Empresses in the Palace

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Empresses in the Palace
Empresses in the Palace, Hong Kong version (後宮·甄嬛傳 香港版).jpg
Also known asThe Legend of Zhen Huan
GenreHistorical fiction
Based onHougong Zhen Huan Zhuan by Liu Lianzi
Written byLiu Lianzi
Wang Xiaoping
Directed byZheng Xiaolong
StarringSun Li
Ada Choi
Chen Jianbin
Jiang Xin
Li Dongxue
Lan Xi
Tao Xinran
Country of originChina
Original languageMandarin
No. of episodes76
Production locationChina
Running time45 minutes per episode
Production companyBeijing TV Art Center
Original networkShaoxing News regional channel[citation needed]
Original release17 November 2011 (2011-11-17)

Empresses in the Palace (simplified Chinese: 后宫·甄嬛传; traditional Chinese: 後宮·甄嬛傳, lit. The Legend of Zhen Huan) is a 2011 Chinese television series based on the novel of the same name by Liu Lianzi. Directed by Zheng Xiaolong, it stars Sun Li in the title role of Zhen Huan. The series started airing in China for the first time on 17 November 2011.


In 1722, after the death of Kangxi Emperor, then Prince Yinzhen and his eight brothers were embroiled in a bitter power struggle for the Qing dynasty throne. With the help of powerful allies, Prince Yinzhen becomes Yongzheng Emperor and the brothers who fought against him were either killed or exiled. Despite becoming Emperor, he grows increasingly paranoid of being usurpsed and vowed to not follow his father's footstep of letting his consorts be unfaithful or have affairs.

Prior to the struggle, he was deeply in love with his first wife, Empress Chunyuan. The Empress tragically passed and the position went to her younger sister Empress Yixiu. Both Empresses and Yongzheng Emperor's mother, the Empress Dowager come from the Ula-Nara clan.


Six months after ascending the throne, the Empress Dowager organizes a selection to bring newer members into the Imperial Harem. Despite not wanting to be selected, the titular Zhenhuan, then known as Lady Huan Zhen, forced to join the selection and ends up being chosen due to her resemblance to Empress Chunyuan. She joins the Imperial Harem alongside her childhood best friend Meizhuang Shen, and low-born lady Lingrong An.

Huan attempted to avoid the Imperial Harem's politics but ultimately falls in love with Yongzheng Emperor at first, causing various schemes to be plotted against her and Meizhuang in retaliation. Pressured by her family to elevate themselves and out of jealousy towards Huan's position, Lingrong also begins plotting against the former and worked alongside higher-ranking members, notably with Empress Yixiu to do so. Despite the scheming and evidence against them, the Empress is never punished due to her status and Empress Dowager's attempts at protecting Empress Yixiu due to the desire to keep the Ula-Nara clan's influence in the Imperial Court. Huan also learns of why the Emperor actually favors her, which also fueled the same plots against her, and she becomes disillusioned of the realities of Imperial Harem life despite being favored.

Possessive over his women, Yongzheng Emperor becomes suspicious of her loyalty as she becomes closer to his younger half-brother Prince Guo. While avoiding the pitfalls of schemes against her, she befriends the neglected Prince Hongli, promising to care for him when she is able to. The disillusionment ultimately get to her and Huan asks to become a nun at Ganlu Temple along with Meizhuang. There, her relationship with Prince Guo secretly blossom and the two become intimate with each other.

Despite the two planning to elope, Prince Guo is sent away to Tibet by Yongzheng Emperor's orders and believed to be dead. Out of revenge for his death and to bring her family back from exile, Huan convinces Yongzheng Emperor to take her back into the Imperial Harem. She takes on a new identity as Consort Xi, or Zhenhuan Niohuru, the biological mother of Prince Hongli who had supposedly spent years away from the Imperial Court praying at the Ganlu Temple but now returned to serve the Emperor once more, and she formally adopts Prince Hongli as she promised. With her new status, Zhenhuan gains more allies and the Imperial Harem is divided into two camps: those that support her and those that support Empress Yixiu. The Empress begins to lose favor as her schemes against Zhenhuan backfire and she ultimately confesses to her role in her sister's death and several other crimes as a means of securing the position of Empress Dowager by all means. Yongzheng Emperor attempts to strip her titles as punishment but the Empress Dowager's will forbids him from doing so. Yongzheng Emperor unwillingly promises to uphold the will's command out of love for Empress Chunyuan and Empress Yixiu is put under house arrest instead.

Prince Guo is revealed to be alive and the two attempt to cease their relationship now that Zhenhuan has returned to the Imperial Harem. Despite doing what she can to remain favored by Yongzheng Emperor and distance herself from Prince Guo, the Emperor's suspicion towards the relationship escalates as time passes and he believes Prince Guo plans to usurp the throne through her. Zhenhuan is ordered to kill Prince Guo but the latter commits suicide instead, causing Yongzheng Emperor to reward her obedience by promoting her to be the de facto Empress of the Imperial Harem in all but name. The Emperor is slowly poisoned as he ages and Zhenhuan meets with him one final time before announcing his death. Yongzheng Emperor's final will names Prince Hongli as his successor and the prince becomes the newly crowned Qianlong Emperor. Zhenhuan is granted the coveted title of Empress Dowager, giving her status above all women within the Imperial Court and becoming her son's closest advisor.

Zhenhuan visits Empress Yixiu, still under house arrest, one last time to let her know of the coronation. Although Empress Yixiu should have been given the title of Empress Dowager upon Yongzheng Emperor's death, a loophole in the previous Empress Dowager's command forces Empress Yixiu to remain Empress indefinitely instead. Before leaving, Zhenhuan thanks Empress Yixiu for all the hard lessons she endured as a result of the latter's scheming and harm. Empress Yixiu is left to realize all her efforts to be Empress Dowager had been for nothing and later dies out of madness.

Zhenhuan spends the rest of her life serving as the Empress Dowager: planning the next Imperial Harem selection, advising Qianlong Emperor on royal matters, and warning his wives the consequences of scheming or causing harm against each other. Years of surviving in the Imperial Harem has shown to harden Zhenhuan and the series ends with her going to bed after a long day while her dreams replayed memories of her past.



