Empress Liang Nüying

Empress Liang Nüying (梁女瑩) (died 159), formally Empress Yixian (懿獻皇后, literally "the meek and wise empress") was an empress during han dynasty. She was Emperor Huan's first wife.

Family background

It is not known when Liang Nüying was born, but what is known is that in her young age she was accustomed to an honored position as the daughter of the Grand Marshall Liang Shang (梁商) and the sister to Empress Liang Na, Emperor Shun's wife, and later regent to his son Emperor Chong, and two successors from collateral lines, Emperors Zhi and Huan. Indeed, it was because she was betrothed to Emperor Huan (who was then the Marquess of Liwu) that her brother, the powerful Liang Ji, insisted on making him emperor in 146 after poisoning Emperor Zhi. After Emperor Huan became emperor, he married her in 147 and created her empress.

As empress

As an empress, Empress Liang was somewhat in the shadow of her sister, the empress dowager, and brother, and not much is known about her. Traditional history indicates that because of her honored position as the empress dowager's sister, initially, Emperor Huan did not dare to have any other favorite consorts. She was described as so luxurious in her living that her expenses far exceeded the empresses of the past. After her sister died in 150, she began to lose Emperor Huan's favor, but she continued to be greatly jealous. As she was sonless, she did not want any imperial consorts to have sons—so she would have them killed if they became pregnant. With Liang Ji effectively in control of government, Emperor Huan did not dare to respond, but he would rarely have sexual relations with her. Empress Liang died in anger in 159 and was buried with the honors of an empress.

Later that year, Emperor Huan, in conjunction with eunuchs, overthrew Liang Ji in a coup d'etat. The Liang clan was slaughtered. Empress Liang's tomb was retitled a tomb of an imperial consort, effectively meaning that she was posthumously demoted.

Last update 04-04-2012

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