Queen Inseon

Queen Inseon (Hangul: 인선왕후 장씨, Hanja: 仁宣王后 張氏; 9 February 1619 – 19 March 1674[1]), of the Deoksu Jang clan, was a posthumous name bestowed to the wife and queen consort of Yi Ho, King Hyojong. She was Queen consort of Joseon from 1649 until her husband's death in 1659, after which she was honoured as Queen Dowager Hyosuk (효숙왕대비). She was the first Joseon queen consort with the experience of living in a foreign country.

Queen Inseon
Queen Dowager of Joseon
Tenure23 March 1659 – 19 March 1674
PredecessorQueen Dowager Jaui
SuccessorQueen Dowager Hyeonryeol
Queen Consort of the Joseon
Tenure17 June 1649 – 23 March 1659
PredecessorQueen Jangryeol
SuccessorQueen Myeongseong
Crown Princess Consort of Joseon
Tenure1645 – 17 June 1649
PredecessorCrown Princess Minhoe
SuccessorCrown Princess Kim
Born9 February 1619
Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, Kingdom of Joseon
Died19 March 1674 (1674-03-20) (aged 55)
Hoesang Hall, Gyeongdeok Palace (Gyeonghui Palace), Hanseong, Kingdom of Joseon
SpouseYi Ho, King Hyojong
IssuePrincess Sukshin
Princess Uisun (adopted)
Princess Sukan
Unnamed prince
Princess Sukmyeong
Yi Yeon, King Hyeonjong
Princess Sukhwi
Unnamed prince
Princess Sukjeong
Princess Sukgyeong
Posthumous name
효숙경렬명헌인선왕후 孝肅貞範敬烈明獻仁宣王后
HouseDeoksu Jang
FatherJang Yu
MotherInternal Princess Consort Yeongga of the Andong Kim clan


Early lifeEdit

The future queen was born on 9 February 1619 during the 11th year of reign of King Gwanghae. Her father, Jang Yu, was member of the Deoksu Jang clan. Her mother was a member of the Andong Kim clan. Through her mother, Lady Jang is also a grandniece of Kim Jang-saeng making her be distantly related to Queen Ingyeong, her grandson’s wife, who is also the great-great-granddaughter of Kim Jang-saeng.

Imperial Consort Gwi-in of the Deoksu Jang clan was a descendant from her father. She became a concubine of King Gojong, the last king of the Joseon Dynasty, and was the mother of Yi Kang, Prince Imperial Ui.

It's said that she was courteous, had a gentle character, and had an adorable body form with chubby cheeks.

In 1630, when she was 12 years old, King Injo personally appointed the spouse of his second son, Yi Ho, Grand Prince Bongrim. Injo decided choose Jang Yu's daughter as his son's wife as he regarded her as wise and virtuous. The following year, she was bestowed with the title Princess Consort Pungan (풍안부부인, Pungan Bubuin), after an auspicious ceremony with Grand Prince Boram.

After entering the palace, Pungan was careful with her conduct every time of the day, and as she served and respected elders in a consistent manner, she received special love from her mother-in-law, Queen Inryeol. Four years later, she left the palace with her husband and lived in a private residence. At this point, she displayed her prudence through wisely taking care of house chores and handling all sorts of matters at home.

Qing InvasionEdit

When the Qing invasion of Joseon had occurred in 1636, Pungan fled to Gwangha Island along with Bongrim, her husband's sister-in-law, the Crown Princess Consort Kang, and her maternal grandfather, Kim Sang-yong, the Third State Councillor. Afterward, when the Qing dynasty's troops hand landed directly on Gwanghado Island, endangering the lives of many people, while everyone cried out with confusion, Pungan showed calmness and handled the crisis composedly as usual.

When the enemy had landed at Gwanghado Island and captured the castle, Kim Sang-yong set fire to gunpowder and self-destructed with his enemies. After his death, he was promoted as Yeonguijeong. However, Joseon suffered the defeat known as the "Humiliation at Samjeondo" during the Qing invasion in the end. As a result, Bongrim and his older brother, Crown Prince Sohyeon, were taken to Shenyang of the Qing dynasty as hostages. At this moment, Pungan also followed Bongrim to the Qing dynasty. She supported her husband by doing all sorts of difficult tasks for eight years, and she gave birth to 3 daughters and two sons there; one of them being her only son to reach adulthood, Yi Yeon.

Years later, although the Crown Prince was released and returned home, he died a mysterious death suspected of poisoning. When Bongrim returned from the Qing in 1645, he was appointed as the crown prince, making Pungan automatically the crown princess consort. Because of Crown Princess Kang, widow of the late Crown Prince Sohyeon, who was the most enlightened royal woman in Joseon history, was sentenced to death by King Injo. As the next crown princess, she had no choice but to use the former crown princess' death as a lesson to be learned.

Life as Queen ConsortEdit

After Injo died in 1649, Crown Prince Bongrim ascended to the throne as 17th Joseon monarch (temple name: Hyojong), making the Crown Princess Consort automatically the queen consort. As the head of royal consorts, she wisely led court ladies and treated her subordinates with kindness while being stern yet merciful.

