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Praetorian Guard

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"These men are my bodyguards, their lives forfeit to the guarantee of my physical safety. Of their loyalty to me there shall be no question nor doubt."
The Emperor, Warhammer 40,000, regarding the Adeptus Custodes

Whenever a story has an army, there's almost always some kind of elite group that serve as the guardians of the leader.

The Big Bad is much more likely to have a dedicated group of elite bodyguards than the story's Big Good or other equivalent-ranking good guy. This might be because the good leader often has a Kirk-like tendency to lead his soldiers into battle, even if logically it seems like a bad idea to have your leader be the first person you send into every potentially dangerous situation. Then again Authority Equals Asskicking. The occasional exceptions form the Hero Secret Service. Another notable exception is any fictional representation of the real-life Secret Service (typically American, but also occasionally Her Majesty's). A princess may also have a solitary male bodyguard that she sometimes finds herself attracted to (and vice-versa).


In Real Life, the Praetorian Guard was a special force originally intended to serve as a Roman general's bodyguard in combat, but the term was later restricted to the elite personal guard of the Roman Emperors. As a bodyguard unit, they proved to be a miserable failure, as they soon became horribly corrupt and very frequently wound up playing kingmaker. Nine separate emperors were killed by the guard itself, and others were deserted by the guard to be overthrown or killed by others. In some cases the Guard literally sold the Imperial office to the highest bidder, then turned on their new master when he failed to deliver on his extravagant promises. Roman Emperors began employing foreign bodyguards (mostly from Germania) to protect themselves. In other words, the early emperors of Rome had a unit of bodyguards whose job was to protect them from their other bodyguards.


Tend to favor Scary Impractical Armor, Bling of War and a Blade on a Stick. Despite their elite status, they have an unusual tendency to stand around not doing much fighting—of course, as long as their boss is keeping out of trouble, that's precisely their job.

Sometimes overlaps with Elite Mooks, Superpowered Mooks, and Amazon Brigade when they are Bodyguard Babes. If they are generally recruited from another nation, they are a Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards. If they never actually go into a fight, then it's just palette swapped normal infantry (the real Praetorian Guard were palette-swapped standard legionaries; they wore nice purple tunics). May or may not be under the control of State Sec.

If the leader or subject being guarded doesn't really need protection, they may be Bodyguarding a Badass.

This item is available in the Trope Co. catalogue.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Royal Guards in ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. are very proud of their Undying Loyalty to the royals they protect. They idolize Abend, a guard who died protecting his princess. That's the public story, at least.
  • The Knights of the Round in Code Geass. Also, the Zero squad. Don't do much difference in battles, but Kallen is very attached to her post as Captain of Zero's personal guard.
  • Bleach:
    • The Zero Division, the Royal Special Task Force (commonly called the Royal Guard by fans), is tasked with protecting the Soul King. Its members are all captain-class shinigami promoted from the Gotei-13. It's said that the five of them alone are stronger than the entirety of the thirteen divisions.
    • The Big Bad and leader of the Vandenreich, Yhwach, also has a guard of his own, formed by four high-ranked Sternritters named the Schutzstaffel: Gerard Valkyrie, Lille Barro, Askin Nakk Le Vaar and Pernida Parnkgjas. They utterly crush the Royal Guard above.
  • The Guardian Senshi (Sailor Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Jupiter) in Sailor Moon. Their purpose is to protect the future Neo-Queen Serenity. Also, in the manga and likely in the Crystal anime, the Shitennou (Kunzite, Zoisite, Jadeite, and Nephrite), Prince Endymion's former generals; and the Sailor Quartet (Sailor Ceres, Sailor Pallas, Sailor Juno, and Sailor Vesta) Chibiusa's protectors.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn you can measure eliteness by the elaborateness of the mecha sleeves. Sinanju has goldplated sleeves and Frontal's royal guard have the same decorations but in white. They also have spike shoulder armor upgrades. Normal cannon fodder only have stripes. For the Londo Bell, the 12 Jesta units, Ace Custom of Jegans serve as this role as they escort the Unicorn Gundam and handle non-Newtype enemies so the Unicorn can focus on destroying enemy Newtype weapons.
  • The men of the Shogun's harem in Ooku form one as part of their duties. In a Japan decimated by a gendercide plague, they're probably the largest group of armed men available.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Meryuem, the Chimera Ant King, has inherited the three Royal Guards Neferpitou, Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi from his mother when she gave him birth and died. Each of the guards is more powerful than the Hunter Commitee's Chairman Isaac Netero, and the king is much more powerful than them, of course. Only Neferpitou is killed in combat, while the other two get infected by the poison which is infected on Meryuem when Netero blows up himself with the Miniature Rose. The poison kills all three of them.
    • The Mafia also had the Shadow Beasts, a group of ten highly-trained, highly-skilled fighters with an Animal Motif, one for each of the Ten Dons. The Phantom Troupe kills them all in a hurry—while Uvogin almost perishes through his recklessness, Feitan gets rid of the remaining ones effortlessly.
  • FAITH (Fast Acting Integrated Tactical Headquarters) in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. They're a ZAFT special ops unit that only answers to Chairman Durandal. While they're not the Chairman's bodyguards full-time, they do end up protecting him during the Armory One attack, and serving him during the Battle of Messiah.
  • In Attack on Titan, the Military Police, whose ranks are made up of only the top ten trainees of each class, count "bodyguard for the king" among their duties. The irony that this means that those with the most skill at fighting titans are kept the farthest away from the fighting is fully lampshaded, although the main character's class is the exception as several of the top ten volunteer for the front line instead. Later it also emerges that the Military Police are hopelessly corrupt.
  • Dragon Ball Z has Zarbon, Dodoria and the Ginyu Force be this for the galactic warlord Frieza. Zarbon and Dodoria are constantly at Frieza's side, while The Ginyu Force is called in to deal with threats too powerful for Zarbon and Dodoria, but not yet threatening enough for Frieza to personally intervene. In this case, it isn't because Frieza is a Non-Action Guy who needs bodyguards (at this point, he's pretty much the strongest entity in the universe, and leagues beyond Captain Ginyu, who's his strongest subordinate). Frieza takes this trope seriously too, he prefers to wait for the Ginyu Force to arrive rather than deal with the heroes himself, though this is partly because all of his scouters had been destroyed and he had no way of tracking them.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Zen'o is consistently flanked by a pair of bodyguards. Of course, if you're dealing with Zen'o, the bodyguards are probably the least dangerous thing in the room.
  • In Fairy Tail the Alvarez Empire's ruler has the Spriggan 12, the hand-picked guards of Emperor Spriggan (aka Zeref, the Big Bad), who are all on par with, if not stronger than the Ten Wizard Saints of Ishgal. They also have the benefit of being at the top of the chain of command of Alvarez's military with many of them possessing their own personal squads. They are: God Serena (the former #1 Wizard Saint), Brandish μ, Invel Yura, Ajeel Raml, DiMaria Yesta, Wall Eehto, Bloodman, Neinhart, Jacob Lessio, August, Irene Belserion, and Larcade.
  • Rose of Versailles is a rare example of the protagonist belonging to one: Oscar is part of the Gardes du Corps du Roi (translates as "Bodyguards of the King") and later transfers to the Gardes Françaises (French Guards), both regiments of the Maison Militaire du Roi (Military Household of the King), the royal guards. See below in Real Life for more.
  • The Egypt 9 Glory Gods in Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are this to DIO, they're all much stronger than the Tarot Users (except Oingo and Boingo ) and are the last obstacle to DIO's hideout in Egypt. Vanilla Ice counts too, being The Dragon and extremely loyal to DIO, and is also the only villain in Part 3 to kill two main characters permanently.
  • In Overlord (2012), the Pleiades combat maids serve as Momonga/Ainz's personal bodyguards and the last line of defense of the Great Tomb of Nazarick.

    Comic Books 
  • BIONICLE has a few examples of these:
    • Big Bad Makuta had the Manas crabs in the first year's storyline, and the Rahkshi in the Mask of Light
    • Roodaka and Sidorak both had troops of Kahgarak elite guards.
    • The Bohrok swarm had the Bohrok-Kal, which where deployed as soon as the swarm's Bahrag Queens where defeated.
    • Subversion: The Toa Hagah were originally bodyguards of the Makuta, but when they found out that the Makuta had become evil, they promptly did a Heel–Face Turn and stole the Makuta's Achilles' Heel, the Mask of Light.
  • Marvel Comics' Black Panther has the Dora Milaje, an Amazon Brigade who have even managed to take down the Black Widow. In previous generations, they were also the king's wives, but T'Challa broke this tradition and freed the women from obligating themselves beyond protection. Too bad one of them was actually looking forward to being his wife and didn't want to take "no" for an answer.
  • Marvel also has the Shi'ar Empire's Praetorian Guard who protect the Ruler. They're lead by Gladiator and are made up of some of the most powerful beings in the empire. Though in the aftermath of War of Kings, Gladiator himself becomes the ruler of the empire.
  • Star Wars: Legacy has the Imperial Knights, Jedi who are loyal to the Emperor, and are decked out in red armor sans helmets (see the page pic). Given that the Emperor in this setting isn't evil, neither are his Knights, though they can tend towards the arrogant Jerkass end of the scale. Of course, the Sith seize the throne, forcing Roan Fel into exile in the first issue of the comic. They also take their duty to the extreme. They must protect the Emperor from all threats - including himself. If an Emperor falls to The Dark Side, it is their job to try and redeem him, if that fails, then they must kill him. He does, and they do the latter.
    • Also appearing in the Fate of the Jedi books, courtesy of Tahiri Veila.
    • Star Wars: Crimson Empire features some of the survivors of Palpatine's Royal Guards, who are actually seen in action rather and prove to be very deadly fighters despite (usually) not being Force-sensitive.
  • Asterix: When Asterix and Obelix are at Rome, Obelix wants to fight the Praetorian Guard thinking they are like the common legionaries that patrol the Gaul that Obelix easily defeats with his Super Strength. Asterix quickly convinces Obelix they are Elite Mooks, and they could certainly kill Obelix because, given his Super Strength, Obelix has never had the need to learn how to fight. The only way to take them out is to do so one at a time with stealth.
  • Red Sonja: When she became Queen of Songaria, Sonja was guarded by her all-female bodyguards, the Red Sisters. Unusually for this trope, all of these women were also princesses and the actual heirs of the throne, but they all agreed to hand it to Sonja after she helped save Songaria from invaders and they have vowed to protect her life unquestionably. Unfortunately, over the course of the Queen Sonja series, they die one by one until only one remains and Sonja opts to abdicate and leave the last survivor as queen.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The Sangtee Emperor has a set of guards seen standing silently behind them, dressed differently than the other Sangtee guards and troops. Oddly they are missing during the climactic confrontation.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): The Circle were Queen Hippolyta's loyal personal guards for centuries, before faulty logic and paranoia led them to betray their queen and try to kill her newborn daughter.

