A camarilla 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 at the royal court 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. The term also entered other languages like the German and Greek, and is used in the sense given above.

A similar concept in modern politics is that of a Kitchen Cabinet, 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.[1]

The camarilla of President Paul von Hindenburg


The camarilla of Queen Marie

The camarilla of King Carol II


In the 19th century, Russia's government was frequently described as a "camarilla", starting as early as 1860.[6] This usage remained common into the 20th century; for instance, in 1917, commentator Robert Machray wrote of

... certain forces in the background of the political life of Russia known as the 'Camarilla', which exercised and still exercise an extraordinary influence...[7]


  • "Camarilla" is also the name of a "sect" (faction) in the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade.
  • The Camarilla is a multi-planetary, multi-species secret organization intent on keeping Earth isolated from the rest of the galaxy in Brian Daley's "Fitzhugh & Floyt" trilogy.
  • The Camarilla is a multi-planetary, multi-species secret organization with varied and often obscure motives in Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance.

See also


  1. Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 33–34.
  2. R. G. Waldeck, Athene Palace, New York: Robert M. McBride and Company, 1942.
  3. Hans-Christian Maner, Parlamentarismus in Rumänien (1930-1940): Demokratie im autoritären Umfeld, Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 1997, ISBN 3-486-56329-7, ISBN 978-3-486-56329-0.
  4. (in Romanian) Zigu Ornea, "Dezvăluirile lui Constantin Beldie" Archived 2014-03-10 at the Wayback Machine, România literară, 46/2000
  5. Petre Pandrea, Cronică valahă cu inginerul Malaxa ("Wallachian Chronicle with Engineer Malaxa"), in Magazin Istoric, May 2002.
  6. "Prince Dolgoroukov on Russia and Self-Emancipation." Edinburgh Review, July, 1860. p. 90
  7. Machray, Robert. "The Political Situation in Russia." The Nineteenth Century and After, volume 81, March 1917. pp. 601-602
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