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Empress dowager (also dowager empress or empress mother) (Chinese and Japanese : 皇太后; pinyin : húangtàihòu; rōmaji : Kōtaigō; Korean : 황태후 (皇太后); romaja : Hwang Tae Hu; Vietnamese : Hoàng Thái Hậu) is the English language translation of the title given to the mother or widow of an East Asian (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) emperor, or a Southeast Asian (Vietnamese) emperor.
The title was also given occasionally to another woman of the same generation, while a woman from the previous generation was sometimes given the title of grand empress dowager (Chinese and Japanese : 太皇太后; pinyin : tàihúangtàihòu; rōmaji : Taikōtaigō; Korean pronunciation : Tae Hwang Tae Hu; Vietnamese : Thái Hoàng Thái Hậu). Numerous empress dowagers held regency during the reign of underage emperors. Many of the most prominent empress dowagers also extended their control for long periods after the emperor was old enough to govern. This was a source of political turmoil according to the traditional view of Chinese history.
The title dowager empress was given to the wife of a deceased emperor of Russia or Holy Roman emperor.
For grand empresses dowager, visit grand empress dowager.
In the complex organization of the Japanese Imperial Court, the title of "empress dowager" does not automatically devolve to the principal consort of an Emperor who has died. The title "Kōtaigō" can only be bestowed or granted by the Emperor who will have acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
The following were granted this Imperial title:
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Eleonora Gonzaga was empress dowager from 1657–1686.
Although never referred to as a dowager, Empress Matilda was controversially the Holy Roman Empress and continued to be referred to as "empress" long after her husband's death; Although having abandoned the throne for her son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, Empress Constance widow of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor retained her title as "empress dowager" till her death.
Dowager empresses of Russia held precedence over the empress consort. This was occasionally a source of tension. For example, when Paul I was assassinated, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg), for whom this tradition was started, often took the arm of her son Tsar Alexander I at court functions and ceremonies while his wife Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna (Louise of Baden) walked behind, which caused resentment on the part of the young empress. The same thing happened decades later when Emperor Alexander III died, and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark) held precedence over Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (Alix of Hesse), which put an enormous strain on their already tense relationship. The power struggle culminated when the Dowager Empress refused to hand over certain jewels traditionally associated with the Empress Consort.[ citation needed ]
There have been four dowager empresses in Russia:
Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna was briefly and concurrently, along with her mother in-law Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, a Dowager empress. She is therefore often forgotten as an Dowager Empress.
Queen-Empress Victoria was widowed in 1861, before her accession as Queen-Empress of India. Her son, her grandson and her great-grandson all died before their wives, and their widows were known as empresses dowager in this Indian context. Had George VI, the last Emperor of India, died before the independence of India was proclaimed in 1947, his widow would have been known as the dowager empress of India. However, George VI did not die until 1952, some years after India's formal independence and the renunciation of the title Emperor of India by the British monarch (which took place formally in 1948).
Emperor Ai of Han was an emperor of the Chinese Han dynasty. He ascended the throne when he was 20, having been made heir by his childless uncle Emperor Cheng, and he reigned from 7 to 1 BC.
Empress Teimei, born Sadako Kujō, was the wife of Emperor Taishō and the mother of Emperor Shōwa of Japan. Her posthumous name, Teimei, means "enlightened constancy".
Empress of Japan or Japanese Empress means an empress consort. The current empress consort is Empress Masako, ascending on 1 May 2019. The term can also mean a female imperial ruler.
The Lý dynasty,Vietnamese: Nhà Lý, Vietnamese pronunciation: [ɲâː lǐ], chữ Nôm: 茹李, chữ Hán: 李朝, Hán Việt: Lý triều}} also known as the House of Lý, was a Vietnamese royal family that ruled the kingdom of Đại Việt from 1009 when Lý Công Uẩn overthrew the Early Lê dynasty and ended in 1225, when the queen Lý Chiêu Hoàng was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her husband, Trần Cảnh. During emperor Lý Thánh Tông's reign, the official name of Vietnam became Đại Việt.
Lý Nhân Tông, personal name Lý Càn Đức, temple name Nhân Tông (李仁宗) was the fourth monarch of the House of Lý, ruled the kingdom of Đại Việt from 1072 until his death in 1128. Succeeding his father Lý Thánh Tông at the age of 7, during his early reign Lý Nhân Tông ruled with the assistance of his mother Ỷ Lan and the chancellor Lý Đạo Thành who were both considered competent regents and were able to help the emperor maintain the country's prosperity. Appreciated as a great emperor of the Lý Dynasty, Lý Nhân Tông made important contributions to the development of Đại Việt, especially for establishing Confucianism as the official philosophy of the state, creating Confucian-based imperial exams, and creating schools based on the Confucian system of learning. During his 55-year reign, which was the longest reign for any Vietnamese monarch, Lý Nhân Tông also experienced several wars against Đại Việt's neighbours, the Song Dynasty and the kingdom of Champa in which the Sino–Vietnamese War (1075–1076) was the fiercest. After his death, the royal family lost their control over the court to the chancellors and the bureaucracies.
Consort Fu was an imperial consort during Han Dynasty. She was a consort and a favourite of Emperor Yuan. She was known to be a domineering woman who wanted her son on the throne, and, failing that, wanted her grandson on the throne as Emperor Ai. During Emperor Ai's reign, she exerted heavy influence on his reign and forcibly extracted empress dowager titles that she should not have properly possessed – which would bring her hatred from the Wang clan and eventually the desecration of her tomb after her death.
