Korean Language Blog

Korean Royal Couples Posted by on Apr 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

With the wedding of William and Kate in England, interest in the royals is at an all time high. Since the royal wedding in England, I think the question on people’s minds is on whether William and Kate will live happily ever after. As you know, Prince Charles and Diana’s fairy tale wedding did not end up as a fairy tale marriage. Moreover, did you know that the Korean people used to have a royal family as well? Like royals couples everywhere, Korean royal couples have had their ups and downs.

Take for instance Emperor Gwangmu (광무제) and his wife Empress Myeongseong (명성황후). The first years of Emperor Gwangmu and Empress Myeongseong’s marriage was difficult because Emperor Gwangmu’s father was a meddlesome figure in the couple’s lives. When Empress Myeongseong had a son that died prematurely, the Emperor’s father ordered his son to have a child with a court concubine. Empress Myeongseong took this as a threat and expelled him from court. As to the court concubine and her son, the Empress would later exile them out of the palace. Eventually the Emperor and Empress would become very close partners in their personal and political life.

King Sukjong (숙종왕) and Queen Inhyeon (인현왕후) was anything but a stable marriage. Initially King Sukjong wanted his son by his concubine Lady Jang Hwi Bin (회빈장씨) to be given the title of Crown Prince. When Queen Inhyeon’s relatives protested, he had the Queen and her relatives sent into exile. In remorse, King Sukjong called his exiled wife back to the palace, but she died mysteriously soon after. When King Sukjong discovered that Lady Jang was involved in the Queen’s death, he had Lady Jang executed. King Sukjong and Queen Inhyeon never had children. This was a tragic story of a royal couple that got caught up in court politics.


The story of King Seongjong (성종왕) and his wife Queen Jejeon (제헌왕후) is also another story of a royal couple that met a tragic end. Queen Jejeon was jealous of the King’s concubines and one day she scratched the king’s face over the King’s unfaithfulness. When the King’s mother heard about the incident, she ordered the Queen into exile and changed her title to Deposed Queen Lady Yun (페비 윤씨). While in exile, Lady Yun was executed by royal decree. Lady Yun’s son would grow up to become the next king. His reign was reign of terror that was exacted by his desire to punish those who executed his mother. Eventually Lady Yun’s son was dethroned and her grandsons were executed.


Keep learning Korean with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it