Southern Song Dynasty

Empress Han

Han was born in modern-day Henan, the descendant of a prominent Northern Song official. She became a concubine of Ningzong along with her older sister. She was selected as the primary consort of Ningzong, and appointed his empress after his succession. Empress Han and her family managed to attain influence over the affairs of state, backed by the so called ‘War party’, succeed in persuading Ningzong to depose and disgrace senior minister Zhao Ruyu and replaced him with her militarist relative, Han Tuozhou.

Southern Song Dynasty

Empress Yang

Empress Yang (30 June 1162 – 18 January 1233), formally titled Empress Gongsheng, was a Chinese empress consort of the Song dynasty, married to Emperor Ningzong of Song. She served as the co-regent of Emperor Lizong and ultimately like a de facto empress regnant though not actually one from 1224 until her death in 1233 at the age of 71, having been the de facto ruler of the Southern Song dynasty for 30 whole years. Empress Yang, also known by the name Yang Meizi, is considered “one of the most powerful empresses of the Song dynasty and is allegedly considered the Southern Song dynasty’s most powerful Empress at the time”

Spouse: Emperor Ningzong of Song

Emperor Ningzong of Song (Zhao Kuo), the 13th emperor of the Song dynasty and the fourth emperor of the Southern Song dynasty in China, ruled from 1194 until his death in 1224. As the only surviving child of his predecessor Guangzong, Ningzong exhibited a weak-minded demeanor easily influenced by women. During his reign, he commissioned the construction of 75 commemorative shrines and steles, a record in Song history. Ningzong was a notable patron of the arts, supporting painters like Liang Kai and Ma Yuan by appointing them as painter-in-waiting and composing poems inspired by their works. Upon his death, Emperor Lizong, a minor official and relative, succeeded Ningzong.

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