Played by Role Key Storyline
Sun Li Zhen Huan (甄嬛), later Niohuru Zhenhuan (钮祜禄•甄嬛) The titular protagonist who becomes the favoured concubine of the Emperor. She is a very clever, socially skilled and well-educated lady with a keen eye for strategy. Initially, an innocent girl desiring nothing else but love. After leaving the palace with a broken heart, she falls in love with Prince Guo, but chooses to return to the Imperial Harem out of revenge and to help her family.

Ranks: Lady Zhen (甄氏) → First Attendant Wan (莞常在) → Noble Lady Wan (莞贵人) → Concubine Wan (莞嫔) → Consort Wan (莞妃)→ Concubine Wan (莞嫔) →Banished Concubine Wan (廢妃莞嫔)→ Nun Mochou (莫愁) → Consort Xi (熹妃) → Noble Consort Xi (熹贵妃) → Empress Dowager (圣母皇太后) / Empress Dowager Chongqing (崇慶皇太后)

Chen Jianbin Aisin-Gioro Yinzhen (愛新覺羅•胤禛), the Yongzheng Emperor (雍正帝) The Emperor of the Qing dynasty who is still deeply in love with his first wife, the Empress Chunyuan. He reminisces her despite favouring various concubines throughout the series and is obsessive of his women due to paranoia against the Imperial Court. He has a deep favor towards Zhen Huan in particular due to her appearance and personality resembling Chunyuan.

Ranks: 4th prince of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙四阿哥) → Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王) → Yongzheng Emperor (雍正帝)

Ada Choi Ula-Nara Yixiu (乌拉那拉•宜修) Initially appearing to rule the Imperial Harem as a benevolent Empress, she desires to be the only Empress and have the role of Empress Dowager like her predecessor. Her true nature is shown over time as she removes anyone favoured by the Emperor that is deemed a threat to her plans. She is the niece of Empress Dowager Uya and younger half-sister of Yongzheng's beloved first wife, Empress Chunyuan (纯元皇后) and adoptive mother of Prince Hongshi.

Ranks: Lady Ula-Nara (乌拉那拉氏) → Secondary Consort to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王侧福晋) → Step-Primary Consort to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王继福晋) → Empress (皇后) → Her Highness of the Jingren Palace (景仁宫娘娘)


Yongzheng's Harem[edit]

Ranking System: Empress 皇后 / Imperial Noble Consort 皇贵妃 / Noble Consort 贵妃 / Consort 妃 / Concubine 嫔 / Noble Lady 贵人 / First Attendant 常在 / Second Attendant 答应 / Chosen Maid 管女子. In the series, it is considered a huge honor to be bestowed a title, rather than using one's surname, for one's rank.

Played by Role Key storyline
NIL Empress Chunyuan, Wanwan (纯元皇后, 菀菀) Niece of Empress Dowager Uya and elder half-sister of Empress Yixiu. Deceased prior to the series, she never appears yet lingers as the multi-talented first love of Emperor Yongzheng. She is used by Empress Yixiu to emotionally manipulate the Emperor and the main reason for Zhen Huan's successful selection and subsequent grand favor in the harem.

Ranks: Lady Ula-Nara (乌拉那拉氏) → Primary Consort to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王嫡福晋) → Empress Chunyuan (纯元皇后) (posthumously)

Jiang Xin Nian Shilan (年世兰) Yongzheng Emperor's favourite consort before Zhen Huan enters the palace and her main nemesis in the first half of the series. Due to her family's status in the Imperial Court, she is arrogant and gets away with acting imprudently. She despises anyone who seem to have Yongzheng Emperor's favor or attention. She is the younger sister of Nian Gengyao.

Ranks: Lady Nian (年氏) → Secondary Consort to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王侧福晋) → Consort Hua (华妃) → Noble Consort Hua (华贵妃) → Consort Nian (年妃) → Consort Hua (华妃) → Second Attendant Nian (年答应) → Noble Consort Dunsu (敦肅貴妃) (posthumously) → Imperial Noble Consort Dunsu (敦肃皇贵妃) (posthumously)

Lan Xi Shen Meizhuang (沈眉庄) Zhen Huan's childhood friend and ally in the palace. Despite the rivalry and reconciling over the years, Meizhuang joins her as a nun and shares the same sentiment about the Emperor. She ultimately falls in love with Doctor Wen and has a daughter with him before dying from childbirth.

Ranks: Lady Shen (沈氏) → Noble Lady Shen (沈贵人) → Noble Lady Hui (惠贵人) → Second Attendant Shen (沈答应) → Noble Lady Hui (惠贵人) → Concubine Hui (惠嫔) → Consort Hui (惠妃) → Noble Consort Hui (惠贵妃) (posthumously)

Tao Xinran An Lingrong (安陵容) A friend turned foe to Zhen Huan and Meizhuang. Pressured by her family to have Yongzheng Emperor's favor and manipulated by the Imperial Harem to do their bidding at the cost of her fertility, she grows jealous of Zhen Huan's favor and tries to scheme against her. She ultimately confesses to her of Empress Yixiu's evils before committing suicide.

Ranks: Lady An (安氏) → Second Attendant An (安答应) → First Attendant An (安常在) → Noble Lady An (安贵人) → Concubine An (安嫔) → Consort Li (鹂妃)

Li Yijuan Qi Yuebin (齐月宾) A highly ranked concubine unfavoured by the Emperor. Befriends and helps Zhen Huan numerous times. She is one of the two Dowager members that survive with Zhen Huan after Yongzheng Emperor's death. Adoptive mother of Princess Wenyi.

Ranks: Lady Qi (齐氏) → Secondary Consort to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王侧福晋) → Consort Duan (端妃) → Imperial Noble Consort (皇贵妃) → Dowager Imperial Noble Consort (皇贵太妃)

Yang Fanghan Feng Ruozhao (冯若昭) A highly ranked concubine unfavoured by the Emperor. Sides with Zhen Huan numerous times and later adopts her eldest daughter, Princess Longyue, when Zhen Huan becomes a nun. She is one of the two Dowager members that survive with Zhen Huan after Yongzheng Emperor's death.

