Queen Dangyeong – The seven day Queen

Queen Dangyeong as portrayed in Queen for Seven Days (2017)(Screenshot/fair use)

Queen Dangyeong’s story is very tragic. She was the first wife of King Jungjong of Joseon (Korea). Because of a power struggle, she experienced the death of her father and her own deposition. It was even sadder that she was only queen for seven days. She was torn from her husband and forced to live in isolation. Queen Dangyeong was the scapegoat of a power struggle that she played no role in but was punished for anyway.

Queen Dangyeong was born on 7 February 1487. She was a noblewoman. We do not know her real name. She was given the name of Dangyeong after her death.[1] We do know that her father was Shin Su-guen. He was the brother-in-law of the King Yeonsangun.[2] When she was thirteen, she married Grand Prince Jinseong (who would later become King Jungjong), the half-brother of King Yeonsangun.[3] Prince Jungjong was only twelve when he married Dangyeong.[4] We do not know how the couple must have felt about this marriage. However, many historians believed that King Jungjong loved his wife.[5]

King Yeonsangun was unpopular with the people. He was known for his cruelty, jealousy, and bad temper.[6] In 1498, King Yeonsangun learned the truth of his mother, Queen Yoon’s execution. It happened during his father King Seongjong reign. He executed all those in favour of his mother’s death. It became known as the First Literati Purge.[7] In 1504, he killed his father’s two concubines as well as his grandmother, Queen Insu. He also executed scholars who had persuaded his father to kill his mother, which became known as the Second Literati Purge.[8] Because of so many deaths that he had ordered, a group of officials, among them Bak Wonjong and Seon Huian, plotted to depose King Yeonsangun in favour of his brother, Grand Prince Jinseong. In 1506, they launched a coup and deposed King Yeonsangun.[9] King Yeonsangun was demoted to a prince and was exiled to Ganghwa Island, where he died that year.[10]

Grand Prince Jinseong was now king. He is known to us in history as King Jungjong. Queen Dangyeong was invested as queen.[11] She was queen for only seven days.[12] Her father, who was a supporter of King Yeonsangun, was against King Jungjong’s enthronement and his daughter’s investiture.[13] These same officials who had ousted King Yeonsangun and crowned King Jungjong were responsible for Queen Dangyeong’s downfall. They accused Shin Su-guen of treason. He was then killed for turning his back on the coup.[14] Because Queen Dangyeong was the daughter of a traitor, they deposed her as queen.[15] 

Poor King Jungjong could do nothing to help his wife, whom he loved dearly.[16] Even though he was king, he was not powerful. It was the nobles who held the true power.[17] She was ousted from the palace and sent to Mt. Inwang. It was there where she was forced to live out the rest of her days.[18] King Jungjong had to marry Queen Janggyeong. It was said that King Jungjong deeply longed for his first wife, and he would mournfully look toward Mt. Inwang.[19]

In 1515, which was the tenth year of the reign of King Jungjong, Queen Janggyeong died. A group of Dangyeong’s supporters, notably Kim Jeong and Bak Sang, risked their lives by submitting a memorial to restore Queen Dangyeong as queen.[20] After submitting the memorial, Kim Jeong was poisoned, and Bak Sang was exiled.[21] King Jungjong married Queen Munjeong and had a few concubines.[22] He had fifteen children.[23]

On 27 December 1557, Queen Dangyeong died childless and alone at the age of 71.[24] She was buried at a private burial site. It was not until 1698 that a shrine was established for her.[25] In 1775, under the 51st reign of King Yeongjo, she was finally restored to her title as queen.[26] Her grave is known as Olleung. Queen Dangyeong’s tomb is very simple. It has no stone screen. There are a few statues of tigers and sheep. There used to be a shrine, but it was removed in 1970 for road construction.[27] Queen Dangyeong’s supporters, Kim Jeong and Bak San’s loyalty were also recognized. They were given a memorial monument known as the Sunchang Samindae.[28]

In the end, Queen Dangyeong was betrayed by the very nobles who put her in power. Because of her father, she was deposed. She was an innocent pawn in the power struggle. While King Jungjong would have two more wives, Queen Dangyeong’s tale shows how powerless she was to control her own fate. She died a lonely and largely forgotten woman. It was not until almost two hundred years after her death that she finally received the recognition she was deprived of in life.  


 Cultural Heritage Administration. Nomination of Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty for

       Inscription on the World Heritage List (pdf). UNESCO. p. 136. 3, Oct. 2017.

“Jungjong of Joseon.” Jungjong of Joseon – New World Encyclopedia, New World Encylopedia,

       3 Oct. 2017.

“Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju.” Cultural Heritage Administration, Cultural Heritage

      Administration, 3 Oct. 2017.

