Queen Hyojeong

Queen Hyojeong (6 March 1831 – 2 January 1904; 효정왕후 홍씨) of the Namyang Hong clan, also known as Empress Dowager Myeongheon (명헌왕태후), was the Queen Consort of King Heonjong of Joseon, the 24th monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. She was posthumously called as Hyojeong, the Accomplishment Empress (효정성황후, 孝定成皇后).

Queen Hyojeong
Empress Dowager of Korea
Tenure13 October 1897 – 2 January 1904
PredecessorTitle established
SuccessorTitle abolished
Queen Dowager of Joseon
Tenure1857 - 13 October 1897
PredecessorQueen Dowager Hyoyu
SuccessorQueen Dowager Yi
Queen Mother of Joseon
Tenure25 July 1849 - 1857
PredecessorTitle established
SuccessorQueen Mother Myeongsun
Queen Consort of Joseon
Tenure1844 - 25 July 1849
PredecessorQueen Hyohyeon
SuccessorQueen Cheorin
Born6 March 1831
Hamyeolhyeon, Jeolla Province, Kingdom of Joseon
Died2 January 1904 (1904-01-03) (aged 72)
Suindang, Gyeongun Palace, Hanseong, Korean Empire
SpouseKing Heonjong of Joseon (m. 1844—1849)
Posthumous name
  • 명헌대비; 明憲大妃
  • 명헌태후; 明憲太后
  • 명헌숙경예인정목홍성장순정휘장소단희수현의헌강수유령자온공안효정왕후; 明憲淑敬睿仁正穆弘聖章純貞徽莊昭端禧粹顯懿獻康綏裕寧慈溫恭安孝定王后
ClanNamyang Hong clan
FatherHong Jae-ryong
MotherInternal Princess Consort Yeonchang of the Juksan Ahn clan


Lady Hong was born on 6 March 1831 into the Namyang Hong clan to Hong Jae-ryeong and Lady Ahn of the Juksan Ahn clan. She was the eldest within four children.

After the first young queen consort, Queen Hyohyeon, had died, Lady Hong was arranged to become new Queen Consort of Joseon after the mourning period ended. After Queen Sunwon’s death, she was elevated to the rank of Royal Queen Dowager. Together with Queen Dowaager at that time, Queen Cheorin, Queen Hyojeong raised a young court attendant at the Dowager’s residence. She was then promoted to the rank of Grand Royal Queen Dowager following Sinjeong's death. At the age of 14, Lady Hong then married King Heonjong in 1844, but her husband soon died in 1849 at the age of 22; leaving no heirs and making her Queen Dowager of Joseon at the age of 19. At the age of 72, Queen Hyojeong died while holding the title of Myeongheon as her time as a dowager.

As she was the king’s wife, her mother was given the royal title of "Internal Princess Consort Yeonchang" (Hangul: 연창부부인, Hanja: 延昌府夫人 竹山 安氏), and her father was given the royal title of "Internal Prince Ikpung" (Hangul: 익풍부원군, Hanja: 益豊府院君).

Because the throne was vacant, this led to a distant relative, Cheoljong of Joseon, to take the throne, but then the king also died in 1864 leaving the throne empty. The Heungseon Daewongun then approached the Queen Shinjeong, Cheoljong's cousin, as he was a distant relative of King Injo and the adoptive son of Prince Eunsin. The Heungseon Daewongun was ineligible to throne due to a law that dictated that any possible heir to the kingdom be part of the generation after the most recent incumbent of the throne, but his second son Yi Myeong-bok, was a possible successor to the throne. On 21 January 1864, Yi Myeong-bok was enthroned as King Gojong.

It was said that, to appease her own boredom as the king's wife, Queen Hyojeong had worked with Queen Cheorin to take care of the younger court ladies in the palace.[1] Supposedly, Cheon Il-cheong (Hangul: 천일청, Hanja: 千一淸) was the last court maid in the Joseon Dynasty.[2]

The Queen’s mother-in-law, Grand Queen Dowager Hyoyu, died in 1890 but she continued being Queen Dowager throughout the reigns of King Cheoljong and King Gojong. It wasn’t until Gojong’s proclamation of the Korean Empire that the Queen Dowager became and held the title of being the empire’s only Empress Dowager of Korea on 13 October 1897.

She later died on 2 January 1904 within the quarters of Gyeonun Palace, now known as the Deoksu Palace, during the 7th year of Emperor Gwangmu’s reign.

Her tomb, Gyeongneung, is located in Donggureung, in the city of Guri, Gyeonggi Province, and is buried with her husband, Heonjong, and his first wife, Queen Hyohyeon.


  • 6 March 1831 - 1844: Lady Hong, daughter of Hong Jae-ryeong, of the Namyang Hong clan
  • 1844 - 25 July 1849: Her Royal Highness, the Queen Consort of Joseon (왕비; 王妃)
  • 25 July 1849 - 1857: Her Royal Highness, the Queen Dowager of Joseon (대비; 大妃)
  • 1857 - 13 October 1897: Her Royal Highness, the Royal Queen Dowager of Joseon (왕대비; 王大妃)
  • 13 October 1897 - 2 January 1904: Her Imperial Highness, the Empress Dowager of Korea (왕태후; 皇太后)
  • Posthumous title: Queen Hyojeong (효정왕후; 孝定王后)


  • Great-Grandfather
    • Hong Byeong-chae (홍병채, 洪秉寀)
  • Grandfather
    • Hong Gi-seob (홍기섭, 洪耆燮) (1781 - 1866)
  • Grandmother
    • Lady Jang of the Deoksu Jang clan (본관: 덕수 장씨, 德水 張氏) (1781 - 1824)
  • Father
    • Hong Jae-ryeong (홍재룡, 洪在龍) (6 November 1794 - 21 February 1863)
  • Mother
    • Internal Princess Consort Yeonchang of the Juksan Ahn clan (연창부부인 죽산 안씨, 延昌府夫人 竹山 安氏) (1814 - 1883)
      • Maternal Grandfather: Ahn Gwang-jik (안광직, 安光直) (1775 - 1861)
      • Maternal Step-Grandmother: Lady Yi of the Yeonan Yi clan (증 정경부인 연안 이씨, 贈 貞敬夫人 延安 李氏) (1774 - 1795)
      • Maternal Grandmother: Lady Yu of the Munhwa Yu clan (증 정경부인 문화 유씨, 贈 貞敬夫人 文化 柳氏) (1777 - 1840); Ahn Gwang-jik's second wife
  • Siblings
    • Younger brother: Hong Jong-seok (홍종석, 洪鍾奭) (1834 - 1870)
    • Younger sister: Lady Hong (홍씨, 洪氏)
    • Younger brother: Hong Jong-seon (홍종선, 洪鍾譱) (1854 - ?)
  • Husband
A folding screen which was depicted all the pomp and ceremony of a royal wedding of Heonjong of Joseon and Queen Hyojeong


  1. ^ "Royal Ladies of Joseon Dynasty". the talking cupboard. 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  2. ^ "효정왕후", 위키백과, 우리 모두의 백과사전 (in Korean), 2020-05-24, retrieved 2020-09-13


Preceded by Queen consort of Korea
Succeeded by