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In the story I'm plotting, the ruling monarch is overthrown and imprisoned on the basis of colluding with an invading force that's already encroaching the country's boarders. There are letters to corroborate the accusations, however with falsified signatures/handwriting. The monarch escapes and goes into exile.

The country is ruled by the monarch with a council of heads from wealthy families, and in the case the monarch or their spouse is missing, the heir would inherit. However, the current monarch is left without an heir, their spouse presumably dead so the head of the council would reign as a regent of sort.

Side note: During the regent's reign the country becomes a vassal to the invading force to spare lives, resources etc. But not everybody is happy with that.

EDIT: The monarch was away on a meeting of other monarch of the region to discuss the invading nation, prior to the start of the story. The spouse was left to rule but went missing on a hunt for bandits. This turned public opinion from sympathetic to divided because the invading army was approaching and bandits ran amok in the country. The regent would plan to rule forever, and have him family be the next reigning family.

My question is, what are the steps the exiled monarch needs to do to effectively re-establish themselves on the throne, aside from overthrowing the regent directly?

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closed as off-topic by Renan, AlexP, sphennings, Cyn, Mołot Dec 27 '18 at 16:10

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  • $\begingroup$ We need important details: does the monarch have the sympathy of the army and / or the people? does the regency plan to crown the next person down the succession line, or simply rule forever? $\endgroup$ – Alexis Dec 27 '18 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ They will need an animal companion, a muscular sidekick and about one song for every nine minutes of the feature movie if you want to do it the Disney way. $\endgroup$ – Renan Dec 27 '18 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ I have the strong impression this is story based. It's a key part of your story, not a problem related to how your world works. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Dec 27 '18 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexis updated the question text to provide info for your questions $\endgroup$ – bigchickcannibalistic Dec 27 '18 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Worth noting that there are Real World (TM) historic precedents of monarchs who were crowned, deposed, and restored. Napoleon of France and Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary to name two. $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Dec 27 '18 at 15:32
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Have a look at history - there are many examples where rulers come back after being deposed, imprisoned or exiled

Some of the best create 'people movements', ie. they inspire people that a better life awaits them, and they in turn support their return.

For instance Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years, came back to be PM (and quite an inspirational one at that). Further in the past, numerous Roman Emperors and Generals come back with a vengeance, usually if the troops like them more than the incumbent. Various countries in the middle east / north Africa have leaders deposed/reinstated due to geopolitical machinations of more powerful nations.

In all cases there must be a reason for them to come back. The people have and always will be that reason - if they are generally dissatisfied with their current ruler then they start looking further afield for solutions. It helps if they are exiled in a friendly country, of whom it is also in their strategic/political interests to reinstate the leader, who then supplies the means to communicate and get the message to the populace.

You need the support of the people first, you cannot regain power in the country without them. Some search for the disaffected, the disadvantaged, people on the fringe far away from central control first, others are already broadly popular for what they represent.

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Escape

First of all, he needs to escape from prison. He's not getting any nearer the throne from there. Does he escape through his own cunning, or does he have help from outside? Once out of prison, he can start planning how to get his throne back.

Connections

The most important thing in actually winning back his throne is connections. One single person can't overthrow a kingdom. He'll need resources, information, shelter, and preferably an army. The most important connections would be those people in high places that:

  • Never thought he was guilty of collusion in the first place and were happy with his rule
  • Are not happy with the country being a vassal state
  • Have reservations on the capability/goodwill of the regent
  • Or, perhaps most importantly, are willing to throw their lot in with the king in exchange for rewards like lands, titles or wealth

Provided he can make or call on those connections, he can start planning a military campaign. Or, if his support is sizeable enough, he can pressure the regent into stepping down.

Prove his innocence

Depending on how much influence the common folk have in your country, he might want to convince them of his innocence, promise them more rights, or otherwise get them on his side. I don't know the nature of your country's ruling class or of the monarch himself, so you can fill in how much he will try to appeal to morals or ancient law or whatnot.

How important the rebuttal of the accusations of collusion is, depends on who are supporting him. If he is mainly supported by idealistic nobles who believe in his just cause, he will have to find out who forged those incriminating documents and get a confession out of them, or otherwise prove that he is innocent. If he is instead mostly supported by opportunists, he could put less effort in uncovering the truth.

Regardless of how he does it, once he regains his throne he would probably want to clear suspicion with some grand (show) trial that totally-definitely clears him of any accusations, in order to convince the more idealistic parts of the populace.

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