Ranks: Lady Feng (冯氏) → Mistress to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王庶福晋) → Concubine Jing (敬嫔) → Consort Jing (敬妃) → Noble Consort Jing (敬贵妃) → Dowager Noble Consort Jing (敬贵太妃)

Zhang Yameng Li Wanting (李婉婷) A highly ranked concubine that has been unfavoured by the Emperor. She sides with the Empress Yixiu and is the biological mother of the Third Prince, Hongshi.

Ranks: Lady Li (李氏) → Mistress to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王庶福晋) → Secondary Consort of Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王侧福晋) → Consort Qi (齐妃)

Chen Sisi Cao Qinmo (曹琴默) An unscrupulous low-ranking concubine. Initially sides with Nian Shilan, but betrays her with Zhen Huan's support, leading to Consort Hua's downfall. Poisoned to death under the Emperor's orders.

Ranks: Lady Cao (曹氏) → Noble Lady Cao (曹贵人) → Concubine Xiang (襄嫔)

Tan Songyun Fang Chunyi (方淳意) The youngest concubine to join the harem at the start of the series and is friendly with Zhen Huan. She was killed under Nian Shilan's orders after stumbling upon a corruption scandal.

Ranks: Lady Fang (方氏) → First Attendant Chun (淳常在) → Noble Lady Chun (淳贵人) (posthumously)

Cui Manli Yu Ying'er (余莺儿) Initially a maid in Imperial Garden, she witnessed first encounter between Yongzheng Emperor and Zhen Huan. She enters the Imperial Harem by pretending to be Zhen Huan during that encounter. She is later sentenced to death after attempting to poison her.

Ranks: Palace maid (宫女) → Chosen maid Yu (余官女子) → Second Attendant Yu (余答应) → Commoner (庶人)

Liu Yitong Qiao Songzhi (乔颂芝) Consort Hua's loyal maid who joins the Imperial Harem to consolidate the former's failing power in the middle of the series.

Ranks: Personal Maid to Nian Shilan (侍女) → Palace Maid (宫女) → Second Attendant Zhi (芝答应) → Palace maid (宫女)

Tang Yixin Gūwalgiya Wenyuan (瓜尔佳•文鸳) Initially friendly with Zhen Huan, she later sabotages the Zhen family under Empress Yixiu's orders. She later tries to incriminate Zhen Huan for having an affair with Doctor Wen and is beatened to death as punishment.

Ranks: Lady Gūwalgiya (瓜尔佳氏) → Noble Lady Qi (祺贵人) → Concubine Qi (祺嫔) → Noble Lady Qi (祺贵人) → Commoner (庶人)

Re Yizha Ye Lanyi (叶澜依) A horse trainer who is forced to join the Imperial Harem after gaining Yongzheng Emperor's attention. In love with Prince Guo, she initially mistrusts Zhen Huan but decides to protect her after learning the truth of their relationship. She helps poison Yongzheng Emperor to death and commits suicide soon after.

Ranks: Lady Ye (叶氏) → Second Attendant Ye (叶答应) → Noble Lady Ning (宁贵人) → Concubine Ning (宁嫔)

Wan Meixi Lü Yingfeng (吕盈风) Initially a concubine who stays away from the conflicts, she pledges her loyalty to Zhen Huan after her return to the Imperial Harem. She helps to expose the corruption of Lingrong's father, leading to the latter's downfall.

Ranks: Lady Lü (吕氏) → Mistress to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王庶福晋) → First Attendant Xin (欣常在) → Noble Lady Xin (欣贵人) → Concubine Xin (欣嫔) → Dowager Concubine Xin (欣太嫔)

Ying Er Xia Dongchun (夏冬春) An obnoxious concubine who picks on Lingrong and offends Consort Hua with her brazen ways. Paralyzed after being punished by Nian early in the series.

Ranks: Lady Xia (夏氏) → First Attendant Xia (夏常在)

Zhao Qin Fuca Yixin (富察•仪欣) A concubine who is close to Li Wanting. After her miscarriage, she picks on Lingrong and insults Zhen Huan during their loss in favour. Zhen Huan scares her to insanity after regaining favor with the Emperor.

Ranks: Lady Fuca (富察氏) → Noble Lady Fuca (富察贵人)

Li Jiaxuan Fei Yunyan (费云烟) A straight-talking concubine close to Nian Shilan and used by Cao Qinmo in the plot to abet Yu Ying'er to poison Zhen Huan. Becomes a scapegoat to the poisoning plot and after being frightened to insanity due to her fear of ghosts upon the death of Yu Ying'er, was sent to the Cold Palace.

Ranks: Lady Fei (费氏) → Mistress to Prince Yong of the First Rank (雍亲王庶福晋) → Concubine Li (丽嫔) → Banished to the Cold Palace

Mao Xiaotong Caiping (采萍) Initially a maid at Prince Guo's Manor, she is selected by Huanbi as a tribute to the Emperor due to her beauty. Unintentionally gaining the affection of Prince Hongshi she is sentenced to death by Yongzheng Emperor.

Ranks: Maid at Prince Guo's Manor (侍女) → Second Attendant Ying (瑛答应) → First Attendant Ying (瑛常在) → Noble Lady Ying (瑛贵人)

He Yanan First Attendant Kang (康常在) A troublemaker who is close to Concubine Zhen.

Ranks: First Attendant Kang (康常在)

Guo Xuan Concubine Zhen (贞嫔) A troublemaker who is close to First Attendant Kang.

Ranks: Concubine Zhen (贞嫔)

Imperial Family[edit]

Played by Role Key storyline
Leanne Liu Uya Chengbi (乌雅•成壁) Mother of Yongzheng and Empress Dowager, she protects Empress Yixiu throughout the series to maintain the power of the Ula-Nara clan. It is also suggested that she favours her younger son over Yongzheng Emperor and had an affair with court minister, Longkodo, during her time as a concubine to Kangxi Emperor.

Ranks: Empress Dowager (圣母皇太后) / Empress Dowager Renshou (仁寿皇太后) → Empress Dowager Xiaogong (孝恭太后) (posthumously) → Empress Xiaogongren (孝恭仁皇后) (posthumously)

Liu Yan Yuan Yanran (阮嫣然) Prince Guo's biological mother and the favourite concubine of the Kangxi Emperor who became a nun after his death. She helps Zhen Huan adjust to their lives as nuns.

