Zhu Changxun

Zhu Changxun (1586–1641) was the third son of the Ming dynasty Wanli Emperor. His mother, Noble Consort Zheng, was a favoured concubine and, in efforts to please her, the emperor attempted to have Zhu made heir apparent,[1] but failed to overturn the rule of primogeniture.[2] After the fall of the Ming, however, Zhu's son, Zhu Yousong, became emperor of the Southern Ming.

Zhu Changxun
Prince of Fu
Tenure1601 - 2 March 1641
(Fief taken in 1614)
SuccessorZhu Yousong
Born(1586-02-22)February 22, 1586
DiedMarch 2, 1641(1641-03-02) (aged 55)
Xiling (熙陵), Nanjing
SpouseConcubine Yao
Concubine Zou
Full name
Family name: Zhu (朱)
Given name: Changxun (常洵)
Posthumous name
  • Prince Zhong of Fu
    福忠王 (1641 - 1644)
  • Emperor Zhenchun Suzhe Shengjing Renyi Gong
    貞純肅哲聖敬仁毅恭皇帝 (1644)
  • Emperor Zhenchun Suzhe Shengjing Renyi Xiao
    貞純肅哲聖敬仁懿孝皇帝 (1644)
  • Emperor Mutian Fudao Zhenchun Suzhe Xiuwen Xianwu Shengjing Renyi Xiao
    慕天敷道貞純肅哲修文顯武聖敬仁毅孝皇帝 (1646)
Temple name
Ming Gongzong
HouseHouse of Zhu
FatherWanli Emperor
MotherNoble Consort Zheng


Zhu Changxun was born in 1586 to Noble Consort Zheng.[3] He was her third child and the third son of the Chinese Wanli Emperor.

He was made Prince of Fu (福) in 1601.[4] He was married in August 1604, for which his father levied taxes to fund the celebrations and wedding gifts.[5] His first son, Yousong, was born to a concubine and enfeoffed as Prince of Dechang (德昌) in 1613.[6] He moved his household to Luoyang in 1614, when he governed Henan as a fiefdom.[4]

Zhu was killed in 1641 during an uprising led by Li Zicheng.[7] After his soldiers fell to Li's army, Zhu fled to Ying'en Temple (Chinese: 迎恩寺; pinyin: yíng'ēn sì) with his eldest son. Whilst Zhu was captured, his son managed to escape. The next day, Zhu was executed in front of a large crowd, presided over by Li Zicheng, at Zhougong Temple (Chinese: 周公廟; pinyin: Zhōugōng miào). Reports claim that Zhu was killed, then his body boiled with that of a deer to make stew, and his flesh was eaten by Li Zicheng and his soldiers. A memorial stone erected by the Hongguang Emperor states that his body was interred near Mt. Mang (邙), but was moved to Nanjing later on.[8]

Imperial successionEdit

In 1586, the Wanli Emperor decreed that Zhu's mother should be given the title of Imperial Noble Consort. However, this met with much opposition, as the mother of the emperor's eldest son was only referred to as Consort.[9] The emperor's actions were perceived as the precursor to declaring Zhu heir apparent, instead of his elder brother, Zhu Changluo.[10] The emperor's advisers argued that, if Zheng were to be made Imperial Noble Consort, then the emperor should simultaneously elevate Gong to Noble Consort.[11] Over the next decade, advisers also attempted to persuade the emperor that abandoning the tradition of primogeniture had made Zheng the object of anger and disgust, not only in the court, but also across the country.[12]

Finally, the emperor declared his eldest son heir apparent in 1601 and gave Zhu Changxun the title Prince of Fu. However, Zhu was not made to leave the imperial court in keeping with tradition until 1614, when he moved his household to Luoyang.[13]


  • Consorts
  1. Lady Yao (姚氏) or Tian (田氏), the primary consort and mother of Zhu Yousong. Posthumously honoured as "Empress Dowager Xiaocheng Duanhui Cishun Zhenmu" (孝誠端惠慈順貞穆皇太后) by Zhu Yousong, Zhu Youlang changed the posthumous title to "Empress Xiaocheng Duanhui Cishun Zhenmu Futian Dusheng Gong" (孝誠端惠慈順貞穆符天篤聖恭皇后)
  2. Lady Zou (鄒氏) the primary consort. Honoured as Empress Dowager with the title Empress Dowager Kezhen Renshou (恪貞仁壽皇太后) by Zhu Yousong
  • Issues:
  1. Zhu Yousong succeeded the title of Prince of Fu, later enthroned as the Hongguang Emperor of Southern Ming
  2. Zhu Youju (朱由榘) (26 July 1609 - 1618), held the commandery princely title under the title Comm. Prince of Yingshang (潁上郡王). Later posthumously bestowed as "Prince Chong of Ying" (潁沖王) by Zhu Yousong
  3. Zhu Youhua (朱由樺), held the commandery princely title under the title Comm. Prince of Dechang (德昌郡王). Later posthumously bestowed as "Prince Huai of De" (德懷王) by Zhu Yousong



  1. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 171.
  2. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 364.
  3. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 217.
  4. ^ a b Li & Zhang (1987), p. 47.
  5. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 390 and 391.
  6. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 554.
  7. ^ Li & Zhang (1987), p. 48.
  8. ^ Li & Zhang (1987), p. 49.
  9. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 171.
  10. ^ Huang (1988), pp. 516.
  11. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 171.
  12. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 266.
  13. ^ History Office (1620s), volume 364.

Works citedEdit

  • History Office, ed. (1620s). 明實錄:明神宗實錄 [Veritable Records of the Ming: Veritable Records of Shenzong of Ming] (in Chinese). Ctext. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  • Huang, Ray (1988). "The Lung-ch'ing and Wan-li reigns, 1567–1620". In Mote, Frederick W.; Twitchett, Denis (eds.). The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. The Cambridge History of China. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 511–584. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521243322.008. ISBN 9781139054751.
  • Li 李, Xianji 献奇; Zhang 张, Qinbo 钦波 (1987). "明福王朱常洵圹志" [The memorial stone of the Ming Prince of Fu, Zhu Changxun]. Zhongyuan Wenwu (in Chinese) (03): 47–49.