Northern Song Dynasty

Empress Meng

Empress Meng (Chinese: 昭慈圣献皇后; 1073 – 1131) was a daughter of Meng Yuen and the Chinese empress consort of the Song dynasty, married to Emperor Zhezong of Song. She served as a regent of China in 1127, and during the minority of Emperor Zhang, the son of Emperor Gaozong of Song, who was temporarily placed upon the throne for 25 days in 1129. She played a significant political role in Chinese politics: first by legitimizing the Da Chu dynasty in 1127, and then ending it by legitimizing Emperor Gaozong of Song as the heir of the Song dynasty.

Northern Song Dynasty

Empress Liu

Empress Liu (1079-1113) of the Song dynasty was initially a consort to Emperor Zhezong before becoming his favorite and ultimately his empress. While her background remains obscure, her rise in the court led to tensions, especially with the previously chosen empress, Meng. Emperor Zhezong’s favoritism towards Liu possibly stemmed from his resentment towards Empress Meng, who was chosen for him by the Empress Dowager Regent Gao. The rivalry between Liu and Meng culminated in a witchcraft scandal in 1096, leading to the demotion of Meng. In 1100, Liu bore Zhezong a son and was elevated to empress, a decision contested by many officials and the Dowager Empress Xiang. Upon Zhezong’s death, the succeeding Emperor Huizong’s regency led to Liu and Meng both holding the title of Empress Dowager. In 1113, under mysterious circumstances, Empress Liu was reported to have been forced to commit suicide after allegations of her interference in state matters.

Spouse: Emperor Zhezong of Song

Emperor Zhezong of Song (Zhao Xu) was the seventh emperor of the Song dynasty in China, reigning from 1085 until his death in 1100. Originally named Zhao Yong, he changed it to Zhao Xu after his coronation. Ascending the throne at the age of nine, he was under the supervision of his grandmother, Grand Empress Dowager Gao. Zhezong’s reign ended in 1100, and he was succeeded by his younger half-brother, Emperor Huizong, as his son had died prematurely. He was the sixth son of Emperor Shenzong.

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