Ranks: Lady Yuan (阮氏) → Consort Shu (舒妃) → Dowager Consort Shu (舒太妃) → Master Chongjing (冲静元师)

Li Dongxue Aisin-Gioro Yunli (愛新覺羅•允禮), Prince Guo of the First Rank (果親王) Favoured younger half-brother of the Yongzheng Emperor and admirer of Zhen Huan. He became hopelessly in love with Zhen Huan and cares for her after she leaves the palace. Despite their attempts to avoid suspicion, their romance became an ill-fated one, where Guo sacrificed himself for her life.

Ranks: 17th prince of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙十七阿哥) → Prince Guo of the Second Rank (果郡王) → Prince Guo of the First Rank (果亲王) → Prince Guoyi of the First Rank (果毅親王) (posthumously)

Lan Yingying Huanbi (浣碧), later Niohuru Yuyin (钮钴禄•玉隐) Zhen Huan's maid and illegitimate half-sister who desires to be with Prince Guo. Because of her secret parentage, their relationship help fueled some schemes against Zhen Huan. Forgiven by Zhen Huan, she stays loyal to the former and becomes her adopted sister and secondary consort to Prince Guo as a means of throwing any suspicion between him and Zhen Huan's relationship. She commits suicide at his funeral.

Ranks: Personal maid to Zhen Huan (侍女) → Palace Maid (宫女) → Lady Niohuru (钮钴禄氏) → Secondary Consort to Prince Guo of the First Rank (果亲王侧福晋) → Primary Consort to Prince Guoyi of the First Rank (果毅親王嫡福晋) (posthumously)

Yang Qi Meng Jingxian (孟静娴) Daughter of Duke Pei who is enamored with Prince Guo and becomes his secondary consort. She gives birth to Prince Guo's child, Yuanche, but later dies due to being poisoned.

Ranks: Lady Meng (孟氏) → Secondary Consort to Prince Guo of the First Rank (果毅親王侧福晋)

Duan Shaonan Aisin-Gioro Yuanche (愛新覺羅•元澈) Meng Jingxian and Prince Guo's son. He is later adopted by Yurao and Prince Shen after Huanbi's death and becomes Prince Shen's heir, opening the position of Prince Guo's heir to Prince Hongyan.

Ranks: Eldest son of Prince Guo of the First Rank (果親王 世子) → Heir of Prince Shen of the Second Rank (慎郡王 继子)

Wang Min Aisin-Gioro Yunqi (愛新覺羅•允祺), Prince Heng of the First Rank (恒亲王) Younger half-brother of the Yongzheng Emperor.

Ranks: 5th prince of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙皇五子) → Prince Heng of the First Rank (恒亲王)

Tan Limin Lady Tatara (他他拉氏) Ranks: Primary Consort to Prince Heng of the First Rank (恒亲王嫡福晋)
Tian Xiping Aisin-Gioro Yun'e (愛新覺羅•允䄉), Prince Dun of the First Rank (敦亲王) Younger half-brother of the Yongzheng Emperor who was stripped of his titles due to treason.

Ranks: 10th prince of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙皇十子) → Prince Dun of the First Rank (敦亲王)

Tian Pujun Lady Borjigin (孛兒只斤氏) Primary Consort of Prince Heng who develops a brief friendship with Zhen Huan.

Ranks: Primary Consort to Prince Dun of the First Rank (敦亲王嫡福晋)

Kang Fuzhen Aisin-Gioro Yunxi (愛新覺羅•允禧), Prince Shen of the Second Rank (慎郡王) Younger half-brother of the Yongzheng Emperor. He becomes enamored with Yurao and marries her thanks to Zhen Huan's campaign to avoid her sister from joining the Imperial Harem. He becomes Zhen Huan's brother-in-law.

Ranks: 18th prince of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙皇十八子) → Prince Shen of the Third Rank (慎贝勒) → Prince Shen of the Second Rank (慎郡王)

Xu Lu Zhen Yurao (甄玉娆), later Niohuru Yurao (钮钴禄•玉娆) Youngest sister of Zhen Huan and half-sister of Huanbi. Despite catching the attention of Yongzheng Emperor, she falls in love with Prince Yunxi. With Zhen Huan's help, she convince the Emperor to approve her marriage and becomes Prince Yunxi's First Wife.

Ranks: Lady Zhen (甄氏) → Lady Niohuru (钮钴禄氏) → Primary Consort to Prince Shen of the Second Rank (慎郡王嫡福晋)

Imperial Princes and Consorts[edit]

Wu Lipeng Prince Hongshi (弘时) Li Wanting's son, adopted by Empress Yixiu. Later adopted as the son of Yunsi, Prince Lian of the First Rank, Yongzheng's younger half-brother, as punishment for speaking out of turn. Despite being the oldest and son of Empress Yixiu, he is not favored by his father due to his lack of intelligence and awareness. He is disposed in the line of succession after angering his father for mentioning the latter's traitorous brothers.

Ranks: 3rd prince of the Yongzheng Emperor (雍正皇三阿哥) → Heir to Yunsi

Wang Wenjie Prince Hongli (弘历) Born to palace maid, Li Jingui, after Yongzheng took advantage of her and was neglected as a result. He is later adopted by Zhen Huan and reported to be her biological son. Inspired by Zhen Huan, he devotes himself to studying and ultimately impresses his father to make him next in line to the throne. He becomes Qianlong Emperor and grants her the title of Empress Dowager. It is later revealed that Zhen Huan, though she cared for Qianlong Emperor, is suspicious of his character, and uses her position as Empress Dowager to ensure Prince Hongyan is safe from harm.

Ranks: 4th prince of the Yongzheng Emperor (雍正皇四阿哥) → Prince Bao of the First Rank (宝亲王) → Qianlong Emperor (乾隆皇帝)

Yuan Yi Empress Fuca(富察氏) Primary Consort of Hongli chosen by Zhen Huan. Named Fuca Langhua (富察·琅嬅) and one of the main antagonists of Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace.

Ranks: Lady Fuca (富察氏) → Primary Consort to Prince Bao of the First Rank (宝亲王嫡福晋) → Empress Fuca (富察皇后)

Zhang Yan Ula-Nara Qingying (乌拉那拉·青樱) Niece of Empress Yixiu and bestowed as Secondary Consort to Hongli in an attempt to antagonize Zhen Huan and Hongli. The main protagonist of Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace.