For example, one of the King's concubine, Royal Noble Consort An of the Gyeongju Yi clan, caused a great stir after calling her daughter, Princess Suknyeong, "you". At that time, it was customary for royal concubines to avoid using informal speech to the king's children, even if she was their biological mother since princes and princesses of blood were in higher rank than a royal concubine. When this became known, the King tried to punish Yi An-bin, but the Queen adamantly persuaded the King to let it pass. In this manner, she truly cared for her subordinates.

However, in the Queen's epitaph, written in the Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty, it's recorded that she said, "If a wife regards highly of herself, since such an attitude rarely doesn't cause harm to one's home or country, hens should not cry at dawn." It also says one should take strict precautions about it. But as a witness to Crown Princess Kang's tragic death, such a way of thinking may have been the best strategy for her to rely on during the complicated political situation of the time.

The Queen exchanged written letters with her daughters who were married and among them, 70 copies of letters in Korean, sent between the Queen to Princess Sukshin and Princess Sukmyeong, are available currently. The Queen also cherished Princess Suknyeong, Yi An-bin's daughter and the only child of Hyojong from his royal concubine, without discrimination. For instance, there was occasion in which the King and the Queen were giving gifts to their children, and when the King gave gifts only to the princesses while being conscious of how the Queen would react without giving any present to the concubine's daughter, the Queen, who was worried about this, called Princess Suknyeong personally with a gift.

Furthermore, as the Queen also advocated the expedition to conquer the north as much as Hyojong, during her tenure as queen consort, she eradicated exorcism (known as Gutpan) and prohibited drinking. By unifying the color of blankets into two colors, red and blue, she also prepared them to be used as military uniform in case of a war and all of these prepared finances were used for conquering the north.

Life as Queen Dowager and Later LifeEdit

In 1659, as the King was receiving acupuncture to treat a boil on his head, he ended up losing too much blood during the process, making his condition critical, and eventually died in vain due to medical accident. On this, even though the Queen expressed her sorrow through severe wailing, she gave her best to make the funeral process meaningful, and it's told that she personally trimmed his fingernails as well as toenails and washed his body. After that, she only ate a thin rice gruel for 3 months.

Yi Yeon succeeded his father as 18th Joseon monarch (temple name: Hyeonjong) and she was honoured as Queen Dowager Hyosuk (효숙왕대비). However, she became ill because she failed to take care of her health after her husband's death. Afterwards, Hyosuk frequently went to Onyang and took a bath in a hot spring, showing a slight improvement in her health condition, but when she reached 56 years old in 1674, her illness suddenly aggravated and she died in Gyeongdeok Palace's (known at the time as Gyeonghui Palace), Hoesang Hall. Her tomb is in Yeongneung, located in Wangdae-ri, Neungseo-myeon, Yeoju-si, Gyeonggi-do, and is buried together with her husband in the Dongwonsanghareung cluster (the king's tomb lies in line with that of his wife). For her posthumous title, “In” (인, 仁) was for showing love and loyalty, and “Seon” (선, 宣) was for spreading goodness around and to others. Thus, she was posthumously honoured as Queen Inseon.

When Queen Inseon passed away, and because Injo's second consort, who was also her six years younger mother-in-law, Queen Dowager Jaui, was present, the problem was known as "Yesong Dispute",[2] which had become an issue after Hyojong's death, cropped up again. This triggered the second Yesong Dispute in Joseon.



  • Great-Great-Great-Grandfather
    • Jang Ok (장옥, 張玉)
  • Great-Great-Grandfather
    • Jang Ja-jong (장자중, 張自重)
  • Great-Grandfather
    • Jang Il (장일, 張逸)
  • Grandfather
    • Jang Un-ik (1561 – 1599) (장운익, 張雲翼)
  • Grandmother
    • Lady Park of the Miryang Park clan (? – 1632) (밀양 박씨)
  • Father
    • Jang Yu (22 January 1587 – 30 April 1638) (장유, 張維)
      • Uncle - Jang Shin (장신, 張紳) (? - 1637)
  • Mother
    • Internal Princess Consort Yeongga of the Andong Kim clan (영가부부인 안동 김씨, 永嘉府夫人 安東 金氏) (? - 19 January 1654)[3][4]
      • Grandfather − Kim Sang-yong (김상용, 金尙容) (1561 - 22 January 1637)[5][6][7]
      • Grandmother - Lady Kim of the Gwangsan Kim clan (광산 김씨)[8]


  • Older sister - Lady Jang of the Deoksu Jang clan (덕수 장씨)
  • Younger brother - Jang Seon-jing (장선징, 張善澂)
    • Nephew - Jang Hwan (장훤, 張楦)



