Empresses dowager by country
For grand empresses dowager, visit grand empress dowager.
Chinese empresses dowager
- Han dynasty
- Northern dynasties
- Tang dynasty
- Song dynasty
- Yuan dynasty
- Qing dynasty
Holy Roman dowager empresses
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Eleonora Gonzaga was empress dowager from 1657–1686.
Although never referred to as a dowager, Empress Matilda was controversially the Holy Roman Empress and continued to be referred to as "empress" long after her husband's death; Although having abandoned the throne for her son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, Empress Constance widow of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor remained her title as "empress dowager" till her death.
Indian empresses dowager
Queen-Empress Victoria was widowed in 1861, before her accession as Queen-Empress of India. Her son, her grandson and her great-grandson all died before their wives, and their widows were known as empresses dowager in this Indian context. Had George VI, the last Emperor of India, died before the independence of India was proclaimed in 1947, his widow would have been known as the dowager empress of India. However, George VI did not die until 1952, some years after India's formal independence and the renunciation of the title Emperor of India by the British monarch (which took place formally in 1948).
Japanese empress dowager
Standard of the Empress Dowager.
In the complex organization of the Japanese Imperial Court, the title of "empress dowager" does not automatically devolve to the principal consort of an Emperor who has died. The title "Kōtaigō" can only be bestowed or granted by the Emperor who will have acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
The following were granted this Imperial title:
- HIM Empress Dowager Kōjun (香淳皇太后 Kōjun kōtaigō, 1903-2000), widow of Emperor Shōwa
- HIM Empress Dowager Teimei (貞明皇太后 Teimei kōtaigō, 1884–1951), widow of Emperor Taishō
- HIM Empress Dowager Shōken (昭憲皇太后 Shōken kōtaigō, 1849–1914), widow of Emperor Meiji
- HIM Empress Dowager Eishō (英照皇太后 Eishō kōtaigō, 1834–1898), widow of Emperor Kōmei
- HIM Empress Dowager Yoshiko (欣子皇太后 Yoshiko kōtaigō, 1779–1846), widow of Emperor Kōkaku
Korean empress dowager
Russian dowager empresses
Dowager empresses of Russia held precedence over the empress consort. This was occasionally a source of tension. For example, when Paul I was assassinated, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg), for whom this tradition was started, often took the arm of her son Tsar Alexander I at court functions and ceremonies while his wife Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna (Louise of Baden) walked behind, which caused resentment on the part of the young empress. The same thing happened decades later when Emperor Alexander III died, and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark) held precedence over Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (Alix of Hesse), which put an enormous strain on their already tense relationship. The power struggle culminated when the Dowager Empress refused to hand over certain jewels traditionally associated with the Empress Consort.
There have been four dowager empresses in Russia:
Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna was briefly and concurrently, along with her mother in-law Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, a Dowager empress. She is therefore often forgotten as an Dowager Empress.
Vietnamese empresses dowager
- Đinh-Early Lê dynasties
- Empress Dowager Dương Vân Nga (952–1000): In 979, her husband Emperor Đinh Bộ Lĩnh died after an assassination, her son Prince Đinh Toàn ascended to the throne, she became empress dowager and handle all political matters. But later she dethroned her son and ceded the throne to Lê Đại Hành and married him. Once again she took the title of empress consort. Because she was an empress twice with two different emperors, she is called "Hoàng hậu hai triều" (Two-dynasty Empress).
- Lý dynasty
- Empress Dowager Thượng Dương (?–1073): While she could not give birth to any sons, her husband's concubine Lady Ỷ Lan gave birth to a prince, called Lý Càn Đức. After husband's death, she became empress dowager and declared that she will "buông rèm nhiếp chính" (regent) for the new seven-year-old emperor, but the mother of the new emperor Lady Dowager Ỷ Lan vehemently opposed and forced her to the death. Her tenure of being a empress dowager is one year.
- Empress Dowager Ỷ Lan (c. 1044–1117): After dethroning and killing the empress dowager, she became empress dowager and kept all political powers
- Empress Dowager
Chiêu Linh (?–1200): Empress of Emperor Lý Thần Tông. Her son was appointed as crown prince, but later he was dethroned from the seat of crown prince to a normal prince due to an event. Her husband's concubine Lady
Đỗ Thụy Châu gave birth to a prince and he was appointed as crown prince later. After her husband's death, the crown prince ascended to the throne, she became empress dowager.
- Empress Dowager
Đỗ Thụy Châu: After her son ascended to the throne, she became the co-empress dowager with Empress Dowager
- Empress Dowager
An Toàn (?–1226): She was famous for misusing authority during the reign of her son Emperor Lý Huệ Tông. Her daughter-in-law, Empress Trần Thị Dung joined Trần Thủ Độ plotting to overthrow the Lý dynasty and replace by Trần dynasty. Trần Thủ Độ forced her son to abdicate and be a monk at the pagoda, her son did as Trần Thủ Độ told and ceded the throne to her granddaughter Lý Chiêu Hoàng, who is the only empress of Vietnamese history, thus, she
became grand empress dowager. But later Trần Thủ Độ forced Lý Chiêu Hoàng to get married with his seven-year-old nephew Trần Cảnh and ceded the throne to Trần Cảnh. At that point,
An Toàn was no longer an empress dowager.
- Empress Dowager Trần Thị Dung (?–1259): She became empress dowager after her daughter Lý Chiêu Hoàng ascended to the throne. But later, Lý Chiêu Hoàng ceded the throne to her husband Trần Cảnh. Trần Thị Dung was no longer empress dowager.
- Trần dynasty
- Empress Dowager
Tuyên Từ (?–1318): A concubine and younger sister-in-law of Emperor Trần Nhân Tông, she is younger sister of the proper Empress
Bảo Thánh. In 1293, Emperor Trần Nhân Tông ceded the throne to his son with Empress
Bảo Thánh, Trần Anh Tông, some months later her sister Grand Empress
Bảo Thánh died, she became the only surviving consort of Grand Emperor Trần Nhân Tông. 1308, Grand Emperor Trần Nhân Tông died, she became empress dowager. 1314, Emperor Trần Anh Tông ceded the throne to his son Trần Minh Tông, she became grand empress dowager.
Duc Tu Cung, mother of the last Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai.