Wang was born the second daughter of the
Minister of Justice and Lady Li.
 Although she was one of 12 children, only Wang and two brothers were born to Lady Li. Her parents tried to find Wang a husband, her suitors expired before their plans came to fruition. One suitor was the Prince of Dongping, but he died before the marriage. After this, Wang dedicated herself to studying books and playing the
guqin. At age 18, she entered the palace as a
palace woman, in the service of one of the imperial concubines.
Consort Sima, the favorite consort of
Crown Prince Liu Shi died from an illness. Crown Prince Shi was grief-stricken, became ill, and refused to see any of his concubines.
 His father,
Emperor Xuan, suggested that
Empress Xiaoxuan select palace women to attend the crown prince, as all the crown prince's concubines were so disagreeable.
 Wang was one of the palace women presented to the crown prince, among five others. The crown prince selected her and, three years after, Wang gave birth to a male child,
Ao, whereas none of the crown prince's previous concubines had.