Empress Xiaoxianchun, born in 1712, was the first wife of the Qianlong Emperor, reigning from 1738 until her death in 1748. Known for her virtue, frugality, and dedication to Confucian rituals, she was born into the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner Fuca clan. After marrying the Yongzheng Emperor in 1727, who later became the Qianlong Emperor, she became empress in 1738. Despite personal tragedies, such as the premature deaths of her children, including the crown prince, and her own declining health, Empress Xiaoxianchun fulfilled her ceremonial duties diligently. Her death in 1748 deeply affected the emperor, leading to strict mourning decrees and a lavish funeral. The Qianlong Emperor mourned her loss and expressed his grief by punishing those who did not mourn appropriately for the empress.
Spouse: Emperor Qianlong
The Qianlong Emperor, born in 1711 as Hongli, was the fifth Qing emperor, reigning from 1735 to 1796. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he voluntarily abdicated in 1796 in favor of his son, the Jiaqing Emperor, out of respect for his grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor, who had the longest reign in Chinese history. Despite stepping down, Qianlong retained power as the Emperor Emeritus until his death in 1799 at the age of 87. Renowned as the “Emperor Manjushri” by Tibetans, Qianlong was a capable and cultured ruler who presided over the High Qing era, marked by the dynasty’s zenith in power, influence, and prosperity. However, his later years saw the onset of decline, characterized by corruption in his court and societal stagnation, contrasting with the earlier military successes and territorial expansions that made the Qing empire the world’s most populous and economically significant.