    Fan Works 
  • Along Came a Spider surrounds almost all leaders with these. After failing to live up to this, the First Royal Guards are replaced as the Archon's protectors by their sister regiment.
  • Flash Sentry is promoted to Twilight Sparkle's bodyguard in What Hath Joined Together. His superior Captain Ironhoof literally recommended anypony but Flash because Flash is competition for Twilight's affection and the captain (rightfully) suspects him of having a Bodyguard Crush, but Celestia and Twilight insisted on it.
  • The Kompanions serve as Maledict's personal bodyguards in Sonic X: Dark Chaos, as the most elite of the Nephilim/Hell Knights. Their job is mostly ceremonial, and they spend more time guarding important diplomats and foreigners than Maledict - who doesn't need guards at all. However, Episode 75 shows that they're so skilled and well-trained that they can each individually battle Jesus himself in one-on-one combat.
  • Just Before the Dawn features Celestia's Praetorians prominently, after the main protagonist is promoted to the unit at the start of the story.
  • The Royal Guards and the Knights of Round are supposed to be this for Emperor Lelouch in My Mirror, Sword and Shield. The Royal Guards is filled with spoiled noble second sons and end up being wiped out in their first battle. The Knights of Round backstabbed Lelouch twice on separate occasions due to their own agendas. The only loyal and competent Praetorian Guard is Suzaku.
  • In RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse, we have the Night Guard of Princess Luna. They are set apart from the regular Equestrian armies by their enchanted armor, which in addition to strength and speed boosts grants a glamor that makes them appear to have slitted eyes, tufted ears, bat wings, and fangs (Luna finds that having her Guard look really scary can be quite useful).
  • After the Eighteenth Royal Mechanized Infantry Division is disbanded in Davion & Davion (Deceased) the lone remaining regiment takes on the job of keeping Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky alive.
  • In The Unabridged Memoirs of Darth Plagueis the Wise, Plagueis still has his Sun Guards, as per canon. Later on the story, after Dooku manipulates his way into the Supreme Chancellorship, he reassigns the office's contingent of Senatorial Guards elsewhere, and replaces them with a handful of handpicked Jedi, whom the media dub the "Chancery Knights".
  • Multiple in The Bridge.
    • The Night Guard currently protect Luna and Celestia, but they were originally a set of separatists who thought Princess Celestia was a tyrannical overlord and Nightmare Moon was trying to implement a republic. They promptly repented and switched sides when they found out how horribly wrong they were.
    • After his Heel–Face Turn and being forgiven by Shining Armor and Princess Cadance for using the latter as bait to ambush King Sombra, Xenilla gives a vow of protection to them and the empire with the specific duty of safeguarding the royal family and their unborn child.
  • In Purple Days, tired of the Kingsguard's incompetence and the lack of a worthy military corps, Joff establishes the Royal Guard, gathering recruits from secondborn noble scions and bastards. This gets him learned warriors with some fighting experience, but who are not proper nobility (and thus will be amenable to a merit-based promotion system, rather than Westeros' noble-led armies) and see the Guard as the perfect means to do something worthy with their lives. With continuous drilling and diligent training, the Guard and a Raider force destroy Renly's massive army with only minor losses.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Memorizing Gaze is the Royal Protector of the Badlands Changeling Hive, born to protect its Royal Family, and takes up that duty again when Page finally accepts her position as Queen. His triplet brothers serve a similar function for the Hivemind Body and the Sages of the Past.
  • In Queen of Shadows, whichever one of the Generals is serving as Yojimbo, their tribe serves as the bodyguards and personal attendants of the Queen.
  • Chasing Dragons:
    • After he becomes King of Westeros, Stannis replaces the defunct Kingsguard with the Royal Order of the Storm (or Stormguard for short, though the current Lord Commander hates that name). They have the exact same role and duty as the Kingsguard, just with a vastly expanded roster.
    • Once the Sunset Company take over Myr and establish a new kingdom, they eventually set up the Brotherhood of the Broken Chain to serve as bodyguards for Robert (and his family once he starts one). They're composed of a mix of knights and freed slaves, and unlike the Kingsguard or Stormguard aren't expected to serve for life or denounce having families, but are expected to protect the royal family with their lives.
  • The Weaver Option has the Dawnbreaker Guard. Formerly defunct, the order is resurrected by the Blood Angels to create a force powerful enough to defend their Barrier Maiden.
  • Various examples can be found in Wilhuff Tarkin, Hero of the Rebellion:
    • In the present time, Tarkin has a unit of Nova Troopers, elite Stormtroopers in black armor also known as Death Troopers-that, due Palpatine trusting Tarkin too much, are hand-picked from his pre-Empire command, the Outland Regions Security Force, allowing him to turn them to the Rebellion with ease.
      • Aside for the Death Troopers he also has the Legion Executrix, the Stormtrooper legion assigned to his personal Star Destroyer Executrix-also raised from the Outland Regions Security Force aside for a single Clonetrooper battalion (Obi-Wan's old 212th Attack Battalion).
    • In the pre-Clone Wars era, the Dark Acolyte served as this for Dooku, with Asajj Ventress serving as his personal bodyguard in at least one occasion. Ventress knows perfectly that Dooku is actually far more powerful than her, and her musings reveal that they have that job because rulers and politically important people are supposed to have bodyguards and lightsaber-wielding Force users are showy enough for the job.
    • In the same period, the governor of the Seswenna Sector had the Guard Divisions of the Outland Regions Security Force, dedicated units that are periodically rotated to other duties to maintain their edge as soldiers. During Dooku and Ventress' visit on Eriadu, one officer had a vibrosword lined with cortosis, ready to take on them if necessary.
      • Aside for the soldiers, the Seswenna governor has more subtle security to deal with assassins. They're quite efficient, and Ventress notes that the one who came close enough to a reception for her to spot him had been let arrive there just so the security could show off to her by "disappearing" him.
    • The Senate Guard gets a brief mention in Ventress' musings, and are dismissed as mere decoration.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Praetorian Guard in Gladiator show some of the real-life unit's fickleness in regard to defending the emperor. Their captain, Quintus, is Maximus' old friend and comrade-at-arms, and privy to some of Commodus' worst behaviour — in the climactic duel, he countermands Commodus' order to Give Me a Sword, leaving the emperor to fight at a disadvantage.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Senate Guard (aka the Blue Guard) served as these for the Galactic Senate are a rare heroic example.
    • The Phantom Menace has the Naboo Palace Guard another heroic example that are said to form the backbone of the Royal Naboo Security Forces and are seen guarding Padmé when she is a senator in Attack of the Clones.
    • The Red Guard, latter the Royal Guards, serving Palpatine. Adorned in their blood-red robes, and armed with lethal "force pikes." They serve basically as set dressing for the films, doing absolutely nothing but looking scary in the background. The prequels riff on this by making it look like we'll finally get to see one in action, but he gets smacked aside by Yoda and forgotten. As shown in Rogue One, they can also be lent to Darth Vader. Star Wars Rebels finally shows some of them in action with specialized force pikes and they give Ezra Bridger significant trouble, but he was lightsaber-less at the time and eventually took them down with the Force.
    • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the Clone Wars animated series, General Grievous has a personal guard of MagnaGuard droids, who fight with electrostaffs and are skilled enough to fight Jedi in melee combat. Star Wars: The Clone Wars showed Dooku using them on occasion as well and Expanded Universe state they were based on a previous group of Praetorian Guards from back in his days as a Kaleesh Warlord.
      • Revenge Of The Sith also has the Neimoidain Beetle Guard seen guarding the separatist leaders on Mustafar. They don't appear the to put up much of a fight against Vader seeing as they appear to have been slaughtered offscreen after he seals the room.
    • In The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke has his own red-clad bodyguards (actually called The Praetorian Guard), armed with weapons capable of shifting into multiple forms, who are elite enough to give both Rey and Kylo Ren a run for their money.
    • The death of the Praetorian Guard in The Last Jedi resulted in Kylo Ren taking the Knights of Ren to be his own equivalent in The Rise of Skywalker, and they happen to be Force-sensitive, though crudely so.
  • The Immortals of the Persian army in 300.
    • Leonidas's 300 are themselves his "bodyguard" for the purpose of leaving Sparta with him.
  • The Lord of the Rings features a number of these. In Rohan you see the Royal Guard, recognisable by their uniform appearance including floor-length scale hauberks (a couple of speaking roles wear their uniform such as Gamling and Hama), then in Minas Tirith there are actually two kinds- the Citadel Guard who follow Denethor around and the guards of the Court of the Fountain who guard the White Tree rather than an actual person.
  • In Forbidden City Cop, each member of the Chinese emperor's personal guard is a master of a different martial arts technique, except for Ling Ling Fat ("008"), played by Stephen Chow, who earned a spot through a family legacy. He's also the only one who lives to the end of the movie.
  • The Master of the Flying Guillotine and an unnamed mook with a robotic hand and hockey mask in Violent Shit III: Infantry of Doom.
  • Equilibrium: The real leader of Libria Dupont has himself a group of Sweepers (designated with a green armband) protecting his office, as well as a group of bodyguards armed with katanas. They're not very effective against the hero.
  • Pow Wow Highway: Cheyenne activist Buddy is targeted by the conservative tribal chief's GOONS (Guardians Of the Oglala Nation) when he visits an Oglala Reservation. Based on an actual organization known by that acronym.
  • In The Dictator, Aladeen has an Amazon Brigade in an homage to the all-female guards of Muammar Gaddafi.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, each of the Abrasax siblings have their own Royal Guard. Balem doesn't rely on them as much as the others in favor of Mr. Greeghan and his men. Jupiter is also informed that she's entitled to a Royal Guard by law, after being legitimized.
  • In The Great Wall the Queen of the Tao Tei monsters has a protective circle of large, gorilla-like guards surrounding her at all times. When attacked, the guards spread their shield-like frills to defend the Queen from bombardment, and are sturdy enough to withstand even flaming catapults.