Originally a candidate for Hongshi's consort selection, she is rejected due to her rudeness to Princess Longyue and Hongshi's growing affections for Noble Lady Ying. Despite her familial ties with Empress Yixiu, she declares to Zhen Huan and the other Consort Dowagers that she wants no connection to her late-aunt as a means to show her loyalty.

Ranks: Lady Ula-nara (乌拉那拉氏) → Secondary Consort to Prince Bao of the First Rank (宝亲王侧福晋) → Consort Xian (娴妃)

Duan Shaonan Prince Hongyan (弘曕) Zhen Huan's son with Prince Guo and Lingxi's twin brother. His paternity fueled a few schemes against Zhen Huan and escalated Yongzheng Emperor's paranoia against Prince Guo. After Yunche was adopted to be Prince Shen's heir, Qianlong Emperor grants Prince Hongyan to be Prince Guo's heir at Zhen Huan's request. She pushed this to not only give Prince Guo a legacy but to also curb any indication that her biological son can usurp the throne if he remained in the Imperial lineage.

Ranks: 6th prince of the Yongzheng Emperor (雍正皇六阿哥) → Heir of Prince Guo of the First Rank (果亲王 继子)

Imperial Princesses[edit]

Yao Wan'er Princess Wenyi (温宜公主) Cao Qinmo's only daughter, later adopted by Qi Yuebin upon the former's death.
Yang Xinyi Princess Longyue, Wanwan (胧月公主, 绾绾) Zhen Huan's eldest daughter adopted by Feng Ruozhao when the former becomes a nun. Despite wanting her daughter back, Zhen Huan allowed her to be raised by Ruozhao, gaining an ally with the latter as a result.
Ding Xiaomei Princess Lingxi (灵犀公主) Zhen Huan's daughter with Prince Guo and Hongyan's twin sister.
Zhang Zhixiang Princess Jinghe (静和公主) Shen Meizhuang's daughter with Doctor Wen, adopted by Zhen Huan. Zhen Huan confessed to Yongzheng Emperor of Princess Jinghe's true parentage on his death bed.

Court Officials[edit]

Wang Biao Zhang Tingyu (张廷玉) A court minister proven to be loyal to only the Yongzheng Emperor and prioritizes legitimacy and hierarchy, therefore, indirectly supporting Empress Yixiu and Third Prince Hongshi.
Zhang Yi Tunggiya Longkodo (隆科多) Court minister rumored to be in love with Empress Dowager Uya and helped Yongzheng Emperor take his throne. Executed after Yongzheng Emperor suspected him for treason by Empress Dowager. She reveals that she knew he never truly loved her and put her in the position as Empress Dowager for his benefit.
Shen Baoping Zhen Yuandao (甄远道), later Niohuru Yuandao (钮钴禄•远道) Father of Zhen Huan, Yuyin and Yurao. Contributed greatly in the fall of Nian Gengyao, but was later sabotaged by his colleague and banished with his family till his later years. Returned as a court official upon Zhen Huan's return to the palace and the prosecution of those who framed him.
Li Dan Yun Xinluo (云辛萝) , Madame Zhen (甄夫人), later Madame Niohuru (钮钴禄夫人). Official wife of Zhen Yuandao and mother of Zhen Huan and Yurao, and step-mother to Yuyin.
Ma Weifu Gūwalgiya Emin (瓜尔佳•厄敏) Father of Gūwalgiya Wenyuan who was a colleague to Zhen Yuandao. Contributed greatly in the fall of Nian Gengyao, and later sabotaged his colleague, resulting in the imprisonment and banishment of Zhen Yuandao and his family.
Sun Ning Nian Gengyao (年羹尧) Older brother of Nian Shilan and Yongzheng Emperor's leading general. Due to his position in court, he has an inflated ego that ultimately led him to be suspected for treason.
Li Hongrui Moge (莫格) King of the Dzungaria who was rescued by Prince Guo and Zhen Huan when the latter was still a nun. Obsessed with Zhen Huan, their interaction leads to evidence of Zhen Huan and Prince Guo's relationship being collected.
Xing Hanqing Ji Weisheng (季惟生) Assistant head of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau who allies himself with Shen Meizhuang and Zhen Huan, causing An Lingrong to lose favour with the Emperor for her bad luck.
Liu Boting Ajin (阿晋) Personal attendant to Yunli who is fond of and nearly matchmade with Huanbi.
Sun Boyang Xia Yi (夏刈) Head of Emperor Yongzheng's personal group of assassins. Killed by Xiao Yunzi on Zhen Huan's order for investigating Hongyan's paternity for Yongzheng.

