Empress Wang Zhengjun (Traditional Chinese: 王政君), (71 BC – 13), official imperial title Empress Xiaoyuan (孝元皇后), later and more commonly known as Grand Empress Dowager Wang, born in Yuancheng (modern Handan, Hebei), was an empress during the Western Han Dynasty of China, who played important roles during the reigns of five successive Han emperors—her husband, her son, her two stepgrandsons, and her stepgreat-grandnephew—and later (according to traditional historians, unwittingly) led to the usurpation of the throne by her nephew Wang Mang. She is largely viewed sympathetically by historians as an unassuming and benevolent if overly doting woman who suffered much in her long life, who tried to influence the empire as well as she could, and who was not a party to her nephew's machinations, but whose failure, leading to the downfall of the Western Han Dynasty, was her overdependence on her clan (the Wangs).
Read more about Empress Wang Zhengjun: Marriage and Accession, Empress During Reign of Yuan, Empress Dowager During Reign of Cheng, Cheng's "women Troubles" and Lack of Heir, Role During Reign of Ai, Wang Mang's Usurpation, Role During Reign of Wang Mang and Death, Family of Empress Wang, Further Reading
Famous quotes containing the word empress:
“We never really are the adults we pretend to be. We wear the mask and perhaps the clothes and posture of grown-ups, but inside our skin we are never as wise or as sure or as strong as we want to convince ourselves and others we are. We may fool all the rest of the people all of the time, but we never fool our parents. They can see behind the mask of adulthood. To her mommy and daddy, the empress never has on any clothesand knows it.”
—Frank Pittman (20th century)