  • Dune: Imperial Sardaukar.
  • The Kingsguard, and later its derivatives, the Queensguard and the Rainbow Guard, of A Song of Ice and Fire. They're supposed to be made up of the seven greatest warriors in service to the monarch at that time, and for most of their history, they are. Deconstructed with the Kingsguard; they used to be appropriately badass, but after Robert's Rebellion leads to all but 2 of them dying and getting replaced with fighters of lesser quality, things start to go to hell quickly. At the end of the first book command of the Kingsguard is transferred to Jaime "Kingslayer" Lannister, and things go further downhill from there. As the books progress, more members of the Kingsguard die in the war, and their replacements, instead of being selected for their skill with a sword or devotion to duty, are chosen for political reasons. Cersei eventually ensures that with the exception of Jaime (who is crippled and away at war), Balon Swann (who has been sent south to Dorne) and Loras Tyrell (who was badly injured while trying to take a castle) all of the appointees are terrible fighters—so when she frames Queen Margaery for treason, Margaery has no choice but to select an incompetent fighter for a champion in her trial. It backfires spectacularly when Cersei herself is charged with treason. Also somewhat deconstructed with the Queensguard, in service to Dany, as it has never had more than one member at a time.
  • The Lord of the Rings has a number of guard units, most notably the Citadel Guard of Minas Tirith which Pippin joins.
  • The Deathwatch Guards from Seanchan in The Wheel of Time. Most non-Borderlander countries have elite formations that serve this purpose (the Companions of Illian, the Tairen Defenders of the Stone, Mayene's Winged Guards, and the like). Then there's the Dragon Reborn's personal Maidens of the Spear, who have a "complex" relationship with Rand.
    • Elayne has the Queen's Guard, a unit of women whose uniform is designed to make people underestimate them.
  • The Fanatical Praetorians in Daniel Pinkwater's Young Adult Novel, a bunch of short guys in sailor hats organized by Kevin Shapiro to protect him, issue his orders and intimidate even the teachers at Himmler High School.
  • The Lord Rahl has two sets: Musclebound male bodyguards, and two thousand elite soldiers known as the First File. After Richard frees the Mord-Sith, they become a third set.
    • Jagang has his elite core of soldiers that guard him and spearhead assaults with the rabble as extra weight. They are bigger, tougher, stupider, and better-armed than the normal troops.
  • Lord Ebondrake from the Warhammer 40,000 novel Hammer of Daemons has his Ophidian Guard.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Grayson steadholders (effectively higher-level nobility in command of the equivalent of states) has the Steadholder's Own tasked to protect them, though each Steadholder is limited to 50 armsmen to prevent anyone building up a private army. This actually becomes a bit of a problem, when Honor returns to her duties as a RMN officer. Since Grayson law demands that a steadholder never travels without his (or her) guards, this comes into conflict with the RMN regulation forbidding non-RMN personnel walking around armed aboard RMN warships.
    • At one point, Honor inadvertently creates a constitutional crisis when she forms The Elysian Space Navy, due to the above limitation on personal armsmen. This is averted by having her hand control of it over to Protector Benjamin, ruler of Grayson, who renames them The Protector's Own Squadron, effectively giving him a Praetorian Fleet.
    • Then there is the Queen's Own tasked to protect the Manticoran Royal Family
    • The Totenkopf Hussars which serve as the household guard of the Andermani Emperor and his family.
    • Queen Berry of Torch has a more ad hoc Praetorian Guard comprised of a mix of female scrag mercenaries and members of the Audubon Ballroom. They are later supplemented by members of the Beowulf Biological Survey Corp.
    • The People's Republic of Haven uses foreign Space Swiss mercenaries — they certainly wouldn't trust their own people. Their paranoia is justified, and the next government who rises to power after killing off the previous government uses State Sec troops for their personal guard.
  • The Emperor of Videssos (A Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Byzantine Empire) from Harry Turtledove's books has a guard of pagan Halogai warriors. This may seem rather unlikely in a culture so obsessed with the doctrinal purity of their religion, but apparently the logic is that the Halogai can't get involved in such denominational squabbles and the palace intrigue that goes with them. And it's Truth in Television - the real Byzantine Emperors had a Varangian (Viking) Guard.
  • The Prince Roger Series is all about one of these units- with its work seriously cut out for it. Within the first chapter, a plot by ambitious politicians of the Empire leads to the spoilt, nancy third-born prince and his Bronze Battalion being stranded with him on a serious Death World. It got worse, much worse ( and the prince got better).
  • The Palace Guard in early Discworld books, most notably Guards! Guards!. In later books, while Vetinari does keep the guards and gives them orders to accept all bribes, he relies mostly on Vetinari Job Security (and, if entirely necessary, his own assassin skills) to keep himself alive. While still active in later books, Vetinari reduced their role with the introduction of Dark Clerks, unobtrusive, quiet and efficient staff that just happens to be mostly drawn from the most promising graduates of the Assassins' Guild.
  • A number of the Primarchs in the Horus Heresy series have Praetorian guards of one stripe or another - Fulgrim's Phoenix Guard, Ferrus Manus's Morlocks, Mortarion's Deathshroud, Sanguinius's Sanguinary Guard (not yet appearing on the page, but the recent re-release of the Blood Angels codex includes them). There are probably others, whose primarchs have not had their day in the limelight yet. Some definitely don't these, though, in particular thus far, Horus, Russnote  and Magnus. The Emperor's are the most badass of all though - the Adeptus Custodes. And that ignores all the army commanders who have their own, including the infamous Lucifer Blacks in Legion whose leader is possibly the single most Badass Normal in the entire setting, after fencing a primarch to a standstill with an unpowered sabre, and wounding him.
  • In Falkenberg's Legion, Vice President Bradford attempts this. He has Falkenberg organize a brigade composed of trusted party members and officers loyal to Bradford. Unfortunately for him, Falkenberg uses the would-be Praetorian Guard to take the brunt of the fighting.
    • The government of Hadley also has a formal Presidential Guard, but their loyalties are questionable.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Seekers of the Sky duology, the State (the Europe-spanning empire) had Praetorian Legions as elite troops. Several such legions are mentioned with the Grey Vests being the most badass (they all had guns, a rarity in this world). Their counterparts in the Russian Khanate are the Semetskiy Guards. Nothing is known of the counterparts in the third power, China.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • The Imperial Royal Guards wipe out small armies by themselves. Before the Empire, they were the Red Guard and were the security detail of the Supreme Chancellor.
    • The Senate Guards and Senate Commandos during the Clone Wars, who are in charge of the protection of the galactic senators and representatives and can also assist regular forces on some missions. They are also humans for the most part, and not clones, unlike the regular army. They are considered an elite group.
    • In The Courtship of Princess Leia the Hapan Royal Guard are introduced, tasked with safeguarding the Hapans' royal family.
    • Fate of the Jedi: Head of State Natasi Daala doesn't trust her own military forces, so she uses Mandalorians for several tasks besides just protection, like fighting Jedi, and massacring slave revolts. This is just like the successors of the Trope Namer, the Varangian Guard, made up of Vikings.
    • Even better fitting the trope, Star Wars: Legacy's Imperial Knights start up in this series, courtesy of Tahiri Veila.
    • The Jedi Temple Guards are this to the Jedi Order.
    • In the Hand of Thrawn duology, Grodin Tierce was a Guardsman who had survived fifteen years after Endor, choosing to appear as a normal soldier because to do otherwise would be to seek special privileges. He served as the tactical, planning part of his Big Bad Triumvirate, though bit by bit he became more and more important in it. Really he was a clone of the now-dead Guardsman Tierce, with some of Thrawn's mind added in.
    • In Young Jedi Knights there was an arc with four Guardsmen trying to make it look like the Emperor lived again by editing holofootage of him, in direct violation of We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future.
    • The X-Wing Series had a more minor appearance. In The Bacta War, Ysanne Isard had a few Guardsmen around. The viewpoint character, unaware that the armor includes AC, pitied them. This was in a hot climate, and they had heavy scarlet robes.
    • The Purge Troopers are this to the Inquisitorius made up of both clones and non-clones alike.
    • The Slayers, named in honor of the Yuuzhan Vong war god, from the last book of the New Jedi Order.
  • As it is set in the Byzantine era, they show up frequently in the Belisarius Series:
    • Kungas and his Kushans serve as this for Shakuntala. Interestingly she knew them first as her prison guards but they were so effective and conscientious at this that she was perfectly happy to have them as bodyguards. They in turn were happy to serve a monarch they could respect.
    • The Ye-Tai are described as performing this role for the Malwa. As they are outside the caste system, their high place in the social hierarchy is entirely due to their role as the Malwa's elite soldiers.
    • Discussed, with regard to Link's assassins. As an elite, they are highly trained but frequently have little actual experience. "As Praetorian Guards have done throughout history, they had slipped from being killers to murderers."
