Princess Yongning – The Princess who entered into a fraudulent marriage




Princess Yongning

Princess Yongning is one of the most pitiful and tragic princesses of the Ming dynasty. She was the daughter of Emperor Muzong of the Ming Dynasty (also known as the Longqing Emperor) and was the younger sister of Emperor Shenzong (also known as the Wanli Emperor). Due to corruption in the palace, Princess Yongning entered into a fraudulent marriage. She only saw her husband on her wedding day and lived a life of misery. Princess Yongning’s story proves that she was an innocent victim of greedy eunuchs and palace servants.

On 11 March 1567 C.E., Princess Yongning was born. Princess Yongning’s birth name was Zhu Yaoying. Her father was Emperor Muzong. Her mother was Empress Dowager Xiaoding. She had an older brother named Zhu Yijun, who would be the future Emperor Shenzong. Princess Zhu Yaoying’s father, Emperor Muzong, died on 5 July 1572 C.E.[1] She was five years old. Her brother, Zhu Yijun, ascended the throne as Emperor Shenzong.[2]

In 1582 C.E., Emperor Shenzong made his sister, Zhu Yaoying, the Princess of Yongning. He also decided that it was time for his sister to get married. Emperor Shenzong instructed a palace eunuch named Feng Bao to choose a suitable candidate to be Princess Yongning’s husband.[3] However, Feng Bao was corrupt. Instead of choosing the most suitable candidate for Princess Yongning, he chose the candidate who gave him the most money.[4] The candidate he chose was Liang Bangrui. Liang Bangrui, who was the son of a wealthy businessman, bribed Eunuch Feng Bao heavily with tons of silver.[5] However, he omitted to tell Eunuch Feng Bao that he was seriously ill and was suffering from tuberculosis.[6] 

On the day of the wedding, Liang Bangrui was very excited and ecstatic to have Princess Yongning as his wife.[7] However, his excitement led him to become so ill that he struggled through the wedding ceremony.[8] He ended up vomiting blood which bloodied Princess Yongning’s wedding dress.[9] After the ceremony, Princess Yongning returned to the palace rather than staying at her bridegroom’s mansion.[10] This wedding ceremony was the only time she saw her husband.[11] She never saw him again.

On their wedding night, Liang Bangrui arrived in the imperial palace to see his wife. However, the female official, who was in charge of supervising Princess Yongning, stopped Liang Bangrui from seeing his wife.[12] This female official was very corrupt and told him that she would let him in if he offered her money.[13] However, he did not have any silver with him and refused.[14] The angry official ordered the palace eunuchs to beat Liang Bangrui for violating the palace rules.[15] This caused him to vomit blood, and his condition grew worse.[16] Liang Bangrui never recovered.[17] He passed away on 9 May 1582 C.E. Their marriage did not even last two months.[18]

The rules of the Ming Dynasty stated that a princess must only marry once.[19] This meant that Princess Yongning was not allowed to remarry again.[20] She was forced to spend the rest of her life in widowhood.[21] She lived in self-isolation in the imperial palace and became very depressed.[22] On 22 July 1594 C.E., Princess Yongning died of depression.[23] She was twenty-seven years old.

Princess Yongning is truly a tragic figure. She could not control the events of her life and suffered under the hands of corrupt eunuchs and palace officials. Princess Yongning’s marriage was a fraud from the beginning. Eunuch Feng Bao gave her to the highest bidder without even looking deeper into his background. Liang Bangrui was terminally ill, and it was clear that he was not a suitable husband for Princess Yongning. Instead, he passed away shortly after their wedding and left Princess Yongning miserable for the rest of her life. Princess Yongning was an innocent victim of the palace corruption that was prevalent in the Ming Dynasty.

Sources:

DayDayNews. (November 14, 2019). “The most tragic princess of the Ming Dynasty is her! Forced to marry the medicine jar and keep a widow for a lifetime”. Retrieved on August 29, 2022 from https://daydaynews.cc/en/history/amp/222090.html.

iMedia. (n.d.). “The princess of the Ming Dynasty: Even though she was born in Tianhuang, she was inevitably fateful”. Retrieved on August 29, 2022 from https://min.news/en/history/d789b6687846ef6633af742b3aeded89.html.

iNews. (n.d.). “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””. Retrieved on August 29, 2022 from https://inf.news/ne/history/0ae168bd701629d75792887e9a349b39.html.

Luju Bar. (April 6, 2020). “Easy to ask for priceless treasures, Rarely to get a wishful man: A brief talk on the princess election system in the middle and late Ming Dynasty”. Retrieved on August 29, 2022 from https://lujuba.cc/en/amp/202974.html.

McMahon, K. (2016). Celestial Women: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Song to Qing. NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


[1] McMahon, 2016

[2] McMahon, 2016

[3] DayDayNews, 14 November 2019, “The most tragic princess of the Ming Dynasty is her! Forced to marry the medicine jar and keep a widow for a lifetime”

[4] DayDayNews, 14 November 2019, “The most tragic princess of the Ming Dynasty is her! Forced to marry the medicine jar and keep a widow for a lifetime”

[5] Luju Bar, 6 April 2020, “Easy to ask for priceless treasures, Rarely to get a wishful man: A brief talk on the princess election system in the middle and late Ming Dynasty”

[6] iMedia, n.d., “The princess of the Ming Dynasty: Even though she was born in Tianhuang, she was inevitably fateful”

[7] DayDayNews, 14 November 2019, “The most tragic princess of the Ming Dynasty is her! Forced to marry the medicine jar and keep a widow for a lifetime”

[8] DayDayNews, 14 November 2019, “The most tragic princess of the Ming Dynasty is her! Forced to marry the medicine jar and keep a widow for a lifetime”

[9] iMedia, n.d., “The princess of the Ming Dynasty: Even though she was born in Tianhuang, she was inevitably fateful”

[10] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[11] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[12] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[13] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[14] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[15] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[16] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[17] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[18] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[19] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[20] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[21] iNews, n.d., “The poor princess of the Ming Dynasty was beaten to death after marriage, and she died at the age of 27 and was found to be a “girl””

[22] iMedia, n.d., “The princess of the Ming Dynasty: Even though she was born in Tianhuang, she was inevitably fateful”

[23] iMedia, n.d., “The princess of the Ming Dynasty: Even though she was born in Tianhuang, she was inevitably fateful”






About Lauralee Jacks 183 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!

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