  • Daughter − Princess Sukshin (1635 – 1637) (숙신공주)
  • Adoptive daughter − Yi Ae-suk, Princess Uisun (1635 – 1662) (이애숙 의순공주, 李愛淑)[9][10]
    • Adoptive son-in-lawPrince Dorgon (17 November 1612 – 31 December 1650) (도르곤)[11]
    • Adoptive son-in-lawPrince Bolo (1613 – 23 April 1652) (보로)[12]
  • Daughter − Princess Sukan (1636 – 22 December 1697) (숙안공주)
    • Son-in-law − Hong Deuk-gi (1635 – 1673) (홍득기, 洪得箕)[13]
      • Grandson - Hong Chi-sang (홍치상, 洪致祥) (1654 - 1689)
  • Unnamed prince (? - 1642)
  • Daughter − Princess Sukmyeong (1640 – 17 March 1699) (숙명공주)
    • Son-in-law − Sim Ik-hyeon (심익현, 沈益顯)[14]
      • Grandson - Sim Jeong-bo (심정보, 沈廷輔) (1658 - ?)
      • Grandson - Sim Jeong-hyeop (심정협, 沈廷協) 1659 - ?)
  • Son − Yi Yeon, King Hyeonjong (14 March 1641 – 17 September 1674) (조선 현종)
  • Daughter − Princess Sukhwi (1642 – 27 October 1696) (숙휘공주)
    • Son-in-law − Jeong Je-hyeon (정제현, 鄭齊賢)[15]
      • Grandson - Jeong Tae-il (정태일, 鄭台一) (1661 - 1685)
  • Unnamed prince (1645 - 1645)
  • Daughter − Princess Sukjeong (1646 – 13 June 1668) (숙정공주)
    • Son-in-law − Jeong Jae-ryun (1648 – 1723) (정재륜, 鄭載崙)[16]
      • Grandson - Jeong Hyo-seon (정효선, 鄭孝先) (1663 - 1680)
      • Granddaughter - Lady Jeong of the Dongrae Jeong clan (동래 정씨, 東萊 鄭氏)
  • Daughter − Princess Sukgyeong (1648 – 9 January 1671) (숙경공주)
    • Son-in-law − Won Mong-rin (1648 – 1674) (원몽린, 元夢麟)[17]
      • Granddaughter - Won Suk-hui (원숙희, 元淑喜) (1668 - ?)
      • Adoptive grandson - Won Myeong-gu (원명구, 元命龜);[18] son of Won Mong-ik (원몽익, 元夢翼)[19]

In popular cultureEdit

External linksEdit

  • 인선왕후 (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia.
  • Queen Inseon, Queen consort of Hyojong of the Joseon Dynasty (in Korean). 역사패치.


  1. ^ In lunar calendar, the Queen was born on 25 December 1618 and died on 24 February 1674
  2. ^ Whether to wear the mourning attire or sangbok
  3. ^ Her second cousin, Kim Su-jeung (김수증, 金壽增), became the grandfather of Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Andong Kim clan (a concubine of King Sukjong)
  4. ^ She is the half-niece of Kim Jang-saeng
  5. ^ His younger brother, Kim Sang-gwan (김상관, 金尙觀), eventually became the 6th great-grandfather of Queen Sunwon and Kim Jwa-geun
  6. ^ His brother-in-law, Kim Jang-saeng (김장생, 金長生) (8 August 1548 - 3 August 1631), became the father of Kim Jib and the paternal great-great grandfather of Queen Ingyeong.
  7. ^ His grandson, Kim Su-in (김수인, 金壽仁), became the father-in-law to Queen Jangryeol’s older brother, Jo Yun-seok (조윤석, 趙胤錫) (1615 - 1664)
  8. ^ She is the younger half-sister of Kim Jang-saeng
  9. ^ Daughter of Yi Gye-yun, Prince Geumrim and Lady Yu of the Munhwa Yu clan
  10. ^ She is a 4th great-granddaughter of King Seongjong
  11. ^ Was the son of Nurhaci and Lady Abahai.
  12. ^ Was the third son of Abatai.
  13. ^ He was from the Namyang Hong clan (남양 홍씨, 南陽 洪氏)
  14. ^ He was from the Cheongseong Sim clan (청송 심씨, 靑松 沈氏)
  15. ^ He was from the Yeonil Jeong clan (영일 정씨, 迎日 鄭氏)
  16. ^ He was from the Dongrae Jeong clan (동래 정씨, 東萊 鄭氏)
  17. ^ He was from the Wonju Won clan (원주 원씨, 原州 元氏)
  18. ^ A great-grandson of Song Jun-gil and a first cousin of Queen Inhyeon
  19. ^ Won Mong-ik married Queen Inhyeon’s maternal cousin (the granddaughter of Song Jun-gil)
Queen Inseon
Deoksu Jang clan
Royal titles
Preceded by
Queen Jangryeol
of the Yangju Jo clan
Queen consort of Joseon
1649 – 1659
Succeeded by
Queen Myeongseong
of the Cheongpung Kim clan
Preceded by
Queen Dowager Jaui (Jangryeol)
of the Yangju Jo clan
Queen dowager of Joseon
1659 – 1674
Succeeded by
Queen Dowager Hyeonryeol (Myeongseong)
of the Cheongpung Kim clan