Many of Norway’s twelfth-century kings were hailed while still in their infancy or adolescence. The succession of underage and cognitively weak individuals shifted the weight of governance into the hands of their caretakers and counselors, who exploited their personal associations with these nominal rulers to advance their own standing as political elites. The early reigns of King Harald Gille’s successors, Inge, Magnus, and Sigurd Haraldsson (1136 – c.1155), provide outstanding cases for the study of these strategies. Scrutiny of the individuals and groups supporting these dynasts reveals that elites established or strengthened their position in Norwegian governance through three avenues: maternity, fosterage, and counsel. To legitimate their authority, elites presented themselves as kings’ adherents and supporters rather than de facto regents, and veiled their own self-serving aspirations. Although the minorities of these kings fell within the period traditionally known as the Civil War era in Norwegian history (1130–1240), examination of their caretakers’ efforts reveals surprisingly limited competition. The tradition of co-rule, whereby several kings could reign simultaneously, discouraged the consolidation of elite power and allowed multiple elites to advance through association with different underage kings.