Queen Wondeok

Queen Wondeok of the Yu clan (Hangul: 원덕왕후 유씨, Hanja: 元德王后 柳氏; 1167–1239) was a Korean Royal Family member as the descendants of King Munjong who became Queen consort as the second wife of her fourth cousin once removed, King Gangjong of Goryeo[6] and the mother of his successor, Gojong of Goryeo. She was the one of Goryeo queens who followed their maternal clan since married Gangjong, which very close-relative in maternal line and distant-relative in paternal line.

Queen Wondeok
Crown Princess Consort of Goryeo
TenureSeptember 1175–1211
CoronationSeptember 1175
PredecessorDeposed Crown Princess Yi
SuccessorDeposed Crown Princess Wang
Queen Consort of Goryeo
PredecessorQueen Seongpyeong
SuccessorQueen Anhye
Queen Mother of Goryeo
PredecessorQueen Mother Seonjeong
SuccessorQueen Mother Myeongdeok
MonarchKing Gojong
Kingdom of Goryeo
Died1239 (aged about 72/3)
Kingdom of Goryeo
Golleung tomb,[1][2] San 75, Giljeong-ri, Yangdo-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon-si[3]
(m. 1175; died 1213)
IssueGojong of Goryeo
Regnal name
Princess Yeondeok
연덕궁주, 延德宮主 (given in 1212)
Posthumous name
Queen Mother Jeonggang Wondeok[4]
HouseHouse of Wang (by birth)
Yu clan (by marriage)
FatherWang Seong, Marquess Sinan
MotherPrincess Changrak[5]

At one time, she was the second-in-command in the inner list of the main palace, but was dethroned and came back as a Queen Consort and Queen Mother (first-in-command), but due to the war, her husband got exiled and she hid in Ganghwa Island. During her lifetime, she already lived a dynamic life in many ways.


Marriage and Palace lifeEdit

She married Crown Prince Wang O in September 1175, one year after his first wife's removal and became his second Crown Princess consort. Then, after 17 years married, on January 1192, she bore him a son, Wang Jin (the future Gojong, King Anhyo the Great).[7]

However, in 1197, her father-in-law, King Myeongjong was deposed and imprisoned in Changrak Palace by Choe Chung-heon and Choe Chung-su. As a result, her husband was also dethroned and got exiled to Ganghwa Island. Myeongjong's throne then given to his youngest brother, the 53-years-old Wang Tak and after his death, it was succeeded by his own son, Wang Yeong. Their life in Ganghwa would have been a life without any hope and they must suffered a lot.

After that, in 1212, she formally became Queen Consort and given royal title as Princess Yeondeok (연덕궁주, 延德宮主) following the 60-years-old Wang O's succession to the throne after his first cousin, King Huijong failed to attacked and was defeated by that two Choe brothers. Since exile to Ganghwa, it was already 14 years. Also, the Queen now came back to Manwoldae again. Although not biological daughter, it seems that she raised her husband and his first wife's only daughter, Princess Suryeong well and took good care on her. When the Princess was married, she dedicated a tribute to her father and her stepmother, which the Princess thanked the Queen for taking care of her along this time.

It was believed that the Queen had virtuous qualities and a beautiful figure. One year later, her husband fell ill and died at 62 years old while left her alone with her son. His throne then was succeed by their only son, which she later became the Queen Mother (태후, 太后).[8] Although the date when she formally became the queen mother was unknown, but in September 1215, she and her son stayed in Western Cheongju Palace (청주동궁, 淸州洞宮) for a while. From this time, she then called as Grand Queen Mother (왕태후, 王太后)[9] and in 1216, her mother passed away. For three days after this, Gojong was said to wore So-bok (소복) for his maternal grandmother's mourn.

In April 1218, her son married one of his relative, Queen Anhye and one year later, their eldest son and child, Prince Wang Jeon was born. In October 1220, the Queen Mother's brother, Marquess Yeongin was died. In 1232, she left Sangdo (상도, 上都) and moved to Gangdo (강도, 江都), which her daughter-in-law died in the same year. Three years later, Wang Jeon married and in 1236, his eldest son, Prince Wang Sim was born.

Meanwhile, the Queen Mother died on her 72/3 years old in 1239 after life as a queen mother for more than 20 years. She then buried in Golleung Tomb (곤릉, 坤陵) which nowadays become the "Historic Site No. 371".[10] Then, received her Posthumous name under her son's command with the name of Jeonggang (정강, 靖康) in 1253.[6]

Based on [3]


The Queen's father-in-law, King Myeongjong was initially her mother, Princess Changrak's brother. So, both she and her husband, King Gangjong were initially (maternal) first cousin and were came from King Sukjong and Queen Myeongui's blood.[11]

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ One of the four Goryeo Royal Tombs who left in South Korea, along with:
  2. ^ "문화부, 경기도 강화군 '비능'등 4건 문화재 사적 지정". Hankyung Ilbo (in Korean). 10 March 1992. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  3. ^ "Document". www.museum.go.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  4. ^ 韓國女性關係資料集: 中世篇(中) [Collection of Korean Women's Relations: Middle Ages (Part 2)] (in Korean). Ewha Womans University Women's Research Center: Ewha Womans University Press. 1985. p. 41. ISBN 9788973000432.
  5. ^ "고려시대 史料 Database". Goryeosa (in Korean). Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "고려시대 史料 Database". Goryeosa (in Korean). Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  7. ^ "고종 총서". Goryeosa (in Korean). Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  8. ^ There were no any records said that she became Taehu in History of Goryeo.
  9. ^ In October 1223, King Gojong raised "Empress Dowager" (황태후) to "Grand Empress Dowager" (태황태후). But who held this title were unknown since Gojong not made it more specify. It must be Queen Mother Jeongseon, the widowed queen of King Sinjong, who died a year ago or Wondeok, who was still alive at this time. If true, Queen Wondeok was the first woman in Goryeosa who became and held the title as "Grand Empress Dowager".
  10. ^ "[인천의 문화유산] 사적 371호 강화 곤릉". Kyunggi Ilbo (in Korean). 4 April 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Lee, Sang-gak (2014). 고려사 - 열정과 자존의 오백년 - Volume 1 [History of Goryeo - Biographies and Self Esteem 500 Years - Volume 1] (in Korean). Deullyeok. ISBN 9791159250248.