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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: Comic Books]]

* In ''ComicBook/PathfinderWorldscape'', Empress Camilla (the Scandinavian ruler of a jungle city trapped in another dimension) employs White Martians (in other words, literally aliens) as both her bodyguards and street enforcers.


[[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. {{Justified}} because Hutts aren't exactly fit for combat, as shown by [[http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/1/19/JabbaPromo.png/revision/latest?cb=20161110010925 this image of what passes for fit among the Hutts]].


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'':
** The bodyguards for the Hereditary President of the People's Republic of Haven are all from Neo Geneva, partially due to tradition but mostly because (rightly) doesn't trust any Havenites and the Genevans have a reputation for the utmost loyalty. They're intended to be a parallel to the French Kings' Gardes-Suisses (see Real Life).
** 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'' Princess 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 Scottish 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 UsefulNotes/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. Orm's brother Are and Olof Summerbird both served in the Varangian Guard in Constantinople.
* 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.
* In ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'', the tyrannical rulers of [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny Cascadia]] depend on foreign mercenaries, mostly Swedes and Czechs, to protect their persons and enforce their rule.


[[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]].)
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' occasionally showed Nausicaans serving in this capacity.


* In one particularly odd example, "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani (also known as the lead singer of the band Music/NoDoubt) describes Gwen's Japanese ''backup dancers'' thus:
-->I'd get me four Harajuku girls to\\
Inspire me, and they'd come to my rescue\\
I'd dress them wicked, I'd give them names\\
Love, Angel, Music, Baby -- hurry up and come and save me

[[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]].
* The Kingsglaive in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'' are tasked with the protection of the Lucian royal family and carrying out other sensitive missions outside the purview of the regular military. The prequel film ''Anime/KingsglaiveFinalFantasyXV'' reveals that almost all the members of the Kingsglaive are immigrants from Lucian vassal states. This turns out to be a problem when Lucis's negotiations with TheEmpire and its expanding borders means politics stops being local and starts affecting their homelands.
* Prince Sebastian Lacroix in ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' has a hulking African vampire, who is completely mute, [[TheDragon as his Sheriff]]. Considering vampires normally tend to be {{Manipulative Bastard}}s who avoid direct confrontation if they can avoid it, his unknown origins, inability/unwillingness to speak and physical power makes him very good at his job. [[spoiler:He is the FinalBoss of the game if you choose to go after Lacroix in the ending.]]
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** In the backstory, the [[SnakePeople Tsaesci]] of [[{{Wutai}} Akavir]] invaded Tamriel in the late 1st Era during the reign of Reman Cyrodiil. Reman was able to defeat them, using the [[MakeMeWannaShout Thu'um]] against them at the decisive Battle of Pale Pass. The Tsaesci, who detest all [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]], recognized Reman as "Dragonborn," who they believe to be the ultimate dragon slayers. They surrendered and swore fealty to Reman, who incorporated the surviving Tsaesci into his armies and took their Dragonguard on as his [[PraetorianGuard personal bodyguard]] in the fashion of this trope. They would go on to influence [[AncientOrderOfProtectors the Blades]], who would act as spies and bodyguards for all later emperors of Tamriel (at least until the 4th Era when they were forcibly disbanded as part of the [[WonTheWarLostThePeace White-Gold Concordant]]).
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'''s ''Tribunal'' expansion, Hlaalu Helseth, King of Morrowind, has this going on. His strongest bodyguard, Karrod, is a Redguard. The Captain of the [[PraetorianGuard Royal Guards]], Tienius Delitian, is an Imperial. Alusannah, another Redguard, is the personal bodyguard of Helseth's mother Barenziah. There are still plenty of Dunmer Royal Guards -- although notably, none of the guards that followed Helseth to Morrowind were Bretons despite that he came from High Rock (the Breton home province) after having lived as a prince of a regional kingdom there for ''at least'' nearly two decades.
* In ''Videogame/ForHonor'', the Shugoki class were originally this for the Dawn Empire. The trailer for the class states that the Shugoki were new allies who joined the Dawn Empire's people when they settled their new lands, and served as bodyguards and protectors. Since then, they have "become as family" to the people living in the Dawn Empire, to the point that two Shugoki are considered Daimyo who can vie for the Imperial throne.

[[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 ]]
* The UrExample would be [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_German_Bodyguard The Imperial German Bodyguard]], a cadre of Germans (from outside the borders of the UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire) whose job it was to guard the Julio-Claudian emperors. The most important thing they defended them from was the PraetorianGuard. Yes, the early emperors of Rome had a group of bodyguards, [[WhoWatchesTheWatchmen whose job it was to protect them from their own bodyguards]].
* UsefulNotes/TheByzantineEmpire followed the Roman tradition, hiring personal guards during its long history from such diverse foreign ethnicities as Armenians, Kievan Rus, Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Sicilians and Turks. The most famous of these cadres was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_army#Foreign_and_mercenary_soldiers The Varangian Guard]], which was founded by the Rus and later became a favoured career option for Scandinavian nobles and exiled Anglo-Saxons post-conquest.
* The Western TropeCodifier today is likely the Swiss Guards that 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 [[UsefulNotes/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 and they wear more practical, monochrome uniforms while at it.
* The Gardes-Suisses (Swiss Guards) of the French kings, including the more ceremonial body-guards, the Cents-Suisses (Hundred Swiss). During the UsefulNotes/FrenchRevolution 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.
** The French monarchy also had the Garde Écossaise (Scots Guards), originally a company of knights and mounted archers part of a Scottish expeditionary force during UsefulNotes/TheHundredYearsWar that king Charles VII kept with him. With time they formally became his bodyguards, and, as their ranks were enlarged and filled with Frenchmen, became the first company of the Garde du Corps du Roi (Bodyguards of the King), the main cavalry regiment of the royal guard.
* [[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.
* 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.
* During the [[UsefulNotes/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).
** The Ottomans likely got this idea from the Ghilmans, slave-soldiers of Turkic origin used in Muslim Persia after the rise of the Abbasid dynasty, and the also-foreign-slave-soldier Mamluks of Egypt. Similarly to the Janissaries, these ended up laxing their standards and getting locals involved, got too much temporal power and rebelled against their rulers (or, in the case of the Mamluks, ''became'' the rulers).
* 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.
* During the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar, the Nationalists' ''regulares'', colonial troops drawn from the native populations of Spain's North African colonies, so distinguished themselves in battle that after the war Franco formed a personal guard known as the ''Guardia Mora'' (Moorish Guard), who dressed in exotic native uniforms and rode white Arabian horses.