Palace Servants

Lee Tian-chu Su Peisheng (苏培盛) Head Eunuch to the Yongzheng Emperor since the latter's youth. Seduced by Jinxi, he helps Zhen Huan return to the Imperial Harem. He and Jinxi were initially punished for having a relationship but eventually got married.
Li Lubing Xiao Xiazi (小厦子) Eunuch to the Yongzheng Emperor and disciple of Su Peisheng.
Sun Qian Cui Jinxi (崔槿汐) Head palace maid to Zhen Huan since her days as First Attendant Wan. Fiercely loyal and accompanies Zhen Huan to Ganlu Temple. Initially seduces Su Peisheng as a means of helping Zhen Huan return to the Imperial Court, she ultimately falls in love with him and eventually becomes his wife with the support of Zhen Huan.
Zhan Jingyi Liuzhu (流朱) Personal maid to Zhen Huan who accompanies her into the imperial harem. Straight-talking and fiercely loyal, she dies during Zhen Huan's first confinement in order for her to seek medical treatment.
Luo Kang Xiao Yunzi (小允子) Having served Zhen Huan since her days as First Attendant Wan, he was promoted to Head Eunuch upon the former's promotion to Noble Lady. He later served Shen Meizhuang during Zhen Huan's banishment, but returned to the latter's service upon her return as Consort Xi.
Zhai Beibei Pei'er (佩儿) Palace maid to Zhen Huan prior to the latter's banishment and later served Lü Yingfeng, but remained loyal and an informant to Zhen Huan upon her return as Consort Xi.
Zhao Hailong Kang Luhai (康禄海) Head eunuch to Zhen Huan in her early days as First Attendant Wan. Left Zhen Huan for Fei Yunyan when she was unfavored and sought to return to the former's service after her promotion to Noble Lady.
Guo Zihao Xiao Yinzi (小印子) Eunuch to Zhen Huan in her early days as First Attendant Wan. Followed Kang Luhai to serve Fei Yunyan and ordered by the latter to participate in the poisoning of Zhen Huan with Huasui.
He Mengting Huasui (花穗) Maid to Yu Ying'er, and later to Zhen Huan. Helped the former in the scheme by Nian Shilan and Yu Ying'er to poison Zhen Huan.
Li Qun Bin'er (玢儿) Maid at Zhen Manor, and later at Gūwalgiya Manor. Threatened by Gūwalgiya Wenyuan to testify for Zhen Huan and Wen Shichu's relationship during the paternity scandal.
Cheng Nan Feiwen (斐雯) Palace maid to Zhen Huan upon her return as Consort Xi. Recruited as an informant by Jianqiu to estify for Zhen Huan and Wen Shichu's relationship during the paternity scandal.
Li Yang Xu Jinliang (徐进良) Head Eunuch who manages the Emperor's sleeping arrangements.
Du Xiang Huang Guiquan (黄规全) First Head Eunuch of the Imperial Household Department that is close and distantly related to Nian Shilan. Removed from his position when the Emperor discovered him insulting Zhen Huan by placing wilting flowers in her palace quarters.
Zhang Zhiwei Jiang Zhongmin (江忠敏) Second Head Eunuch of the Imperial Household Department and successor to Huang Guiquan. Executed after Zhen Huan's confinement and possibly involved in the scheme for the former to mistakenly wear the late Empress Chuanyuan's dress.
Quan Baojun Head Eunuch Gou (苟总管) Third Head Eunuch of the Imperial Household Department and successor to Jiang Zhongmin who ordered his staff to ill-treat Zhen Huan during her confinement, resulting in the death of Liuzhu. Removed from his position when the Emperor discovered he had prevented Zhen Huan from seeking medical treatment when she was severely unwell.
Zhang Zhiwei Liang Duorui (梁多瑞) Subsequent Head Eunuch of the Imperial Household Department upon Zhen Huan's return as Consort Xi.
Liang Yixin Baojuan (宝鹃) Head palace maid to An Lingrong and possibly an informant to Empress Yixiu as she had constantly sowed discord between Lingrong, Zhen Huan, and Shen Meizhuang in the early part of the series. Portrayed herself as fiercely loyal and greatly trusted by Lingrong.
Hu Xinhui Baoque (宝鹊) Palace maid to An Lingrong who was ordered to report Hongyan's paternity scandal to Shen Meizhuang, causing the latter's difficult labour and subsequent death.
Li Mengyang Juqing (菊青) Palace maid to Zhen Huan early in the series and subsequently deployed to An Lingrong's service. As Lingrong becomes close to Empress Yixiu, Baojuan stirs her suspicions of Juqing being Zhen Huan's informant. Poisoned by An Lingrong upon Zhen Huan's banishment to Ganlu Temple.
Xu Lei Xiao Guizi (小贵子) A eunuch ordered by An Lingrong to report Zhen Yuandao's downfall to Zhen Huan late into her pregnancy during her confinement, nearly causing the latter's miscarriage. He also caused Zhen Yuandao to contract a deadly disease by releasing mice into his prison cell.
Liu Yin Jixiang (吉祥) Trusted head palace maid to Qi Yuebin who eloquently completes her mistress' stories and investigations.
Han Yuting Cuiguo (翠果) Palace maid to Li Wanting who is simple-minded and fulfills her mistress' attempts to poison Zhen Huan and Ye Lanyi.
Tian Shumei Sun Zhuxi (孙竹息) Trusted head palace maid to Empress Dowager Uya.
Yang Jingfang Fang Ruo (芳若) Palace maid to Emperor Yongzheng and later to Empress Dowager Uya, who was also the guidance maid to Zhen Huan and An Lingrong upon their selection as imperial concubines. She was also in-charge of guarding both Shen Meizhuang and Zhen Huan during the their respective confinements.
Yang Kaichun Jianqiu (剪秋) Trusted head palace maid to Empress Yixiu. During Empress Yixiu's confinement, she attempted to poison Zhen Huan and Hongyan but ended up accidentally poisoning the pregnant Meng Jingxian instead. Her torture as punishment led Empress Yixiu to confess the murder of her sister, the late Empress Chuanyuan, and other crimes.
Li Yingya Huichun (绘春) Palace maid to Empress Yixiu who took the rap after Yixiu had failed to frame Hongyan as Wen Shichu's child during the parentage scandal.
Liu Yang Jiang Fuhai (江福海) Head eunuch to Empress Yixiu. He was tortured after Jianqiu's failed poisoning attempt and confessed to all of Empress Yixiu's crimes.
Wang Yiming Zhou Ninghai (周宁海) Trusted head eunuch to Nian Shilan who has helped in many of her schemes, such as murdering Fuzi and Second Attendant Chun, and the attempted murders of Shen Meizhuang.
Wang Xiaoming Suxi (肃喜) Eunuch ordered by Nian Shilan to set fire to Zhen Huan's palace quarters, resulting in the destruction of the Suiyu Hall and injury to Zhen Meizhuang's arm.
Sun Fei Fuzi (福子) A young palace maid deployed to Nian Shilan as Empress Yixiu's informant early in the series. Drowned by Zhou Ninghai on Nian Shilan's orders.

Imperial Physicians

Zhang Xiaolong Wen Shichu (温实初) / Imperial Physician Wen (温太医) Imperial Physician and Zhen Huan's childhood friend. Despite loving Zhen Huan, he ultimately falls in love with Shen Meizhuang and fathers her daughter Princess Jinghe. To avoid further accusations of having an illicit relationship with Zhen Huan, he castrated himself and nearly drank to death had Zhen Huan not convinced him to live. Resigning from his position, he guarded Meizhuang's tomb until he was summoned back to care for Zhen Huan's final pregnancy.

Actor Zhang Xiaolong also served behind the scenes as the drama's expert regarding traditional dance and Qing court etiquette.