  • Subverted with the Steel Inquisitors in Mistborn. Yeah, they're by far the most badass of the Lord Ruler's minions and a couple of them accompany him at all times, but that's mostly because he doesn't like to do his own dirty work. He's actually far more powerful than any Inquisitor, illustrated in the climax of the first book when two characters take care of almost all the Inquisitors in the capital city and think they've won the revolution, only to be curbstomped by the Lord Ruler himself effortlessly.
  • In Animorphs, each Visser had his or her own personal guard unit. Visser Three's was the Blue Band Hork-Bajir.
    • Also, the Orff, a race of aliens who act as security agents to the Council of Thirteen.
  • In The Dresden Files series, most notably seen in Summer Knight, the Fairy Queen of Summer and Fairy Queen of Winter both have respective Knights who would hold a piece of their power in exchange for loyalty and protecting them.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, each Count of Barrayar is limited to twenty armsmen to prevent them from having large private armies that could threaten civil war. Naturally every armsman is a badass. Armsmen are assigned not merely to guard the count and his family but to carry out local police duties.
  • The Aristoks of Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm have three distinct forces - the commoner Palace Guard, the noble Shield Knights, and the religious Flame Champions.
  • The Reynard Cycle:
  • In the Tortall Universe, there are three basic military bodies in Tortall; the knights, the army and the Queen's Riders. There is also the King's Own, composed of a variety of knights, soldiers, and fighters all dedicated to the King (specifically, Jonathan), and who act as his bodyguard. For the vast majority of the series Raoul acts as their leader, while Sir Alanna acts as the King's Champion.
  • In The Lost Regiment, the Vushka Hush are the elite warriors of the Merki Horde. They comprise several full umens (a full umen is 10,000) of finest warriors the Merki have to offer, being both excellent mounted swordsmen and horse archers. When going into battle, they chant "Vushka! Vushka!", sending fear into their enemies, especially since the Merki are 9 foot tall and love the taste of human flesh. And yet, the titular regiment (the 35th Maine Volunteer Infantry) along with their Rus' and Roum allies manage to gut the Vushka, using American Civil War-era weapons and training to counter the numerical advantage of the enemy.
  • The Age of Fire series has the griffaran, the dragon/griffin-like creatures that serve as an outer layer of defense for the Lavadome, as well as personal bodyguards of the Tyr.
  • The Regiment in Hammer's Slammers has the White Mice, the personal guard and military police of Colonel Alois Hammer. In later novels, the old Regiment, after conquering Nieuw Friesland, becomes this.
  • The Tyrant's Guard in The Dinosaur Lords, who serve as bodyguards and policing force to the Emperor of Nuevaropa. The "Tyrant" in the name refers to T. Rexes.
  • In Words of Radiance, Bridge Four becomes the Praetorian Guard of the Kholin family after most of their previous bodyguards died in the Battle of the Tower in The Way of Kings.
  • Realm of the Elderlings:
    • The King's Guard at the start of the series, though that's about as far as they are described.
    • During Royal Assassin, Queen-in-Waiting Kettricken acquieres her own Queen's Guard, who are inspired by her own courage and prowess in battle and decide she needs her own guard.
  • The Crimson Shadow: Cyclopian soldiers named this not only guard King Greensparrow, but also serve as elite troops.
  • In The Witchlands, the Marstoki Adders are the elite bodyguards to the Empress of Marstok. They're notable in-universe for every member being a Poisonwitch.
  • The Queen's Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner, has two examples, one heroic and one villainous. Attolia has the Palace Guard, who serve primarily as the personal bodyguards of the king and queen, although their complete devotion to the queen also makes them a core part of the regular army during times of war. By the end of the third book, the Genre Savvy king has made plans to halve the Guard specifically to avoid the possibility of a Kingmaker Scenario. The fifth book introduces the Namreen, loosely based on the Immortals of the Achaemenid Empire, who are the personal guards of the Persian-esque emperor and pose the greatest threat to the protagonists for most of the book.
  • Aeon 14:
    • ISF Marines start guarding the President of the Transcend after the Battle of New Canaan.
    • In The Empress and the Ambassador, Empress Diana has the Impera Protego (dog-Latin for "Imperial Protectors"), since the Scipio Empire uses a Space Romans motif. She's actually Genre Savvy about it, fully aware that the historical Praetorians often mounted Military Coups against the emperor, as the Impera Protego indeed attempts over dislike of her newly inked alliance with the Transcend.
  • Magic, Metahumans, Martians and Mushroom Clouds: An Alternate Cold War: During the 1960s, Francisco Franco recruits a group of five metahumans to act as his elite bodyguards. Not much information is given on them, but their loyalty is stated to be absolute.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Kingsguard are seven knights sworn to serve for life protecting the king. Traditionally they are supposed to be great warriors and paragons of chivalry, but few actually live up to this and like the real Praetorians one of them was responsible for the death of the previous king, though unlike them it has not become a habit. Barristan Selmy is Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, before he is coerced into "retiring."
    • Dothraki khals are attended by their bloodriders (e.g. Kovarro, Rakharo), but their Asskicking Equals Authority culture means they are Bodyguarding a Badass.
    • After Cersei crowns herself Queen Regnant, she assembles a new Queensguard consisting of undead Giant Mooks renanimated by Maester Qyburn's black alchemy, headed by an undead Gregor Clegane.
  • I, Claudius. After Caligula is assassinated (while being protected by German mercenaries, who presumably would be less open to conspiracy than Roman guards) drunken Praetorians annoyed at the imminent demise of their jobs find Claudius hiding behind a curtain and declare him Emperor almost against his wishes. Which is what happened in real life, though whether the real Claudius was as reluctant as his TV version is another question. The actual Praetorian Guard unsurprisingly play a fairly major role in the miniseries.
  • Caligula's assassination and the subsequent elevation of Claudius to Emperor play out similarly in The Caesars; sick of Caligula's tyranny in general and his embarrassing watchwords (such as "Cupid" and "Loveykins") in particular, the Praetorian Guard join an already-forming conspiracy against Caligula and carry out the actual murder. They then find a terrified Claudius hiding behind a curtain and, needing an Emperor to ensure their job security, declare him Emperor on the spot (in contrast to I, Claudius, he is portrayed as more surprised than reluctant).
  • In the MacGyver (1985) episode "Humanity", MacGyver tangles with the K-Force, a group of Praetorian Guard still loyal to Romania's dead tyrant.
  • While they don't fully count as Praetorian Guards, Admiral Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is occasionally followed by a group of Colonial Marine bodyguards. They don't become particularly noticeable until the second half of Season 4, though, when the Fleet is breaking apart and the Adama/Roslin leadership is barely keeping order. A rare case when a "good" character has Praetorian Guards following him.
    • Roslin also had her own personal guard, consisting of non-military personnel (they were chosen from former private-security members and police officers) to avoid split loyalties between the military and the government.
    • Roslin's civilian guards are never seen again after their introduction in "Kobol's Last Gleaming"; later episodes have her and the Quorum guarded by Marines, perhaps signifying the increasing trust between Roslin and the military (which backfires on all concerned during The Mutiny).
    • When Gaeta launched his mutiny against Adama, one of the first things he did was organize a Praetorian Guard for himself.
    • Tom Zarek had one of these as well, composed of other former prisoners from the Astral Queen; they were primarily shown on the surface of Kobol, during renegade Roslin's alliance with Zarek.
  • Near the end of the second season of Primeval, Oliver Leek refers to the small army of future predators he's gathered as his "very own Praetorian Guard". Of course, as soon as they're free of his control, they promptly eat him.
  • Virtually every bad guy in the Batman (1966) live-action series had three goons who wore thematic uniforms and more often than not had their name on their shirt.
  • The Tribe:
    • Ebony's militia were a small group of ex-Locos (chaotic evil post-apunkalyptic teenage street fighters) who were loyal to Ebony and still wore the old team colors. When Ebony left the mall, she took the militia with her.
    • Billy-Boy, leader of the Jackals, was often accompanied by his own Goon Squad in Season 2.
    • As was Moz of the Mozquitoes in Season 3. The Guardian, leader of the religious cult "The Chosen," had the elite Praetorian Guard.
  • In Wild Palms, Senator Kreutzer used a group of well-dressed thugs as his Goon Squad and Secret Police. The main character witnessing them beating up a man in a restaurant, while all the other patrons ignored it, was one of the catalysts for his becoming aware that not all was as it seemed. Since Kreutzer is also a Cult Leader, he has his own paramilitary force who dress like sailors.
  • The Centauri Palace and Emperors in Babylon 5 are regularly shown being guarded by gold tunic & helmeted Imperial Palace Guards. Later episodes imply them to be more than merely glorified bodyguards but very capable soldiers and even perform covert ops and assassinations.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: All-Maudra Mayrin, the queen of the Vapra Clan and leader of all Gelfling Clans, has her own elite guard corps, the Paladins.

