The remarried empress: In China, the eldest son always inherits the throne. This is a legacy Passed down for centuries through imperial families. But when Second Princess Luo Mingmei became Empress after her brother’s untimely death, she had to break with tradition and make her husband, Prince Charles, the new heir. As if that weren’t enough of an upheaval, Luo also had to come to terms with the fact that she was pregnant again. And this time, she wasn’t just carrying Charles’ child—she was also carrying his duties as emperor. In this short story, we follow Princess Luo and her family as they navigate the treacherous waters of palace life and modern day China. We learn about the challenges faced by a woman who is not only forced to break centuries of tradition but also navigate a pregnancy that threatens her position and security.
The remarried empress: Background
The Empress of China, Cixi, was married to a man she never loved and later divorced. She remarried and had a son with her new husband, but after his death she fell into depression and spent the last years of her life in seclusion.
The Relationship with Emperor Wang Mang
The Relationship with Emperor Wang Mang:
Emperor Wang Mang was married to the former concubine of his predecessor, Emperor Ling. After Emperor Ling’s death, Wang Mang became emperor. At first, he seemed to be a good ruler, but after a few years he became despotic and abusive. He had numerous wives and concubines, all of whom were required to give him massages. He also instituted a policy of nepotism, awarding positions to his family and friends. In 285 AD, he had his son Wang Zhao made crown prince and began to undermine the power of the imperial courtiers. In 289 AD, he had his nephew and son-in-law (Wang Zhao’s father) Wu Zetian made empress dowager and empress consort. Wu Zetian eventually overthrew Emperor Wang Mang in 309 AD and restored the Tang dynasty.
The remarried empress: The Marriage to Cao Cao
After her divorce from the emperor, empress Cao Cao remarried in 211. The new husband was Sima Yi, who had earlier served under Cao Cao during the war against Sun Quan. At first, the marriage seemed to be a happy one. However, it didn’t take long for problems to arise.
The biggest problem between the couple came over power and authority. Empress Cao Cao felt that she should have more control over her new husband than he did over her. Sima Yi also disagreed with many of Cao Cao’s political decisions and wanted more involvement in decision making.
Things eventually came to a head in 217 when Empress Cao Cao attempted to force her way into a meeting with Emperor Xian, which was being held by Sima Yi alone. The confrontation ended with Empress Cao fleeing the palace in tears and Sima Yi ordering her exiled to live with his mother-in-law, Lady Ding Xin.
The marriage eventually ended in divorce in 220 after just two years together. It’s unclear what caused the end of the relationship but it seems likely that simmering conflicts between the two led to its downfall.
The remarried empress: The Death of Cao Cao
Cao Cao was one of the most famous and successful warlords in Chinese history. After his death, his widow, Lady Cao, became the de facto ruler of the Han empire. However, Lady Cao’s power was eventually challenged by her son and successor, Cao Pi. In 220 AD, Cao Pi executed Lady Cao and claimed the throne for himself.
After the Death of Cao Cao
After Cao Cao’s death, his widow Lady Cao had to take on many of the responsibilities of the state. She tried to keep up appearances and act as regent for her son, but she was often undermined by political rivals. In 195, she was forced to commit suicide after a coup d’état against her son.
Empress Wu Zetian’s Last Days
Empress Wu Zetian’s Last Days
As the days passed, Empress Wu became more and more feeble. On January 12th, she was so ill that she could no longer speak. The Dowager Empress Bian took charge of Empress Wu’s care and ordered her to eat porridge and drink wine.
On January 15th, the empress finally slipped away into death. She was cremated on the 16th with full imperial honors. In a eulogy delivered after her cremation, Emperor Xuanzong lamented that she had been “forced to live for eighty-four years in exile” but declared that “her many accomplishments surpassed those of any other woman in history.”
Empress Wu Zetian’s Legacy
Empress Wu Zetian, who reigned for more than 20 years, is best known for her controversial reign and her complicated family tree. She was the only female emperor in Chinese history and is credited with reviving the Chinese imperial dynasty. However, her legacy is also complex and contested.
Wu Zetian was born into a moderately wealthy family in 624 AD. She married Yang Guozheng, an official of the court of Emperor Yang of Sui, in 629 AD. The couple had two children before Yang’s death in 635 AD. After his death, Wu became empress dowager and regent for her son, Emperor Taizong.
In 648 AD, when Emperor Taizong was nine years old and unable to rule on his own due to his young age and health problems, Wu took control of the government as empress regent. She soon consolidated her power by marrying two powerful officials: Gao Yaozhi in 650 AD and Xu Youguang in 655 AD. In 660 AD she made herself the sole ruler by executing Empress Dowager Gao and forcing Emperor Taizong to abdicate in her favor.
As empress regent, Wu governed wisely and kept the country stable during a time of political uncertainty. Her rule was marked by economic progress but also some unpopular measures such as a tax on clothes that caused widespread unrest.
Despite her good governance, Wu Zetian
The Empress Sui Ling has reigned for forty years, during which she has brought great change to her empire. She is a shrewd and calculating woman, who knows how to seize hold of power and keep it. As the widow of a previous emperor, she understands the importance of appearances, and she employs an army of courtiers to ensure that everything about her life reflects positively upon her. Despite her many accomplishments, there are some who question whether or not she is actually legitimate empress – will she be remembered as a successful ruler or aFemale Emperor Who Was Never Really Empowered?