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When Qyburn first brings news to Cersei of an invincible champion they agree that as queen she must be defended by a knight of the Kingsguard. Why? At this point Tommen has already married Margaery Tyrell so he is the king and she is the queen, not Cersei. Cersei is arguably still Queen Regent but, after her imprisonment and confession, Ser Kevan becomes King Regent so there is no interpretation at all by which she is still the queen. And yet everyone seems to still think she can only be defended by a Kingsguard member and so needs Ser Robert Strong appointed.

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Ser Kevan becomes Lord Regent, not King. That would also have been Eddard Stark's position if... well... you know. That is, the "Queen/Lord" and "Regent" parts are independent.

In my understanding, Cersei retains her formal dignity as "Queen" for as long as she is the wife or widow of Robert. (I do not know what would happen if she remarried, but I do not think that is going to come up).

However, another part to the question is "Why must a Queen be championed by a member of the Kingsguard in case of a trial by combat?" - remember that in ASOS, Cersei was championed by Gregor Clegane, who was not a member of the Kingsguard at that time.

That comes down to Cersei's plan to ensure Margaery's condamnation: in order to prevent Margaery from being innocented by a trial by combat, she arranged that only Kingsguard members with passable swordsmanship (Blount, Trant) or strong unsuitability (Kettleblack) would be present and healthy in King's Landing, and she arranged with the High Septon that the Queen could only be championed in a trial by combat by a member of the Kingsguard. Little did she know that the High Septon intended to apply every provision put forward by Cersei for Margaery's trial to Cersei's own.

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    Yes, Cersei has been trapped by her own web!
    – Nick
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 13:19
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She still is the Queen mother, giving her most rights of a queen. Besides, in the eyes of the public she still is a queen, so must be defended by the Kingsguard.

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The Kingsguard are bodyguards to the King and his family, not just the queen. Since she is the mother of King Tommen her protection falls under the responsibilities of the Kingsguard. This includes representing her in a trial by combat.

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    This is not an implies-and-implied-by situation. The Kingsgaurd must defend Tommen's family, but this doesn't mean that it has to be one of the Kingsguard who defends a family member in a trial by battle. On the other hand, it has to be a Kingsguard member who protects Margaery/Cersei Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 17:55
  • If you are Cersei, would you want your personal thug to have the added sheen of authority of "Kingsguard," or just some dude? I don't think anyone is saying it HAD to be, but certainly, if she could choose, why wouldn't she have that designation put on him? Also, if it comes down to conflict, that's one less potential Kingsguard on the other side. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 16:35
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It seems to be a tradition that the Queen (or former Queen) be championed by the Kingsguard. In the case of Cersei naming Gregor in the trial of Tyrion, that time Cersei was the prosecutor (so to speak) with Tyrion being the defendant.

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