  • The song "March of the Varangian Guard" by the band Turisas is about (you guessed it) the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Empire (see under "Real Life" below)

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • The lifeguard of the kings of Judah, Cherethites and the Pelethites, first mentioned in 2 Sam 20:23. Modern research interpretes them as Cretans and Philisteans.
    • The Seraphim and similar angels could be interpreted as this for God. Not that God really needs protecting though.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The Purple Dragons of Cormyr in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting.
  • Most Headquarters units from Warhammer 40,000 have the option of purchasing bodyguards, be it a cadre of hand-picked Space Marine veterans, a mob of Ork Nobz, a Chaos warlord's Chosen, the disgusting little Nurglings that carry a demonic palanquin, the Tyranids' Tyrant Guards (literally bio-engineered to be walking meat shields), the Royal Court of a Necron Overlord and their Lychguard Bodyguards, an Imperial Guard CO's Command Squad, or the lethal Incubi of the Dark Eldar (who come from outside the Kabal and are therefore unlikely to try to usurp power). In most cases, these units spend the game with their commander, but in certain armies they can be split up to act as leaders for other squads.
    • The background material also features the Adeptus Custodes, golden-armored super soldiers bearing polearms with integrated storm bolters. It is said that a member of the Adeptus Custodes is to a Space Marine as a Space Marine is to an ordinary human. Though the Custodes took to the battlefields of the Great Crusade during the Imperium's founding, since the Horus Heresy they were consigned to Holy Terra where they guard the Imperial Palace, particularly the Golden Throne and the Emperor's inert form. Since the return of Roboute Guilliman however, they've taken to the battlefield again as the pretty much the most elite faction there is within the Imperium's military.
    • Note that the Praetorian Guard mentioned in Imperial histories is not this trope, instead being a pith-helmeted, red-coated Imperial Guard regiment from the planet Praetoria.
    • The Sisters of Battle started as the Brides of the Emperor, and were the personal bodyguards to Goge Vandire sometime during the Age of Apostasy. The Adeptus Custodes would later convince the head of the Brides that Vandire was corrupt and needed to die. In atonement for assisting the man who started the Age of Apostasy, they reformed themselves into the Sisters of Battle, due to the literal wording in the subsequent decree that the Ecclesiarchy (where Vandire started) could not have "men under arms".
  • Warhammer:
    • Similarly, most factions in have one of these, usually called the "[X] Guard" and armed with a Blade on a Stick: The High Elf White Lions act as bodyguards to the Phoenix King, and the Maiden Guard for the Everqueen. The Reiksguard of the Empire serve as the Emperor's bodyguard. The Greatswords serve this role to Elector Counts. The Temple Guard of the Slann Mage-Lords for the Lizardmen. The Black Guard for the Dark Elf king. The Hammerers for the Dwarfs. Stormvermin for the Skaven. Tomb Guard for the Tomb Kings...
    • One sourcebook mentions an equivalent to the Varangian Guard, where wealthy merchants and aristocrats hire Norsca mercenaries as bodyguards. As Norsca are the original Chaos worshippers, this is a very bad idea that only the stupidest or pompous noble would try out. Too bad that describes the vast majority of Imperial aristocracy...
  • Seen in the BattleTech universe with the Draconis Combine's Otomo and the Capellan Death Commandos. The former may do more actual bodyguard work while the latter have plenty of other tasks to perform as well, but in both cases their loyalty is first and foremost directly to their respective House Lord.
    • The Clans have their "Keshik" units, which serve this function for their Khans.
  • In Eberron there the Brelish Citadel (aka Secret Service) which has four branches that represent various aspects of the trope. As the King of Breland is a good guy, this also makes them a good example of the trope. None of the branches actually report to the Brelish Parliament, instead answering only to the King himself. As representatives of the King, they can conscript any Brelish Civilians to help them, refusing is considered treason.
    • "The King's Shields" are warriors in charge of being bodyguards for the royal family and visiting foreign dignitary.
    • "The King's Swords" are an elite offensive task force serving the king.
    • "The King's Dark Lanterns" form an intelligence/counterintelligence agency, in charge of serving the King.
    • "The King's Shadows" are in charge of missions which the King of Breland wants no official ties to.
    • Outside Breland, the leader of the Thrane, both the Queen and the Speaker of the Flame, have their own Praetorian Guard. The Queen has the Knights of Thrane, while the Speaker of the Flame has a dragonhound. A magically bred animal that resembles a 6 legged mix between a dragon and a grizzly that automatically becomes loyal to whoever is the current Speaker of the Flame. It is sentient and even the cardinals of the church give it a wide berth. Of course, since the current Speaker of the Flame is an 11-year-old girl, she treats it like a pet.
    • The head of house Thuranni has two Shadows (undeads made out of shadows) acting as his bodyguards.
    • The Undying Court of Aerenal depends on the Deathguard for protection.
  • In Traveller it is the right of High Nobles and The Emperor to maintain "Huscarles". These are different from private armies and merc bands because they have legal enforcement powers and are therefore only allowed to certain nobles, notably those who are serving as provincial governors. Their form is naturally up to the GM. The most obvious form of Huscarl band might be a large clump of muscle but a game that involves Huscarls as a Nobles personal investigative team, for instance, might be worth considering.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings, the Seppun family bushi, known as the Miharu, serve the Emperor in this fashion.
  • Magic: The Gathering: there are a number of cards that represent elite bodyguards in the flavour, with Konda's Hatamoto from Kamigawa block being the most obvious.
  • The Holy Order of the Heaven, bodyguards and private army of the Emperor (now Empress) of Abel in Anima: Beyond Fantasy, that includes some of the best combatants in the setting.
  • In Rocket Age every Martian prince needs royal guards and armies, considering the sheer likelihood of assassination. Many others Royal and Priest castes also have personal guards and sometimes even entire legions at their disposal.