“Samin Cultural Festival.” The Encyclopedia of Sunchang, Academy of Korean Studies, 3 Oct.


The Korean Foundation, and Shin Jeong-seon. “Meeting the Kings of Joseon Alongside Their

       Graves.” Korea Focus, 3rd ed., vol. 20, The Korean Foundation, 2013. March 2012.

[1] “Samin Cultural Festival”, para. 5

[2] “Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju,” para. 11

[3] The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[4]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[5]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para.8

[6]“Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 3

[7]“Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 4

[8] “Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 4

[9]“Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 5

[10]“Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 5

[11]“Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju,” para. 13

[12]“Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju,” para.13

[13]“Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju,” para. 12

[14]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[15]“Samin Cultural Festival”, para. 3

[16]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[17]“Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 6

[18]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[19]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[20]“Samin Cultural Festival”, para. 4

[21]“Samin Cultural Festival”, para. 4

[22]The Korean Foundation and Jeong-seon, “Meeting the Kings of Joseon alongside their Graves”, para. 8

[23] “Jungjong of Joseon.”, para. 28

[24]Cultural Heritage Administration, p. 136

[25]“Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju,” para. 15

[26] “Samin Cultural Festival”, para. 5

[27] “Olleung Royal Tomb, Yangju,” para.18

[28] Samin Cultural Festival”, para. 5

About Lauralee Jacks 189 Articles
I am a former elementary teacher in Tennessee. I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal and Civic Studies from St. Mary’s College of California, a master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Mary. Because my family are from East Asia, I have a passion for historical Chinese and Korean television shows. I always wanted to separate fact from fiction in dramas. Writing articles from History of Royal Women gives me a chance to dig deeper and explore these royal women as they might have been in real life. Also, it gives me a chance to look at the history and culture of where my family originated. I love researching East Asian royalty because they rarely get enough attention in the West often being overshadowed by European royalty. I find these royal women to be just as fascinating and their stories deserve to be told. Thus, I am excited to write for History of Royal Women!


  1. Such a great article! Though a relatively small and traditionally isolated place, Korea has a royal history that is almost disproportionately rich in tales of palace intrigue, drama and tragedy. Thank you for shining light on this particular blameless and forgotten royal woman’s story, which was unknown to me.

  2. For me, I love history of all peoples, in general. As it sheds light on human history, dynamics, religion and personal faith. It’s just a pity that in this case, the norm that states “truth is stranger than fiction,” does apply. And it’s a sad reality to such a wonderful person, in my own opinion, as before I wrote my comment here, I already did an extensive research on her life story according to Korean history, hence, my comment. Hoping that her life will become a lesson to us all in self-sacrifice, humility and the innate goodness of such person, that should be recognized by maybe her people. Hers is such a profound story that one cannot help but empathize. If only I have time, I’d love to write a grand memorial and biography of her to commemorate her sacrificial life. Anyway, this is a big undertaking and needs time and effort which for now I don’t have. All I can do is write this comment and pray that in a way this would open eyes and hearts of persons that may be able to read her life story. And hope that history won’t repeat itself in one way or the other.

  3. I am about to finish the drama 7 Day Queen and wanted to know more about the actual story, so I was really happy to encounter this great article.
    Thanks a lot for providing us with this interesting information.

    After watching the drama the story of this woman is even sadder to read T.T

  4. I just finished watching the drama “Queen for 7 Days” which I know is based on history but is exaggerated. The drama poses the Grand Prince and Chae Gyeong’s love as unbreakable and eternal… In the actual history was their love as strong? Why did the King marry numerous times after and have concubines and so many children? I understand if he needed to have a heir or two to the throne.. but 15 children and that many mistresses? Was love not exclusive in Korean history?

    • Hi, I have just watched this Drama, enjoyed it. I had to read about the history. I agree with your comments, I was saddened to learn he had married twice and so many children!

    • Have you watched Jewel in the palace he’s the king present in that series. He says in it even he married so many womens i loved only one women and she’s my only love… So even though he married numerous times the love to queen Dangyeong was unchanged. Eternal❤️They were lucky enough to look and be happy from a long distance but for me their love story is heart breaking…

  5. really appreciate the article… just finish watching the drama, feel empty after the ‘unhappy’ ending and later come to know that its the real story.. and here i am…
    thanks.. now i understand the real behind the drama

    • What a tragic life the queen had gone through. I have watched the series “Queen for 7 days” twice. The plot and the actors were great.
      It’s saddening to be part of such situation wherein you are wrongfully accused of something you didn’t do or have no idea of. What a cruel world we live in. Imagine these scheming plot have been happening for hundreds of years.

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