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is a group of courtiers or favourites who surround a king or ruler. Usually, they do not hold any office or have any official authority but influence their ruler behind the scenes. Consequently, they also escape having to bear responsibility for the effects of their advice. The term derives from the Spanish word, camarilla
(diminutive of cámara
), meaning "little chamber" or private cabinet of the king. It was first used of the circle of cronies around Spanish King Ferdinand VII (reigned 1814-1833). The term involves what is known as cronyism
Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Hence, cronyism is contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy....
. The term also entered the German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....
and is used in the sense given above.
A similar concept in modern politics is that of a Kitchen Cabinet
The Kitchen Cabinet was a term used by political opponents of President of the United States Andrew Jackson to describe the collection of unofficial advisers he consulted in parallel to the United States Cabinet following his purge of the cabinet at the end of the Eaton affair and his break with...
, which is often composed of unelected advisers bypassing traditional governance practices.
In particular, two groups are called camarillas: those who surrounded the Emperor Wilhelm II and the President Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....
The camarilla of President Paul von Hindenburg
- Oskar von Hindenburg
Generalleutnant Oskar von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg was the politically powerful son and aide-de-camp to Field Marshal and President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg....
, the son of the President, nicknamed "[t]he President's son unplanned for in the Constitution."
- Otto Meissner, secretary of state, chief of the presidential office
- General Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....
, head of the military office in the Defence Ministry, later Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...
- Franz von Papen
Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen was a German nobleman, Roman Catholic monarchist politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–1934...
The camarilla of King Carol II
- Elena Lupescu, mistress and later wife of King Carol II
- Puiu Dumitrescu, private secretary of King Carol II (earlier period)
- Barbu Ionescu, businessman
- Hugo Bacher
- Gabriel Marinescu, Bucharest police prefect
- Ernest Urdăreanu, secretary of King Carol II (later period)
- Max Auschnitt
Max Auschnitt, also known as Auschnit or Auşnit , was a Romanian industrialist and rival of Nicolae Malaxa, who played an important role before World War II. Together with Aristide Blank and Malaxa, he was one of the major businessmen present in King Carol II's camarilla...
- Nicolae Malaxa
-Biography:Born in a family of Greek origins in Huşi, Malaxa studied engineering in Iaşi and Karlsruhe...
- Aristide Blank, industrialist
- Mihai Moruzov, head of the Romanian Secret Intelligence Service
- "Camarilla" is also the name of a "sect" (faction) in the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade
Vampire: The Masquerade is a role-playing game. Created by Mark Rein·Hagen, it was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern gothic-punk world....
- The Camarilla is a multi-planetary, multi-species secret organization intent on keeping Earth isolated from the rest of the galaxy in Brian Daley
Brian Daley was an American science fiction novelist. He also adapted for radio the Star Wars radio dramas and wrote all of its episodes.-Biography:...
's "Fitzhugh & Floyt" trilogy.
- Privy Council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...
A cabal is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views and/or interests in a church, state, or other community, often by intrigue...
- Cabal Ministry
The Cabal Ministry refers to a group of high councillers of King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1668 to circa 1674.The term "Cabal" has a double meaning in this context. It refers to the fact that, for perhaps the first time in English history, effective power in a royal council...
- Cliveden set
The Cliveden Set were a 1930s right-wing, upper class group of prominent individuals politically influential in pre-World War II Britain, who were in the circle of Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor...
- Éminence grise
- The School of Night
The School of Night is a modern name for a group of men centred on Sir Walter Raleigh that was once referred to in 1592 as the "School of Atheism." The group supposedly included poets and scientists such as Christopher Marlowe, George Chapman and Thomas Harriot...
Makhzen is the governing elite in Morocco and in pre-1957 Tunisia, centered around the king and consisting of royal notables, businessmen, wealthy landowners, tribal leaders, top-ranking military personnel, security service bosses, and other well-connected members of the...