    Video Games 
  • Half-Life 2 has the Combine Elite, the creme de la creme of the Combine Overwatch whose job is essentially as the final line of defence for the Combine regime and its head Dr. Breen. They only start to show up near the end of the game as it becomes clear that you're getting closer to winning.
  • In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, while never seen, there are several mentions of a Lombax elite guard called the Lombax Praetorian Guard.
  • The Total War hybrid TBS / RTS series usually gives faction leaders and heirs special "bodyguard" units that accompany them into battle. Rome: Total War, naturally, features the Praetorian Guards as elite heavy infantry.
  • San d'Oria has the Royal Guard, Windurst has the Patriarch Protectors, Bastok has the Mythril Musketeers, and there are also the Immortals of Aht Urhgan in Final Fantasy XI.
    • The Knights of Pluto act as the personal guards to the Alexandrian Royal Family in Final Fantasy IX.
    • In addition to being the supreme commanders of the military, the Judge Magisters from Final Fantasy XII serve as bodyguards to the Imperial family of Archadia.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout much of the series and in the Backstory, the Blades act as this for the Emperor of Tamriel. In addition to acting as the Emperor's elite bodyguards, they also act as spies throughout the Empire. You get an opportunity to join them in each game since Morrowind (and in Daggerfall you are technically an agent of the Blades from the intro movie on, even if nothing says you have to remain loyal).
    • The Blades were inspired and influenced by the Akaviri Dragonguard, who were taken on by founder of the Second Tamriellic Empire, Reman Cyrodiil, after he defeated them during their invasion of Tamriel. After using the Thu'um against them during the decisive Battle of Pale Pass, they recognized Reman as "Dragonborn" and swore fealty to him, becoming a Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards as his personal bodyguard.
    • In Morrowind's Tribunal expansion, Almalexia has the elite "Her Hands" High Ordinators in this role. Her rival in the power struggle over Mournhold, King Hlaalu Helseth, has the more Imperial-styled Royal Guards in this role. Helseth also has a Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards situation going on, with his Guard Captain being an Imperial, and his toughest and most loyal bodyguard a Redguard. (He also employs several other Imperials and Redguards among his palace guard.)
    • In Oblivion, Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, has the Valkynaz, the highest caste of Dremora, in this role.
    • Skyrim:
      • With the Blades having been officially disbanded as a term of the White-Gold Concordat (and the survivors ruthlessly hunted by the Thalmor), the Penitus Oculatus has taken over as the Emperor's bodyguard force. While the Blades were essentially One-Man Army katana-wielding Samurai, the Penitus Oculatus are just standard Imperial soldiers wearing darker armor, Subverting the trope.
      • The Dragonborn can help to rebuild the Blades, who are then oath-bound to serve the Dragonborn. However, in practice, they mostly just boss around the Dragonborn and refuse to continuing helping them unless the Dragonborn kills Paarthurnax, the Heel-Face Turned leader of the Greybeards who has been a great help to the Dragonborn and to mankind in general.
    • In the Action-Adventure spin-off game The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, two Vermai, a pair of blind and aggressive lesser Daedra serve in this fashion to N'Gasta, the infamous Sload necromancer.
  • In World of Warcraft, the most famous royal guards in the game are Warchief Thrall's Kor'Kron Elite. Most other racial leaders just use regular city guards.
    • The Kor'kron in Shadowmoon Village in Outland are a stronger version.
    • Also, the Stormwind Royal Guard for Stormwind and the Royal Guard for Silvermoon are there, There are also Royal Dreadguards in Undercity as well as the Shields of Velen in Exodar, and as of Wrath of the Lich King the Royal Guards are level 80 elites, not to be trifled with.
      • Warcraft III also had the Naga Royal Guards as the most powerful non-hero units in the game, even moreso than the Doomguard.
      • Admiral's Elite Guard, the Chief Petty Officer and the Chief of Chaplains was the Praetorian guard of Admiral Proudmoore.
    • Queen Azshara's High Guard in the Well of Eternity instance
  • City of Heroes has Elite Mooks for virtually every faction in the game, and one or two even have a Praetorian Guard. The most noteworthy may be the Council's Ascendants, who are rumored to be the personal bodyguards of the Council's leader, the Center.
    • Then there is the alternate-dimension villain group called The Praetorians, whom are the evil version of the Freedom Phalanx hero group.
      • Incidentally, while the region called Praetoria is ruled by these alternate Freedom Phalanx members, who are known as Praetors, they are not Praetorian Guards. Their actual function serves as something between the enforcer and ranking police official. Of course, considering who the emperor is, he hardly needs them.
    • The Bane Spiders are referred to as being Lord Recluse's praetorian guard in their descriptions.
      • Well, one of his attacks summons about six billion of them...
  • Halo:
    • Halo 2 featured Honor Guard Elites and Honor Guard Brutes, who served as the personal bodyguards of the Covenant Prophets. Honor Guard Elites generally wielded energy swords or dual plasma rifles, while Honor Guard Brutes were immune to headshots (which were the Brutes' one weakness in Halo 2). They also had very big crown-like headwear that fanned out over a meter long, as opposed to the more practical helmets worn by regular Elites.
    • In Halo 3, the Brute Chieftain enemies are usually protected by a few Brute Bodyguards, who have slightly different-looking armor from the regular Brute soldiers. These Bodyguards supplant the Honor Guards from the previous game.
  • Agent 47 faces off against the creatively-named, possibly genetically enhanced Praetorians, the Big Bad's elite bodyguards in the epilogue of Hitman: Absolution. Their names? Aegis, Hoplon and Scutum.
  • The equivalent in Lost Souls MUD was the Millenarian Guard, imperial guard of the fallen Altrian Empire. Their remaining legacy in the present day of the setting is the spectacularly enchanted armour that was reserved just for them.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, Liquid Ocelot has the FROGs, an elite group of all-female soldiers who protect him and clear paths for him. One could argue that the Beauty and the Beast Corps are also Praetorian Guards, though they are offensive rather than defensive units. All of the above have power suits that are far superior to normal mooks' battle gear.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 has the Ocelot Unit, special Spetsnaz troops with distinguishing red berets that are only seen accompanying Ocelot.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the five Grand Cardinals, who double as bosses. The four Seraphim of Yggdrassil may also count, though at the time of the game all are either dead or rebelling against Yggdrassil, openly or otherwise.
  • The six God-Generals in Tales of the Abyss serve Van and double as bosses as well.
  • Gears of War 2 had Theron Palace Guards, a version of the Elite Mooks Theron Guards seen in the original Gears of War.
    • On the human side, Gears of War 3 has the Onyx Guard, who protect the Chairman of the COG as well as perform special operations under his direct command.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark: The Valsharess' precious Red Sisters.
  • The Superpowered Mooks Korean Nanosuit Soldiers in Crysis are supposed to be Big Bad General Kyong's personal bodyguards, which explains why they're so incredibly rare in the game (with almost all of them only seen in the level where you encounter General Kyong).
    • In Crysis Warhead, the Korean Nanosuit Soldiers seem to act as bodyguards for the new North Korean leader, Colonel Lee.
  • The Superpowered Mooks nano-augmented Elite Guard in Project: Snowblind are General Yan Lo's personal bodyguards, and only encountered in the General's bunker.
  • The Sopot Elite Guard in Red Faction 2 serve as totalitarian dictator Sopot's personal bodyguards.
  • Dwarf Fortress activates the Royal Guard when the appropriate noble arrives at your fortress. However, they do nothing aside from sparring since their role is only to reassure the nobility that they are in no danger whatsoever.
    • In theory at least, they also accompany the Tax Collector on his rounds.
  • Quake II has the Tank Commanders, which guard the Makron's palace. The only difference between them and regular Tanks is extra HP and a wicked red-gold paintjob.
  • The Legend of Zelda has Darknuts and Iron Knuckles, which qualify in several cases as guardians for Ganon and Vaati.
  • Almost every time Slogra and Gaibon appear in the Castlevania series, they are serving as an additional line of defense for Death. Even as bosses.
  • The NOL of BlazBlue literally has the Praetorian Guard, which is composed of elite members of other NOL divisions.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, since it allows you to go to the Vatican, naturally has Papal Guards. They are Kung Fu Proof Lightning Bruisers dressed largely in black, have Badass Capes and use a Sword and Gun.
    • One could argue that the Assassin recruits Ezio acquires throughout the game come to represent this as well, certainly a full force of rank 12 Assassino would qualify as an elite fighting force in their own right. A rare example of the Player Character of a game having an elite guard.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations replaces the Papal Guards with the Janissaries, who are equally deadly.
  • Fallout: New Vegas gives Caesar several praetorian guards, armed with shotgun fists. Subverted in that the Guards aren't the best soldiers available, they are just extremely devoted to Caesar and his ideals, and Caesar explains that once someone has been selected to join the Guard, they still have to kill a serving member in single combat to join. They're mostly found in Caesar's Tent, and serve as an obstacle against the natural inclination to shoot Caesar in the face the moment you meet him.
    • Not to be outdone, the NCR has their elite Rangers to both patrol the Mojave and guard VIPs. Chief Hanlon is so dedicated to the protector role that unless you convince him that doing so is lunacy, he will sacrifice the Rangers to the last man and woman to cover General Oliver's escape from Hoover Dam during the climatic battle—sacrificing fifty Rangers to save thousands of soldiers sent to Vegas on what he considers a fool's errand.
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade has the Honor Guard units in the campaign. They are earned by conquering certain territories and are essentially a beefed-up version of regular units or sometimes (in case of unique and vehicle units) a regular unit that doesn't count into the Arbitrary Headcount Limit.
  • Kid Icarus has a rare example of this trope not belonging to the Big Bad. Palutena has one in the form of the Centurions. Pit, the goddess' most loyal servant, is their leader.
