Southern Song Dynasty

Empress Zhu

Empress Zhu of the Song dynasty, born in Bianjing in 1102, was married to Emperor Qinzong in 1116 and became empress in 1126 following Emperor Huizong’s abdication. However, in 1127, disaster struck when the Jurchen captured the capital during the Jin–Song Wars. Emperor Qinzong, his predecessor Emperor Huizong, and much of the imperial court were exiled to Manchuria in the notorious Jingkang Incident. While many died during this brutal relocation, the survivors, including the women and eunuchs of the court, were distributed as slaves among the Jurchen. Although older consorts were spared due to their age, the young and beautiful Empress Zhu faced imminent violation. To preserve her dignity and avoid this grim fate, she tragically took her own life.

Spouse: Emperor Qinzong of Song

Emperor Qinzong of Song (Zhao Huan), the ninth emperor of the Song dynasty and the final ruler of the Northern Song dynasty, ascended to the throne in 1126 when the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty forces invaded, initiating the first siege of Bianjing. Faced with the invasion, Qinzong’s father, Emperor Huizong, contemplated fleeing but was persuaded by officials to abdicate first. Consequently, Huizong abdicated in favor of Qinzong, who assumed the throne while Huizong took on the title Taishang Huang (Retired Emperor) and fled to the countryside.

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