Northern Song Dynasty

Empress Gao

Empress Gao (1032–1093) was a Chinese empress of the Song dynasty, married to Emperor Yingzong. Niece to Empress Cao, she was chosen as the principal consort by her aunt, and they had four sons and two daughters. Gao became Empress in 1063 when Emperor Yingzong succeeded Emperor Renzong. In 1067, her son Emperor Shenzong succeeded Yingzong, and she became Empress Dowager. During Shenzong’s reign, she opposed Wang Anshi’s reform policies and supported Sima Guang. Upon Shenzong’s death in 1085, her grandson, Emperor Zhezong, ascended the throne, and Gao became Grand Empress Dowager and regent. As regent, she appointed conservatives like Sima Guang, discontinuing the New Policies. Gao’s rule is noted for restoring stability and peace, but it has been criticized for reactionary passivity. She retained her regency until her death in 1093, advising officials to retire on her deathbed.

Spouse: Emperor Yizong of Song

Emperor Yingzong of Song (1032–1067), originally named Zhao Zongshi, later changed to Zhao Shu by imperial decree in 1062, was the fifth emperor of the Song dynasty in China, reigning from 1063 until his death in 1067. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Emperor Shenzong.

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