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A Suzerain or Liege is someone in the superior part of a feudal relationship; that is, one who is owed leal service and fealty by a vassal.

Depending on the details of the oaths of fealty sworn between the two, the liege lord might have considerable control over the decisions of his vassal, for example: the suzerain could approve or forbid a marriage, as when Louis VII of France went to war with Henry II of England when he married Louis' vassal Eleanor of Aquitaine (and incidentally ex-wife) without Louis' permission.

The feudal relationship was complex, however, and a suzerain would also owe certain considerations to his vassals as well, usually represented by entrusting a vassal with a fief of some sort.

See Also