Qin Yiming Wei Lin (卫临) Disciple of Wen Shichu and subsequent Head imperial physician. Zhen Huan's trusted physician upon Shen Meizhuang's death and Wen Shichu's resignation.
Huang Ningsheng Zhang Mi (章弥) Imperial physician early in the series who was in-charge of Zhen Huan's first pregnancy. He was granted an honorable retirement by Emperor Yongzheng upon Zhen Huan's miscarriage.
Du Xiaotao Jiang Cheng (江 诚) Brother of Jiang Shen and an imperial physician early in the series who allies with Nian Shilan. Assassinated by Emperor Yongzheng upon discovery that they had stolen the treatment plan for the pandemic from Wen Shichu.
Yang Xiaobo Jiang Shen (江 慎) Brother of Jiang Cheng and an imperial physician early in the series who allies with Nian Shilan. Assassinated by Emperor Yongzheng upon discovery that they had stolen the treatment plan for the pandemic from Wen Shichu.
Guo Chen Liu Ben (刘畚) Imperial physician early in the series who was ordered by Nian Shilan and Cao Qinmo to gain Shen Meizhuang's trust during their stay at Yuanming Palace. Falsely confirmed Meizhuang's pregnancy, resulting in her confinement for deceiving the Emperor.

Escaped from Nian Shilan's attempts of murder and was eventually caught by Zhen Huan, confessing to Emperor Yongzheng that Nian Shilan had framed Meizhuang.

Gan Lu Temple

Hai Yan Master Jing'an (静岸 师太) Head nun of Gan Lu Temple who is soft-hearted and often manipulated by Jingbai's schemes.
Zhao Qianzi Master Jingbai (静白 师太) Only second to the head nun, she uses her authority to abuse and humiliate Zhen Huan during her stay at Gan Lu Temple. Framed Zhen Huan for theft and forced her, Huanbi, and Jingxi to move to the dangerous Lingyun Peak. Punished for her actions upon Zhen Huan's return to the palace as Consort Xi, she was unrepentant and became involved in Hongyan's parentage scandal.
Wang Lihan Moyan (莫言) A straightforward nun who often berates but helps Zhen Huan and defies Jingbai's orders. Rewarded for her kindness upon Zhen Huan's return to the palace as Consort Xi and counters Jingbai's accusations against Zhen Huan during the paternity scandal.

Special appearance[edit]

Liulianzi Liu Lianzi (劉蓮子) One of the candidates of the Draft Selection in the first episode. The character served as a cameo for the original author. Most of Liulianzi's scenes outlining her character profile were deleted from the final cut, but were shown during the author's own wedding.


Empresses in the Palace - Original Television Soundtrack (后宫·甄嬛传电视剧原声音乐大碟)
1."Plight of a Beauty (红颜劫)"Yao Beina 
2."Bodhisattva (菩萨蛮)" (Male version sung by Liu Huan)Yao Beina 
3."Flying Phoenix (凤凰于飞)"Liu Huan 
4."Picking Lotus (采莲)"Yao Beina 
5."Golden Silk Blouse (金缕衣)"Yao Beina 
6."Jing Hong Dance (惊鸿舞)"Yao Beina 

Backstage crew[edit]

  • Publishers: Zheng Xiaolong, Zhong Yi, Dun Yong, Li Ruigang
  • Producers: Cao Ping, Dun Qi, Xu Xiaoou
  • Supervisors: Liu Zhiyuan, Wang Xiaodong, Zhang Suzhou, Chen Liang, Tang Rang, Zhang Ping, Li Junming, Zhang Ping, Zhao Hongmei, Chen Yaping
  • Director: Zheng Xiaolong
  • Deputy director's assistants: Dong Xiaoyun (Assistant Director), Liu Le (Assistant), Zheng Hanqing (Assistant)
  • Script writer: Liu Lianzi, Wang Xiaoping
  • Photographer: Li Zhiqiang, Li Qiang, Yu Fei, Zhang Yuanshou, Feng Yucheng, Wang Lindong, Zhao Hao, He Lichun, Chen Jianwei, Wei Liangliang, Li Meng, Yang Jinbo
  • Music: Liu Huan, Meng Ke, Ding Ji, Zhao Liang, Song Lei, Wang Songyang, Wan Xiaoyuan, Li Wei, Sui Jing, Asian Philharmonic Orchestra, Huang Lijie
  • Editor: Jin Ye, Jiang Jimei, cao translation
  • Props: Wang Yue, Liu Yuanfei, Wang Guiqing, Wang Shili, Gao Guiyong, Liu Jiye, Zhang Yanlong, Fang Jie, LiBiao, Cao Yongli, Wang Yanhua, Su Huizhi, gao Yashi, Gao Xian, Young spring library, Lv Qiang, Zhang Fengjun
  • Casting director: Li Yang
  • Voice acting directors: Liao Jing and Zhang Wei
  • Art designers: Chen Haozhong, Luan Hexin, Wang Yongkang, Yang Kun
  • Modeling designers: Chen Minzheng, Li Yuanyuan, Wang Yingkai, Kou Hainan, Yang Jia, Sun Yue, Guo Yang, Min Cong, Zhang Rongbin, Qin Yiping, Wen Lulu, Xing Lu
  • Fashion designers: Chen Tongxun, Shi Dongling, Ji Doni, Zhu Yuxiang, Tang Biyun, Liu Xiaohu, Chen Guanglin, Guo Sheng, Shi Jianmin
  • Visual effects: Beijing Huacai Shengtang Mathematics Technology Co., LTD
  • Lighting crew: Li Tianlei, Zhang Xin 'an, Zhang Cun, Wang Zhonghai, Xu Wanfei, Zhang Feng, Lin Shucong, Wu Tianzhao, Zhang Yunling, Meng Xudong, Chen Guofu, Xu Bing, Zhang Jiayu
  • Recording crew: An Wei, Liu Xinghe, Lin Xin
  • Directors: Zhang Xiaonan, Zhang Xiaofeng, Wang Gaofeng, Wang Kuanxi, Guan Xiaoming, Wang Kuandong, Zhang Yongbo, Zhang Wei, Dai Zuyin, Dai Zuyuan, Li Shunyi, Li Weitan, Jia Xinquan, Liu Quanmin
  • Script supervisor: Guo Guanhua, Yu Feng
  • Issuing: Cheng Ting [1]


Chinese traditional arts[edit]

According to the Overseas Chinese Language and Culture Education Online website, The Filigree Inlaid Metal Art (花丝镶嵌), an accessory craft skill that could be oriented back to the Spring and Autumn Period from 770 to 256 BC that uses gold, silver, and metal as the based; pearls, and gems on top, attracted a wide number of audience and became a phenomenon due to it being featured on Empresses in the Palace'.[2].


