Empress Liu (Shi Le's wife)

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Empress Liu (劉皇后, personal name unknown) (died 333) was an empress of the Chinese/Jie state Later Zhao. Her husband was the founder of the empire, Shi Le.

During the time that Shi Le was a Han Zhao general and later as the ruler of his own independent state, she was described as having both bravery and wisdom, often participating in Shi Le's military decisions and helpful to him. She was therefore compared to the Han Dynasty Empress Lü Zhi, who provided similar assistance her husband Emperor Gao of Han, but traditional historians praised Empress Liu for not being jealous as Empress Lü was. In 330, after Shi Le declared himself heavenly prince (Tian Wang), he created her princess, and later that year, after he declared himself emperor, she was created empress.

In 333, after Shi Le's death, his nephew Shi Hu the Prince of Zhongshan quickly seized power in a coup d'état and controlled the government in the name of Shi Le's son and heir Shi Hong. Empress Dowager Liu, seeing how quickly Shi Hu appeared to be intent on usurping the throne, conspired with Shi Le's adopted son Shi Kan (石堪) the Prince of Pengcheng to start a rebellion to overthrow Shi Hu. In fall 333, Shi Kan escaped outside of the capital Xiangguo (襄國, in modern Xintai, Hebei) and tried to seize Linqiu (廩丘, in modern Puyang, Henan) but was unable to. He was then captured by Shi Hu's forces and burned to death. Soon, Empress Dowager Liu's involvement was discovered, and she was deposed and executed.

Chinese royalty
Preceded by
None (dynasty founded)
Empress of Later Zhao
330–333
Succeeded by
Empress Zheng Yingtao
Preceded by
Empress Yang Xianrong of Han Zhao
Empress of China (Northern/Central)
330–333
Preceded by
Empress Liu Fang of Han Zhao
Empress of China (Western)
330–333