  • Dark Souls has the Four Knights of Gwyn, an elite group of warriors that were Gwyn's most trusted soldiers. In the vanilla game, you kill their leader and only remaining living member of this group, Ornstein the Dragonslayer, and a wannabe member, Smough the Executioner. You also rob the grave and kill the Loyal Animal Companion of one of other ones, Artorias the Abysswalker.
    • In Artorias of the Abyss, you travel to the past when all four of them were still alive, have a pretty awesome boss fight with Artorias himself (who has been corrupted by the Abyss), and meet the other two Knights: Hawkeye Gough and Lord's Blade Ciaran, who thank you for freeing their friend from his torment. Like any neutral NPC, you have the option of killing them too. In fact, it's the only way to get their unique armour sets.
  • The Bratgirls from Crash of the Titans act as this for Nina. In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, the Stenches act as this for Cortex.
  • The first use of this for the Alien franchise was the Capcom Beat 'em Up Arcade Game Alien vs. Predator (Capcom), though they went by the name of "Royal Guard", while the "Praetorian" moniker would be be used in the 1999 First-Person Shooter Aliens vs. Predator. Accordingly, Praetorians are the largest and strongest of the xenomorph castes before the Alien Queen, protecting the latter and the egg chambers from intruders. Their physical characteristics and behavior varies from appearances, but a common trait are the Praetorians' having large, triangular-shaped heads like the Queen, yet slower, but tougher than the average Alien Drone or Warrior. And in some variations, if the current queen dies, one of the praetorians will metamorphose into a new queen to replace her.
  • StarCraft's Overmind is guarded by a Zerg brood called the Tiamat Brood, which are red in color. The bulk of their forces are air units, but they do provide special hero units in the campaign.
  • The Philip campaigns in the Hegemony Series have the Companion Cavalry, a strong heavy cavalry unit (and the only one for most of the beginning), and the first thing you do is have your king Philip join them.
  • The first Homeworld has the Taiidan Imperial Guard, tasked with both defending the emperor and Hiigara and general troubleshooting. Their ships are encountered four times: first a small group of tries to kill a defecting Taiidan officer (implied to be a member of the guard due his ship having the same paint job), and the player has to protect said officer; second time is at the border of the Hiigara system, when an insane number of frigates with their colours guard the Hyperspace Inibitor, as the emperor was scared that someone could try and attack his prize planet (both ships and Inibitors have been there for years); third time is when they ambush the Exiles by throwing a giant asteroid with engines at the Mothership, with their ships escorting the asteroid; finally they're the final opponent in the last level, forming both the first wave of attackers against the Mothership (other waves have the colours of the regular navy) and the last line of defense of the emperor's own mothership (in the same level the Taiidan Rebellion arrives bringing reinforcements, and their ships have the same paintjob).
    • The trope reappears in Homeworld 2, as Makaan's mothership is escorted by the elite of the Vaygr fleet. Sports also a good example, as the player-controlled Mothership Fleet escorts Karan S'jet in her desperate counteroffensive against the Vaygr.
  • Might and Magic: Heroes VI allows you to upgrade the Haven faction's Sentinels into Praetorians. The unit description states that they are the personal bodyguards of emperor Liam and can only be promoted during a ceremony which happens once a year; but they have the same recruiting mechanics as any other creature.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has the Elite Guard protecting the Kremlin in the final Allied mission, consisting of a number of defensive buildings and 4 elite Apocalypse Tanks that are very hard to take head-on (especially as their stationary, defensive role negates their drawback of being Mighty Glaciers). Since the regular Soviet forces are red, the Elite Guard are jet black.
  • March of War has the Immortals of the Shogun Empire. Think fanatically loyal Samurai who worship the Goddess of Death charging into battle clad in steel armor and packing 20mm auto-cannons.
  • Ramon Salazar of Resident Evil 4 had with him two "Verdugos" that were his most elite units. They're ghastly creatures with bladed hands and a spiked tail. He sics one of them on you (which he refers to as his "Right Hand") and then absorbs the other when he fuses with the Queen Plaga. Incidentally, Osmund Saddler (the true Big Bad) does not have any sort of elite guard units that accompany him and is often seen standing alone whenever he appears.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has the Elite Mutons, who function as both Elite Mooks and this trope. They are tougher and more heavily armed than the regular Mutons. Whenever entering the command area of a UFO where an Ethereal is present, there are almost always several Elite Mutons with it.
  • The Sheredyn in Endless Space are the bodyguard of the Emperor and their description compares them to the Praetorians. Since they also handle escorts, they built up significant infrastructure and a powerful economy to equip their ships. They are honor-bound and loyal to the Emperor, but in a radically change they assisted the ascension of Maximum Zelevas to the throne in exchange for more autonomy, becoming an effectively independent nation. The Sheredyn are an Elite Army, exchanging some of the Empire's economic abilities for combat-based abilities, such as preventing enemies from retreating.
  • Each faction has one in Total War: Warhammer. Grimgor Ironhide has a squad of Black Orcs called "Immortulz"—as Grimgor is a 9-foot-tall, 400-pound axe-wielding murder machine himself, this is a case of Bodyguarding a Badass. Thorgrim Grudgebearer, the High King of the Dwarves, is carried into battle by four Thronebearers who can fight very well. The Reiksguard of the Empire also qualify, as a knightly order who serve as the Emperor's personal bodyguard. The Vampire Counts have their own dark counterparts in the form of the Black Knights and the Grave Guard, fallen warriors from long before the time of the Empire reanimated as skeletal puppets to protect and serve their new vampire masters.
  • The Banner Saga 2 has the Elite Guard, the guard of King Meinolf. Boasting high stats and the shield wall ability used by most shield bearing humans, they also come with their own set of unique abilities. All Elite Guards on the field will attack any target in range when King Meinolf uses his King's Will ability, and even take damage on behalf of the king, meaning he can't die as long as at least one guard stands. According to a conversation between Egil and Prince Ludin at the start of the game, you must have a title to apply. Depending on your choices, thy can fight with you, or against you.
  • The Paladin order in Final Fantasy XIV trace their origins as the Sultansworn, the royal guard of the Sultan or Sultana of Ul'dah. Players who become paladins instead become a Free Paladin.
    • The Gunbreaker traces its origins to the long-lost "Gunnhildr's Blades", the personal soldiers of the queen of Ilsabard. The weapons they bear are named after this order: "Gunblades".
  • In Tyranny, the Disfavoured have the Iron Guard, Graven Ashe's inner circle who serve as both unit commanders, personal bodyguards and military advisors to the Archon of War. His counterpart in the Scarlet Chorus, The Voices of Nerat, have their own personal gang known as the Crimson Spears, whose members consist of the Scarlet Chorus' finest fighters.
  • AI War 2: There is a special fleet directly called the Praetorian Guard whose purpose is to safeguard the AI Overlord, and all planets close to it. They're not particularly active until you reach it, but as soon as the Overlord is at risk not only will they pile on the attack, they will also soak up all active ships that were waiting for a chance to strike to throw them at your attacking force, leading to massive battles just to hold the line where it is. And if you're following the Fallen Spire questline, the Praetorian guard gets some ships worthy of the title in the Dragons, powerful vessels that are experts at fending off Spirecraft; they're there to make sure you don't just rush your cruisers in and snipe the Overlord from the start.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Good-guy Elite Guard: Jazz, Sentinel Prime and Blurr serving under Ultra Magnus in Transformers Animated.
  • Transformers briefly had the Wreckers be such a guard for the team's political sponsor, Emirate Xaaron, until his untimely death.
    • Interesting, the Decepticon Ravage was part of one such guard for the last surviving Autobot Overlord...and promptly betrayed him in favor for Megatron. His Autobot counterpart Nightstalker, though, sacrificed himself for his liege.
    • The Transformers: Prime series introduced rookie Smokescreen, who received his training from the Elite Gaurd.
  • Azula of Avatar: The Last Airbender was introduced with the red-clad royal guard. However, they're not much more useful than usual, and Azula gets rid of them once her lieutenant screws up her plans.
    • Later on the Dai Li, the secret police of the Earth Kingdom, serve a similar purpose for her.
  • A rare good version is used in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra with the White Lotus serving in such a role for Korra as she's not yet mastered all the elements. This is dispensed with quickly, though the White Lotus does stay on to protect the world's only family of airbenders, as well as resuming their other responsibilities, such as protecting the world from dangerous criminals and promoting the public welfare.
  • In G.I. Joe, Cobra had the elite Crimson Guard who, amongst other duties, served as bodyguard to Cobra Commander.
  • The Shredder from the 2003 onwards Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series had the Foot, and then the Elite Foot who appeared from behind him, all the time, with massive straw hats. And big weapons.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Princess Celestia has a pair of grey unicorns who appear to be her throne room guards, and a pair of white pegasi who guard her while she travels. The pegasi have been shown to have British Royal Guard stoicism, even when prodded by Rainbow Dash.
    • Princess Luna has her own pegasi guards, who wear black & purple armor and sport demonic bat wings.
    • Funnily enough, this is a subversion of how the trope usually goes, since the Big Good of the story has a Praetorian Guard yet none of the villains seem to. Nightmare Moon relied purely on her personal vast magical power, and Discord is a one Draconequus apocalypse on his own.
    • Queen Chrysalis has an army, but it doesn't seem to comprise any elite guards in her first appearance. Her second, however, she has two changelings sporting armor and helmets that accompany her when she attacks Zecora's hideout.