The ratings of the premiere (Anhui TV, Dragon TV)[3]
Air date Episode # CSM42 City Anhui TV ratings CSM42 City Dragon TV ratings
Ratings Audience share Rank Ratings Audience share Rank
2012.03.26 1-2 0.813 2.17 3 0.601 1.61 8
2012.03.27 3-4 0.959 2.57 3 0.677 1.82 5
2012.03.28 5-6 0.854 2.22 3 0.727 1.88 6
2012.03.29 7-8 1.058 2.75 3 0.844 2.19 5
2012.03.30 9-10 1.087 2.72 3 0.930 2.32 4
2012.03.31 11-12 1.005 2.67 3 0.894 2.37 4
2012.04.01 13-14 1.080 2.85 3 0.910 2.41 4
2012.04.02 15-16 1.097 2.98 2 1.018 2.77 4
2012.04.03 17-18 1.008 2.76 3 1.036 2.86 2
2012.04.04 19-20 1.110 2.91 2 1.050 2.75 3
2012.04.05 21-22 1.105 2.95 2 1.081 2.88 3
2012.04.06 23-24 1.090 2.83 2 1.009 2.63 3
2012.04.07 25-26 1.281 3.30 1 1.035 2.67 4
2012.04.08 27-28 1.147 2.90 3 1.233 3.12 2
2012.04.09 29-30 1.332 3.46 2 1.315 3.42 3
2012.04.10 31-32 1.309 3.49 1 1.174 3.12 2
2012.04.11 32-34 1.428 3.76 1 1.296 3.41 2
2012.04.12 35-36 1.407 3.68 1 1.272 3.32 2
2012.04.13 37-38 1.377 3.66 1 1.262 3.36 2
2012.04.14 39-40 1.411 3.73 1 1.189 3.18 2
2012.04.15 41-42 1.330 3.32 1 0.897 2.29 4
2012.04.16 43-44 1.422 3.80 1 1.294 3.45 2
2012.04.17 45-46 1.519 4.06 1 1.410 3.78 2
2012.04.18 47-48 1.571 4.02 1 1.416 3.76 2
2012.04.19 49-50 1.625 4.28 1 1.513 3.99 2
2012.04.20 51-52 1.567 4.03 1 1.552 4.00 2
2012.04.21 53-54 1.652 4.43 1 1.570 4.23 2
2012.04.22 55-56 1.562 4.16 1 1.512 4.00 2
2012.04.23 57-58 1.687 4.23 1 1.444 3.82 2
2012.04.24 59-60 1.760 4.54 1 1.618 4.18 2
2012.04.25 61-62 1.753 4.68 1 1.609 4.30 2
2012.04.26 63-64 1.954 5.37 1 1.570 4.37 2
2012.04.27 65-66 1.720 4.59 1 1.670 4.47 2
2012.04.28 67-68 1.806 4.79 1 1.684 4.48 2
2012.04.29 69-70 1.878 5.21 1 1.525 4.25 2
2012.04.30 71-72 1.853 5.15 1 1.696 4.75 2
2012.05.01 73-74 1.770 4.68 1 1.710 4.52 2
2012.05.02 75-76 2.11 5.75 1 2.063 5.60 2
Average ratings 1.480 3.89 2012: 14th 1.340 3.53 2012: 23rd
  • Highest ratings are marked in red, lowest ratings are marked in blue.


List of Accolades
Award / Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
China TV Golden Eagle Award Outstanding Television Series Won
International Emmy Award[4] Best Actress Sun Li Nominated
Shanghai Television Festival[5] Best Director Zheng Xiaolong Won
Best Actress Sun Li Nominated
China TV Drama Awards Best Television Series Won
Best Director Zheng Xiaolong Won
Best Actress Sun Li Won
Best Supporting Actress[6] Jiang Xin Won
Best New Actor Li Dongxue Won
Most Popular Actress (Hong Kong / Taiwan) Ada Choi Won
Macau International Television Festival[7] Best Drama Won
Best Director Zheng Xiaolong Won
Best Actress Sun Li Won
Huading Awards[8] Best TV Actor Chen Jianbin Won
Chunyan Awards Best Director Zheng Xiaolong Won
China Hengdian Film and Television Festival Best Television Series[9] Won
Best Director Zheng Xiaolong Won

International broadcast[edit]

The drama was first aired in China in 2011 on Shaoxing News, a regional channel. As it gained popularity there it was picked up by national TV channels and first aired nationwide in 2012.[citation needed]

In April 2015, the series was added to US region of Netflix and has since been taken off and put on Amazon Prime Video. It was edited down to six episodes, each with a ninety-minute duration. The original audio was kept intact with the addition of closed captions in English.[10]

In Thailand, the series was first aired in 2016 on Channel 7[11] and in 2018 on One31 and LINE TV.

The series was uploaded on YouTube by LeTV in 2018.


  1. ^ "甄嬛传01 - 在线观看 - 电视剧 - 乐视视频". www.le.com. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  2. ^ "How TV shows saved the Chinese traditional Filigree Inlaid Metal Art".
  3. ^ "电视剧收视率排行榜 | 收视率排行" (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  4. ^ "International Emmy Awards Nominees". iemmys.tv. Archived from the original on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Winners of 18th STVF Magnolia Award". stvf.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Actress Jiang Xin Covers Fashion Magazine". Women of China. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  7. ^ "葛优闲来无事亲自领奖 孙俪大S齐封后". ent.cntv. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  8. ^ "2012华鼎奖名人满意度调查获奖名单". Sina.
  9. ^ "1st Hengdian film,TV festival gives out awards". China.org.cn. September 19, 2012.
  10. ^ "Empresses in the Palace coming to Netflix". Netflix Life.
  11. ^ ""ภ.จีน ชุด "เจินหวน จอมนางคู่แผ่นดิน" (THE LEGEND OF ZHEN HUAN)"". Channel 7 (in Thai). Retrieved 26 May 2016.