During Emperor Zhongzong's second reign
In 709, during the reign of Wu Zetian's son , Zhao Yanzhao was promoted to be ''Zhongshu Shilang'' , the deputy head of the legislative bureau of government and given the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi'' , making him a ''de facto''. He was also made an imperial scholar at the Xiuwen Pavilion .
During Emperor Shang's reign and Emperor Ruizong's second reign
During Emperor Xuanzong's reign
In 712, Emperor Ruizong passed the throne to Li Longji, who took the throne as Emperor Xuanzong, but Emperor Ruizong retained actual powers as ''Taishang Huang'' . In 713, locked in a rivalry with Princess Taiping, Emperor Xuanzong carried out a purge of her party and forced her to commit suicide, and Emperor Ruizong yielded powers to him. Two of the officials involved in Emperor Xuanzong's purge who served chancellors, Guo Yuanzhen and Zhang Shuo, were friendly with Zhao Yanzhao, and they claimed that he was part of the plot as well. Zhao was therefore made the minister of justice and created the Duke of Geng. It was around this time that Zhang, who feared that another official, , might be made chancellor as well, asked Zhao to submit an indictment against Yao, but Emperor Xuanzong summarily dismissed the indictment. Yao was subsequently made chancellor, and Zhang was demoted. Zhao was himself made a commanding general to the north of the capital.