In medieval and early modern European society a tenant-in-chief, sometimes vassal-in-chief, denotes the high nobles who held their lands as tenants directly from the monarch, as opposed to holding them from another nobleman or senior member of the clergy. Such people were the backbone of the monarchs's influence throughout the state and include princes and dukes (many of whom would have been immediate relatives of the monarch), and earls. They could also be called baron or lords. Tenants-in-chief were situated under the monarch in the feudal system.

The term is actually a neologism of later historians.

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