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Empress Xiaoyuanzhen

Empress Xiaoyuanzhen (1580-1613) was the first wife of the Taichang Emperor when he was crown prince. She died before he ascended the throne, but is more commonly known by her posthumous name.

Empress Xiaoyuanzhen
Empress Xiaoyuanzhen
Born1580 (1580)
Shuntian Prefecture, Beijing
Died1613 (aged 32–33)
SpouseTaichang Emperor
IssueZhu Huijuan, Princess Huaishu
Posthumous name
1615: Crown Princess Gōngjìng
1620: Empress Dowager Xiàoyuán zhāoyì zhéhuì zhuāngrén hétiān bìshèng zhēn
ClanGuo (郭)
FatherGuo Weicheng (郭維城)


Lady Guo was selected as concubine to the crown prince, Zhu Changluo, in 1601.[1] Her father, Guo Weicheng, was enfeoffed as Count of Boping (Chinese: 博平) as a result of her status, and later raised to the rank of marquis.[2] She died in 1613.[1]


Qingling, Ming tombs, where Empress Xiaoyuanzhen is buried.

Lady Guo died while her husband was still crown prince, and her burial with the accoutrements and rituals of an imperial crown prince's concubine was prevented by her father-in-law, the Wanli Emperor.[1] It was not until an assassination attempt against Zhu Changluo in 1615, allegedly orchestrated by his father's favourite concubine Noble Consort Zheng, that popular opinion forced the emperor to acknowledge his eldest son and grant Lady Guo a proper burial.[1] At this time, she was granted the posthumous name of Crown Princess Gongjing.[2] When the Tianqi Emperor, her husband's son by a concubine, ascended the throne, he granted her the posthumous title of Empress and had her remains moved to the Ming tombs, where she was buried alongside the short-lived Taichang Emperor and included in the family shrine.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d zhaoxiaoyan (2 February 2015). "朱常洛嫡妃孝元皇后郭氏简介 孝元贞皇后生平" [Biography of Empress Xiaoyuan of the Guo clan, first concubine of Zhu Changluo: life of Empress Xiaoyuanzhen]. Qulishi. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Zhang Tingyu (1739), Second Biographies

Works citedEdit