Tripti Joshi

Empress Zhang (Hongxi)

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Name  Empress Zhang
Role  Hongxi

Died  1442
Children  Zhu Zhanshan
Empress Zhang (Hongxi)
Similar People  Hongxi Emperor, Xuande Emperor, Yongle Emperor

Empress Zhang (1379–20 November 1442), was a Chinese Empress consort of the Ming Dynasty, married to the Hongxi Emperor. She served as the Regent of China during the minority of her grandson, Emperor Yingzong of Ming, from 1435 until 1442.


Early life

Zhang was from Northern Shanxi. She was the daughter of Zhang Qi. She became the first spouse of the future Hongxi Emperor in 1396. On her marriage, her father was posthumously enfeoffed as Count of Peng. In 1404, her spouse was made heir apparent and Zhang was elevated to crown princess (Chinese: 皇太子妃; pinyin: huángtàizǐ fēi). She gave birth to 3 sons and a daughter.


On 7 September 1424, her spouse ascended the throne as the Hongxi Emperor, and 29 October, she was made empress. She was described as wise, good and capable, with a great knowledge of all events both inside and outside of the palace, and was held in good confidence of the emperor, who allowed her to participate in state affairs.

In 1425, her son succeeded to the throne as the Xuande-Emperor. He granted his mother the title of Empress Dowager. She was a dominant presence during the reign of her son, and accompanied him on his trips around the empire.


In 1435, Zhang's son was succeeded by her eight-year-old grandson, Emperor Yingzong of Ming, and she was granted the title Grand Empress Dowager. A regency was formed consisting of Zhang Fu (Duke of Yingguo), as well as three grand secretaries: Yang Shiqi, Yang Rong and Yang Pu, with Empress Zhang as the head of the regency council and regent. She was never formally given the title of regent: when she was asked to, she responded that there was no ancestral precedence for such a thing in the dynasty. Though she refused the title, however, she still acted as regent, and held council with her ministers, listened to their views, and reserved the final say to her.

She kept her position as regent of China until her death in 1442.


Empress Zhang (Hongxi) Wikipedia

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