    Real Life 
  • Named after the guards to the Emperors of Rome. As mentioned in the trope description, they weren't all that great at their job: between killing Caligula, and his next two successors bribing them upon claiming the throne, they came to the conclusion that they had the right to remove Emperors they didn't like, and not being paid off by the guy when he took the throne was grounds to do so.
    • And in all fairness, Caligula was a combination of being a Bad Boss, Too Dumb to Live, and especially a severe case of Bullying a Dragon. Caligula pretty much got away with most of the depravities, but doing them to the Praetorians would lead to his death.
    • Given that Claudius' bribe was offered mere minutes after the Praetorians slaughtered his nephew Caligula, along with the late Emperor's wife and daughter, it may have been intended as a please-don't-kill-me-too bribe.
    • On the flip side, they were considered the best troops Rome had, and when not on the field they went through constant training (extensive and constant drills with equipment much heavier than the one actually used in the field like normal legions, only more often and with heavier trainining weapons) because they knew they could be called to live up their reputation any moment. The fall of Vitellius (the third emperor to rule in the Year of Four Emperors) is directly linked to this: angry at the Praetorians for siding with Otho against him, after Otho's suicide he disbanded them and replaced them with his own veterans, only for the former Praetorians to join Vespasian and inflicting a devastating Curb-Stomp Battle to their replacements in the Second Battle of Bedriacum.
  • Augustus had his own Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards, the Imperial German Bodyguard, whose job it was to protect him from the Praetorian Guard (whose loyalties were much more suspect).
  • Constantine the Great eventually dissolved the Praetorian Guard and replaced it with a guard of his own creation: the Scholae Palatinae.
  • The Varangian Guard of the Eastern Roman Empire mixed this with Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards, as they were Vikings and later Anglo-Saxons employed by the Emperor as his personal bodyguard. The guard frequently went to the battlefield as well as being the palace guard.
    • Unlike their predecessors, the Praetorians, the Varangian Guards were very loyal and well trusted precisely because they were foreigners (and thusly not mixed up in local politics).
    • The Varangian Guard was founded 988 and recruited from Rus and Viking warriors. After 1066, the majority of the guardsmen were defeated Anglo-Saxons fleeing from William the Conqueror. The last action of the guard was the Last Stand of Constantinople 1453, making it a Long Runner as a military unit.
  • The line between 'army' and 'bodyguard' was generally a blurry one in medieval Europe, as most rulers would have household troops: Warriors who would live under the king's roof and get reimbursement in the form of wages and food in return for their service as bodyguards in peace and as soldiers in war. Depending on the size of a king's household, all or some of them would serve the role as personal bodyguards on the battlefield.
  • The Kheshig, the personal guard of Genghis Khan and his descendants. Unlike most examples of the trope, the Kheshig (or at least the parts of it closest to the khan; at its height the Kheshig was 10,000 man strong and was its own army unit) was personally recruited by the khan from amongst his friends, family and personal followers and each new khan had to assemble his unit; this made the unit marginally more reliable than the average version of this trope.
  • Napoleon's Imperial Guard, which was also used as a reserve in some battles. It got pretty big though, by the invasion of Russia it had around 100,000 troops. Above-average height was a prerequisite for membership, which is why Napoleon is stereotyped as being so short. Napoleon himself was only a little bit on the short side, an inch or so below average (for a nobleman, that is — he was a few inches taller than the average peasant), but by surrounding himself with six-foot-plus giants, he made himself seem very short indeed by contrast. Napoleon and the Guard had deep feelings of mutual respect for each other. The Guardsmen were nicknamed the Grognards ("grumblers") because they were free to complain or criticize in the presence of the Emperor.
  • The United States Secret Service handles this for the President and other officials, as well as visiting diplomats. Interestingly, the protective mission is barely 10% of the manpower: the rest serve as federal police attached to the Department of Homeland Security, where they investigate (among other things) counterfeiting (which is what they were originally created to deal with—by Abraham Lincoln, shortly before his assassination), cybercrime, and identity theft, thoroughly unrelated work. The Secret Service ended up with the duty of presidential bodyguards because when it was decided (after a few too many assassinations) that a permanent and well-trained squad of bodyguards was needed, the Secret Service was the largest federal law enforcement agency (the FBI did not exist yet) and thus the only one with sufficient manpower for the job. Also, a little-known division of the Secret Service is the C.A.T. or Counter Assault Team, which is made up of former US Military Elite types. These are the guys who travel around in the presidential convoy and stay at the White House in full combat kit with one objective: stopping assaults on the president.
    • Prior to the Secret Service's establishment, the White House has occasionally been guarded by militia or army units in times of war or unrest; in calmer times, a day shift of security guards and a night shift of watchmen monitored visitors and crowds. From its beginning, White House security has opted for plain clothes or understated uniforms when in the public eye, as no President has wanted the residence of the chief executive to resemble an armed camp.
  • Mexico has the Presidential State Major. You see them, and you could swear you're looking at a detachment of American SOCOMs.
  • Swiss Guards is the name that has been given to Swiss mercenary soldiers who have served as bodyguards, ceremonial guards, and palace guards at foreign European courts from the late 15th century until the present day. They are now represented in some sense by the Papal Swiss Guard, which is the only Swiss Guard that still exists (they guard The Pope).
    • If you visit the Vatican, you will see them. Their uniforms look like a cross between Stuart doublets and hose and stripy red, blue and orange pyjamas. They are everywhere!! (They also wear a more nondescript, but still somewhat out of place for the twenty-first century, blue uniform.) However, they are armed, and not only with the sabres at their hips and halberds in their hands. They are also very devoted to their mission, very pious Catholics (piety is actually a major factor in recruiting candidates), and do not suffer fools, especially people who laugh at their uniforms. It's the same reason poisonous creatures are brightly colored: so you know to stay away from them.
  • The SS started as a personal military bodyguard for Hitler, intentionally meant to remind people of Napoleon's Imperial Guard and the Praetorians.
    • When the SS grew, the members assigned to Hitler's security detail became the Praetorians within the SS. Himmler, even as head of the SS, didn't have full authority over them. The Wehrmacht also had a unit assigned specifically to protect Hitler.
  • Real Life overlap with Amazon Brigade occurred in the late Libyan revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi's bodyguard.
  • Most monarchies had a Life Guard for the king or emperor at some point. Those that have survived, such as Britain, still retain Guard regiments, which are typically rotated between ceremonial and frontline duties to keep them honed.
    • And also a few of the former monarchies: Republican Italy still keeps around the Corazzieri, a regiment of the Carabinieri notable for having all soldiers extremely tall and wearing shining armor that served as royal guard during the monarchy. Nowadays they guard the president, the governement and the Parliament.
    • Also a former monarchy, Putin's Russia recently (2013) restored some of the old Imperial Guard regiments. See more on them later.
    • Musketeers of the Guard (French: Mousquetaires de la garde), were the guards for the King of France. The protagonists of The Three Musketeers are part of said group.
      • To be more accurate, they were part of the guards for the King of France. The Maison Militaire du Roi de France (Military Household of the King of France) included various regiments (In Name Only: their numbers were actually those of oversized brigades, with their company commanders holding the seniority of regular army colonels, their battalion commanders being effectively brigade generals and the regimental commanders being Marshals of France) of different specialities, among which the Musketeers were the equivalents of dragoons (mounted infantry) and the most prestigious regiment due their duty of protecting the king on the battlefield. The other regiments were the Gardes du Corps (Bodyguards, the heavy cavalry and main guards at Versailles), Gendarmerie d'Ordonnance (pistol-armed cavalry), Gentilshommes à Bec de Corbin (cavalry equipped with halberds), Chevau-Légers (lit. Light Cavalry), Grenadiers à Cheval (originally cavalry equipped with grenades, later heavy cavalry), the Gardes Suisses (Swiss mercenary infantry, and the most loyal unit, guarded Versailles' exterior. Moved to the Tuileries with the king during the Revolution, and were massacred by the Revolutionaries when they defended the king in the Insurrection of 10 August 1792) and the Gardes Françaises (line infantry and the senior regiment of the whole army, guarded Versailles' exterior with the Gardes Suisses and helped policing Paris), the latter of which, due being the only one with the rank and file composed of commoners, heavy ties with the Parisian people and too harsh discipline imposed in 1788, deserted to the second-to-last non-officer (reportedly a single sergeant stayed with the regiment) in the course of the French Revolution, which was instrumental in the Storming of the Bastille (whose garrison had been reinforced by Swiss Guards, who were massacred).
      • The Gardes du Corps were initially made of the older Garde écossaise (Scottish Guard) formed officially in 1422 (though older occurrences of Scottish nobles protecting the King date back from as far as 822). They were effectively the most loyal to the King, and were regularly reinforced after every war against England (the last time would be the Battle of Culloden). Their commander was usually a member of the Scottish royal familly.
    • Irish chieftains in the Middle Ages were known to recruit displaced Scottish nobles, known as Gallowglass warriors. They were known to be able to hold their lines far stronger than the Irish light warriors, and were armed with thick armor and huge axes or swords. They were distant enough from the politics of the Irish clans to be considered perfect bodyguards, and were a major part of the Irish stopping the Normans from flooding over from England.
  • France still keeps the flamboyant Garde républicaine (Republican Guard) around. It's an elite branch of the Gendarmerie (military branch of the Police) and although it's best known for taking care of all shiny things (its mounted regiment is the biggest one in the world, and the last one in France. Individual member often partake in the Olympics) it also ensures security of all officials and sees combat once in a while.
  • The Janissary Guard of the Ottoman Empire gets a special mention for the inflation it suffered. Originally, it only consisted of a few hundred slave-soldiers who had been taught to fight from childhood. Over time, their numbers increased until practically the entire army was Janissaries, they recruited openly from the free population, most of them didn't do any fighting or have skills for that matter, and they killed several sultans for thinking it was time to put the guard down.
  • Mao Zedong had a personal bodyguard as well.
    • This might be traced from China's Imperial Guard. It existed in various forms over the ages, and was noted for recruiting foreigners, including Russians captured in illegal settlements along the frontier. It was briefly featured in Shanghai Noon, as the Chinese lead played by Jackie Chan was a (rather clumsy) member of it.
  • The Soviet Union also had a praetorian guard in the form of the Kremlin Regiment, who were used to arrest any member of the Party if needed, guard Lenin's tomb, and march daily near the Russian version of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. These guards fought in WWII, being entrusted with the defense of the Kremlin itself, and killing some 1,200 German troops (they were arranged as snipers to do this). The Kremlin Regiment still serve the Russian Federation today, however recently (2013) some of the Tsarist era regiments were restored and god knows how this salad of historical artifacts will settle together.
    • Said Kremlin Regiment was eventually part of the KGB's 40,000-man Ninth Directorate, and even known by the nickname 'Praetorians' in some circles, charged with providing security for the party members and their families, securing government telephone lines, and operating the Moscow VIP subway, Metro-8. Given that, in more than 70 years, no Soviet head of state was ever assassinated, despite Civil War, World War, and succession, they seemed to do their job. They were also the most visible portion of the KGB, wearing dress uniforms in their marches around Red Square.
    • Before all this, the Red October era Soviet Russia had the Latvian Riflemen. Before this, the Latvian Riflemen were a general military unit of men conscripted in the Baltics to fight Germany in the Great War.
  • The Imperial Guards regiments in Tsarist Russia had a habit, like the original Praetorian Guard, of killing emperors who crossed them and putting someone else (usually some pretty girl to make everything better) on the throne. Just ask Ivan VI and Peter III. The Decembrist Revolt of 1825 was also involved many Guard officers.
  • Guard Yeager Regiment, Finnish Army, which is the last surviving direct descendant of the Russian Czar's Imperial Guards Regiments and today acts as the Presidential Guard. The conscripts serving in the unit are trained for both guerrilla and Urban Warfare and are considered similar elites as Parachute Rangers. The honorary march of the regiment is older than independent Finland and dates to Russo-Turkish War 1878.
  • In feudal Japan, during the Edo period, there were the "hatamotos", literally "those who gather around the flag" or more loosely "bannermen", who were a hand-picked force of elite samurai under the direct command of the shogun and who had privileges almost in par with those of a Daimyo.
    • The leadup to the Meiji Restoration actually saw two groups of non-Tokugawa Shogunate affiliated samurai rise to such rank: the traditional samurai-family led Mimawarigumi, and the more famous, ronin/lower-class samurai led Shinsengumi. While both groups were notably competent and brutal against their enemies, factional strife between the groups not only affected their duties (and the prestige of the Shogunate), it helped consolidate the Imperialist rebels to finally unite and overthrow them.
    • In Imperial Japan, there is also an Imperial Guard. They distinguished themselves well in combat in World War II. After the war, they were 'civilianized', but were still given the task of protecting the Imperial family, the family's properties, as well as being the firemen in the palace grounds in case a fire broke out.
      • Fitting this trope, the Japanese Imperial Guards were heavily involved in politics of the 1920s and 30s. Many Guard officers were ultranationalists and often conspired against moderate politicians whom they regarded as enemies. The most infamous of such involvement in politics by the Guards was in February, 1936, when several units based in Tokyo, including Imperial Guard units, attempted to overthrow government and succeeded in killing or seriously injuring several top government officials who opposed the militarists. While the army swiftly suppressed the mutineers, their coup attempt did help the militarists consolidate power nevertheless, by eliminating or cowering many of their opponents in government, and moved Japan decisively closer to World War II.
      • On the night of August 14, 1945, some Japanese imperial guardsmen tried to prevent the broadcast of the emperor's surrender announcement by force. A number of people, including the commander of the guards, who tried to stop them were killed, but the mutineers were ultimately stopped and the formal announcement of surrender was broadcast the next day.
      • Modern Japan has them subordinated to the National Police Agency as the main unit responsible for protecting the Imperial family, their properties and guests. They also provide security escorts for VIPs (Mostly ambassadors) going to meet the Emperor to present their credentials.
  • India has the National Security Guard aka the Black Cats. This organization was created as an elite bodyguard unit after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by two policemen on her protection detail. This group carefully screens applicants, puts them through specialized VIP protection training and are noted for their distinctive black camouflage. One slight aversion is that the NSG Black Cats aren’t exclusively for the Prime Minister’s protection - any national or state level political leader or his/her immediate family who is deemed to be a high priority terrorist target is assigned a Black Cat protective detail.
    • Another Indian example is the President's Bodyguard, the seniormost regiment in the country's army. They're trained as cavalry and paratroopers, and maintain some splendid parade uniforms in the 19th-century style.
  • Brunei has the Gurkha Reserve Unit, meant to protect the Sultan and his immediate family. They also assist friendly military and law enforcement forces when their GRU is needed, especially in humanitarian ops.
  • Nazi Germany had several:
    • The Reichssicherheitsdienst (Reich Security Service/RSD) initially provided security solely for Adolf Hitler in the Nazi Party's home state of Bavaria but their duties grew to the protection of all high-ranking Nazi Party functionaries. As such, they could request without restriction the cooperation of any police authority in protecting their charges. While the FBK (below) provided close security for Hitler, the RSD guarded him and his entourage, including his staff, accompanying party members and adjutants. As such, they used different vehicles from the FBK.
    • The SS-Begleitkommando des Führers (SS Escort Command of the Führer) was an eight-man protection squad sourced from the SS-Begleitkommando, a twelve-man unit, tasked with close, personal protection of Adolf Hitler outside Bavaria. They accompanied him to all his trips and public appearances. These were the only armed personnel that Hitler would let near him. Eventually expanded into the Führerbegleitkommando (Führer Escort Command/FBK), they would be the only organization that provided close, personal security for Hitler, as well as protecting his various residences and field headquarters.
    • The SS regiment Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (Bodyguards SS Adolf Hitler) was formed as a guard unit for Hitler, his offices and residences. Originally an SA unit, Heinrich Himmler demanded that it be renamed to be under the SS. Commanded by Sepp Dietrich, Hitler's original chauffeur and chief bodyguard, they evolved into a Waffen-SS tank division that perpetrated the massacre of American POWs in Malmedy, Belgium.
    • Unlike the previous examples, the Führerbegleitbrigade (FBB) was composed of army officers, not SS officers. They were tasked with the escort and protection of Adolf Hitler at the front, first commanded by Erwin Rommel. Similar to the Leibstandarte, they evolved into Hitler's personal war unit at the front, and were instrumental in routing the 20 July plot. The officer responsible for this, Otto Ernst Remer was promoted to major general and commander of the FBB, later the division-sized unit Führerbegleitdivision.


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