have all completed basic training with the [[SwissWithArmyKnives Swiss Army]], are chosen according to exacting standards of physical fitness, and are given further training once they arrive in the Guards. And although they are most often seen with their ceremonial weapons (swords and halberds) for guard duty, this is in reality their version of the 18th-century uniforms worn by the BritishRoyalGuards; when actually guarding the Pope, they carry the standard-issue weapons of the Swiss Army: the [[CoolGuns/{{Handguns}} SIG Sauer P220 handgun]], the [[CoolGuns/AssaultRifles SIG SG 550 assault rifle]], and the [[CoolGuns/SubmachineGuns MP5]] submachine gun.
* Scots Archer Guard of Kings of France.
* The Gardes-Suisses (Swiss Guards) of the French kings, including the more ceremonial body-guards, the Cents-Suisses (Hundred Swiss). During the French Revolution they, unlike the Gardes-Francaises (French Guards), who sympathized with the Revolution, remained true to Louis XVI and were killed during the storming of the Tuileries in 1792.
* [[UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte Napoleon]]'s Imperial Guard included a squadron of Mamluks (the nucleus of which had been brought over from Egypt, although as time progressed more and more Frenchmen filled the ranks), a regiment of Polish lancers (raised in 1806/7), and a squadron of Lithuanian Tatars (raised in 1812). One squadron of Polish Lancers accompanied him to exile in Elba and later served in the Waterloo campaign.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_army#Foreign_and_mercenary_soldiers Varangian Guard]] pre-date the Swiss Guards by centuries, though they are less well known today.
** After 1066 AD, the Guard was recruited primarily of Englishmen, known as ''Anglovaragginoi''.
** The Turcopoles of Kingdom of Jerusalem. Name means "Sons of Turks".
** Gianitzaroi archer guard and Vardariotes mounted guard of the later Byzantine Empire. The former is close enough to Janissary to refer a guard of ex-Muslim converts to Christianity. Vardariotes were Hungarian mounted archers.
** And before the use of the Varangians the emperor was most often defended by a unit of extremely well trained Armenians.
* OlderThanFeudalism: King David's Kerethites and Pelethites (Cretans and Philistines) in 2 Samuel 15 in Literature/TheBible
* The Eastern TropeCodifier? The Circassian Guard which protects the King of Jordan.
* The Roman emperors had the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equites_singulares_Augusti Equites singulares Augusti]], a cavalry suplement to the PraetorianGuard infantry. It was primary composed of provincials who were not Roman citizens or Italians, particularly those from Batavi Germanic tribe. See also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_bodyguard the Germanic bodyguards]] who predated the Praetorian Guard.
* During the [[RedOctober Russian Civil War]], the Red top brass was guarded by the Latvian Riflemen. Also, they got Chinese mercenaries -- usually converted from workers who ended up "marooned" when the empire gone down. These were also used in the guards role. which later was codified as the special unit: "The First International Legion of Red Army".
* African mercenaries seem to be the personal choice of many dictators, when the loyalty of their own army becomes suspect. Due to the frequent wars and disintegrating states in parts of African many of these are quite experienced and well equipped.
* The Ottoman Empire's Janissaries, who were Christian children enslaved at a young age from subject territories (mostly those in eastern Europe) and trained into elite military units. The system was engineered to create and ensure loyalty to the Ottoman Sultan alone and prevent the rise of a native military and bureaucratic aristocracy that could rival him. The several Janissary revolts happened once this way of recruiting loosened (as early as the end of the 16th century; it totally ended in the 18th).
* King of Poland John Sobieski used former Janissaries taken as [=POWs=] as part of his ''[[BadassArmy Autorament]]''.
* The Walloon Guards. Walloons from Belgium who protected the monarchs of Spain from 1734 to 1820.
* In 1373 the ruling regent of Cyprus, John of Antioch, was convinced by his sister-in-law, Eleanor, that his Bulgarian bodyguards were going to betray him, and had them all thrown off the highest tower of St Hilarion Castle. Eleanor had him killed a very short time later.
* The Presidential Guard of Gabon was officered until the late 90s by veterans of the French Foreign Legion, particularly the disbanded 1st Parachute Regiment. One of them, Louis-Pierre "Loulou" Martin, served President Omar Bongo from 1967 to 1993.
* Watchguard International (established by SAS founder David Stirling) used to supply ex-SAS and British military bodyguards for African and Arabian leaders. The suggestion has been made that this was an unofficial means of maintaining a British presence in former colonies who might find it politically unacceptable to ask for British military aid.