Empress Zhenyi and Empress Ruizhen
Consort Dugu, also known as Empress Zhenyi, was an influential imperial consort during the Tang Dynasty in China, serving Emperor Daizong (Li Chu). Although she never attained the title of empress during her lifetime, she held a prominent position within the palace and was Emperor Daizong’s favored concubine. Born to Dugu Ying, an officer in the imperial guard corps, Consort Dugu entered the palace around 757 and quickly became Emperor Daizong’s exclusive favorite. Elevated to the rank of Guifei, the highest among imperial consorts, in 768, she bore Emperor Daizong two children, including Princess Huayang. Despite rumors of attempts to make her empress, Emperor Daizong resisted, likely to protect the position of his oldest son, Li Kuo. Consort Dugu’s death in 775 deeply affected the emperor, who posthumously honored her as empress and lavished honors on her family. She was buried in 778 alongside Princess Huayang, and her mourning was commemorated in a text composed by Chancellor Chang Gun.
Consort Shen, later known as Empress Ruizhen, was a Tang Dynasty woman and consort of Emperor Daizong of Tang (Li Chu), serving as the mother of the future Emperor Dezong (Li Kuo). During the Anshi Rebellion, she was captured by the rebel Yan forces, and though Emperor Daizong briefly regained her, she disappeared during the war’s later stages. Despite persistent efforts by Emperors Daizong and Dezong to locate her post-war, she was never found and was declared deceased by her great-grandson Emperor Xianzong in 805. Born into a prominent family in Wuxing, she became Li Chu’s consort, giving birth to his eldest son Li Kuo in 742. Her capture during the rebellion and subsequent disappearance remained unresolved, leading to various failed attempts to locate her, with a notable incident involving a woman falsely claiming to be Empress Ruizhen. Her family received posthumous honors, and she was officially declared deceased in 805.
Spouse: Emperor Daizong of Tang
Emperor Daizong of Tang (726–779), born Li Chu, was the eldest son of Emperor Suzong and an emperor of the Chinese Tang dynasty. He played a crucial role during the Anshi Rebellion, serving as a general in joint operations with Huige forces to recapture Chang’an and Luoyang from the rebel state of Yan. Although the rebellion was quelled in 763, Daizong’s reign faced challenges from warlords like Tian Chengsi and Li Baochen, leading to a gradual erosion of central government power. Despite efforts to remove corrupt influences like eunuch Li Fuguo, his rule saw dominance by figures such as Cheng Yuanzhen and Yu Chao’en. Emperor Daizong’s reign marked the first instance of a Tang emperor ascending the throne due to maneuvers by eunuchs, and he was noted for his strong devotion to Buddhism.