Trần Thánh Tông, personal name Trần Hoảng (陳晃), was the second emperor of the Trần dynasty, reigning over Đại Việt from 1258 to 1278. After ceding the throne to his son Trần Nhân Tông, Thánh Tông held the title of retired emperor from 1279 to his death in 1290. During the second and the third Mongol invasions of Đại Việt, Retired Emperor Thánh Tông and Emperor Nhân Tông were credited as the supreme commanders who led the nation to the final victories and, as a result, established a long period of peace and prosperity over the country. With his successful rulings in both military and civil matters, Trần Thánh Tông was considered as one of the greatest emperors of not only the Trần dynasty but also the whole dynastic era in the history of Vietnam.
Empress Dowager Liu, briefly further honored as Empress Dowager Shenggan, was an empress dowager of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty. She was a concubine of Yang Zhao, who was crown prince during the reign of his father Emperor Yang, and she was the mother of Yang Tong, the last person to claim the Sui throne.
Kōkyū (後宮) is the section of a Japanese Imperial Palace called the Dairi (内裏) where the Imperial Family and court ladies lived.
Princess Yoshiko was the empress consort of Emperor Kōkaku of Japan. She enjoys the distinction of being the last daughter of an emperor who would herself rise to the position of empress. When she was later given the title of Empress Dowager, she became the first person to be honored with that title while still living since 1168.
Lý Chiêu Hoàng was the ninth and last sovereign of the Lý dynasty from 1224 to 1225 and the only empress regnant in the history of Vietnam.
Empress Dowager Eishō was the empress consort of Emperor Kōmei of Japan. She is also known under the technically incorrect name Empress Eishō.
Trần Anh Tông, real name Trần Thuyên (陳烇), courtesy name Nhật Sủy (日煃) or Nhật Sáng (日㷃/日𤊞), was the fourth emperor of the Trần dynasty, reigning over Vietnam from 1293 to 1314. After ceding the throne to his son Trần Minh Tông, Anh Tông held the title Retired Emperor for six years. As the first Trần emperor who ruled in total peace with respect to foreign affairs, Anh Tông was known for his successful reign of Đại Việt, which brought a long period of peace and prosperity over the country. He also had several military victories over the kingdoms of Champa and Laos.
Trần Thừa was the head of the Trần clan and a high-ranking mandarin during the reign of Lý Huệ Tông and Lý Chiêu Hoàng. After the overthrow of the Lý Dynasty by Trần Thủ Độ, Trần Thừa's second son Trần Cảnh was enthroned as Trần Thái Tông, the first emperor of the Trần Dynasty. Being the Emperor's father, Trần Thừa was honoured by the title Retired Emperor as Trần Thái Tổ (陳太祖) and thus he became the first retired emperor of the Trần Dynasty and the only one who had not held the throne.
Prince Yên Sinh Trần Liễu (1211–1251) was the elder brother of the Trần Thái Tông, the first emperor of Trần Dynasty. Initially, Trần Liễu was honoured by his younger brother with the title King Hiển but he was downgraded to Prince Yên Sinh after the short-lived revolt in fury of losing his pregnant wife, Princess Thuận Thiên, to the Emperor under the pressure of Imperial Regent Trần Thủ Độ. Besides this event, Trần Liễu was well known in the history of Vietnam for being father of Trần Hưng Đạo, commander-in-chief of the Đại Việt army during the second and third war of resistance against the Mongol invasion.
Mother of the Nation Lady Linh Từ Trần Thị Dung (?–1259) was the last empress and the last empress mother of the Lý Dynasty. She was entitled by the Emperor Lý Huệ Tông as Empress Consort of the Lý Dynasty from 1216 to 1225 before becoming Empress Mother of the Lý Dynasty when her daughter Lý Phật Kim was enthroned as Lý Chiêu Hoàng in 1225. After Trần Thủ Độ, Trần Thị Dung's cousin, successfully overthrew the Lý Dynasty and founded the Trần Dynasty, Trần Thị Dung was downgraded to Princess Thiên Cực while her brother Trần Thừa's son became Trần Thái Tông, first emperor of the Trần Dynasty. Besides Lý Chiêu Hoàng, Trần Thị Dung had another daughter who eventually also became Empress of the Trần Dynasty, the Empress Thuận Thiên.
Empress Thuận Thiên (1216–1248) was the second empress of Trần dynasty, she succeeded her younger sister Empress Chiêu Thánh in 1237 by an arrangement of Trần Thủ Độ in which Prince Hoài Trần Liễu was forced to give up his 3-month pregnant wife Princess Thuận Thiên to the Emperor Trần Thái Tông. Thuận Thiên was born in the royal family of the Lý dynasty as the first child of the Emperor Lý Huệ Tông and Lady Thuận Trinh Trần Thị Dung with whom she witnessed the turbulent time of the Late Lý and Early Trần Dynasty. She was mother of four princes including the second emperor of the Trần Dynasty Trần Thánh Tông and grand chancellor Prince Chiêu Minh Trần Quang Khải.
Ỷ Lan or Empress Mother Linh Nhân was a Vietnamese regent, the imperial concubine of Lý Thánh Tông, the third emperor and the natural mother of Lý Nhân Tông, the fourth emperor of the Lý Dynasty. She served as regent during the absence of her spouse in 1066-68, and as co-regent during the reign of her son in 1073-1117.
Ngô Thị Ngọc Dao posthumous name Quang-thục Trinh-huệ Khiêm-tiết Hòa-xung Nhơn-thánh Dowager Empress (光淑禎惠謙節和沖仁聖皇太后), was a queen consort of Later Lê dynasty and mother of the Vietnamese emperor Lê Thánh Tông.
Dowager Empress Gia Từ of Lê clan was the consort of Trần dynasty.