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The duenna (or chaperone) is a Stock Character whose main purpose is to provide an obstacle to the male Love Interest. Almost always a comedy character, she is older than her charge and intent on protecting her from the debauched hordes of unmarried men who (according to the chaperone) are waiting around every corner. Needless to say, said young ladies are as anxious to get rid of her as her suitors. May also be an Old Retainer.

Usually a devout older woman who may be very naïve about the world, though a common variation is one who has had a very eventful life, and thus knows exactly what to expect from young men.

See also: Moral Guardians, Overprotective Dad.

Examples of Matron Chaperone include:


  • Ruy Blaz: A minor character shows up to tell the queen that while the queen is out hunting, she is not allowed to dance, eat sweets or basically enjoy herself.
    • The pastiche movie La Folie des Grandeurs expands this character quite a bit, by making her think Ruy Blaz is secretly in love with her. Hilarity Ensues.
  • One story by Jean De La Fontaine concerns a wife escorted by a chaperone, which greatly limits her extraconjugal affairs.
  • Garulfo: Noémie is an example of the "interesting life" variant:

 Hephylie: "What would you know of men, you who've led such a chaste and devout existence?"

Noemie:' "Believe me, princess, after 25 years in the papal convents, I know quite a bit on the subject."

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Dauphin": Salia, the future queen of Daled IV, is accompanied by her governess Anya, who is very protective of her. When Wesley is attracted to Salia and they get together, Anya turns into a giant monster and breaks into Wesley's cabin to stop them.
  • Dot Matrix from Spaceballs has this as one of her functions, even if she's actually not older than Princess Vespa.

  Dot: That was my Virgin Alarm. It's programmed to go off before you do!

  • Cyrano De Bergerac: Roxanne's chaperone is actually named Duenna.
  • Done as a Running Gag in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, which has Maid Marian's guardian, Broomhilde, repeatedly foil Robin's attempts to score with Marian. One instance has Robin blow a kiss, but Broomhilde promptly snatches it out of the air before it can reach Marian. And this one:

 Broomhilde appears suddenly and prevents a kiss between Robin and Marian.

Broomhilde: "Ah-ah!"

Robin and Marian sigh and roll eyes.

Broomhilde: (sternly) "No ding-ding without the wedding ring."

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