Empress dowager

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Ministerialis

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.

Contents

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.

By country

For grand empresses dowager, visit grand empress dowager.

East Asia

Chinese empresses dowager

Han dynasty
Jin dynasty
Northern dynasties
Tang dynasty
Song dynasty
Yuan dynasty
Qing dynasty

Japanese empress dowager

Standard of the Japanese Empress Dowager Japan Kou(tai)gou Flag.svg
Standard of the Japanese 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:

Korean empress dowager

Europe

Holy Roman dowager empresses

Eleonora Gonzaga was empress dowager from 1657–1686. [5]

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.

Russian dowager empresses

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.

South Asia

Indian empresses dowager

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).

Southeast Asia

Vietnamese empresses dowager

Đinh-Early Lê dynasties
  • Empress Dowager Dương Vân Nga (952–1000): In 979, her husband Emperor Đinh Bộ Lĩnh died after an assassination, her son Prince Đinh Toàn ascended to the throne, she became empress dowager and handled all political matters. But later she dethroned her son and ceded the throne to Lê Đại Hành and married him. Once again she took the title of empress consort. Because she was an empress twice with two different emperors, she is called "Hoàng hậu hai triều" (Two-dynasty Empress). [6]
Lý dynasty
Trần dynasty

See also

Notes

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Lý dynasty

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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.

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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 Empress Mother Linh Nhân

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

Dowager Empress Gia Từ of Lê clan was the consort of Trần dynasty.

References

Citations

  1. Ponsonby-Fane (1959), pp. 337–338.
  2. Ponsonby-Fane (1959), pp. 335–337.
  3. Ponsonby-Fane (1959), pp. 334–335.
  4. Ponsonby-Fane (1959), pp. 333–334.
  5. "Souborný katalog AV ČR - Zápas o funkci nejvyššího štolmistra na dvoře císařovny vdovy Eleonory Gonzagové : Edice důvěrné korespondence bratří Ditrichštejnů z roku 1683 = Struggle for the stallmeister's position on the court of the empress dowager Eleonora Gonzaga. : Edition of private correspondence between the Dietrichstein brothers dated 1683 / Jiří Kubeš". www.lib.cas.cz.
  6. VnExpress. "Chuyện về 'hoàng hậu hai triều' Dương Vân Nga - VnExpress".
  7. "Vietnampackagetour.com". vietnampackagetour.com.

Works cited

Books