Princess Hwahyeop

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Princess Hwahyeop
Born 1733
Died 1752, aged 19
Spouse Yeongseongwi Sin Gwang-su
Father Yeongjo of Joseon
Mother Lady Seonhui
Korean name
Hangul 화협옹주
Hanja 和協翁主
Revised Romanization Hwahyeop ongju
McCune–Reischauer Hwahyǒp ongju

Princess Hwahyeop, or Princess Hwahyop (1733–1752) was the seventh daughter of King Yeongjo of the Joseon dynasty in Korea.


The princess' personal name is unknown. She was born to Lady Seonhui on the 7th day of the 3rd lunar month, 1733. She received the official title Princess Hwahyeop, meaning harmony in 1739 by an official decree.[1] Her capping ceremony took place in 1743, the 19th year of King Yeongjo's reign. In the same year, she married Sin Gwang-su (1731~1733 - 1775~1776, Hangul: 신광수, Hanja: 申光绥),[2] the second son of Minister Sin Man (1703-1765,Hangul: 신만, Hanja: 申晚)[3] from the Pyongsan Sin Clan (평산신씨,平山申氏).[4]

Princess Hwahyeop was renowned for her beauty and exceptional devotion to her parents, but it is reported that King Yeongjo disliked her due to his disappointment that she was not a male child.[5] In the memoirs of Lady Hyegyong, it is said that King Yeongjo forbade Princess Hwahyeop to stay in the same house as his beloved daughter Princess Hwapyeong. He would get rid of his inauspiciousness by pouring water, which he used to wash his ears, into Princess Hwahyeop's residence. When she got married, he was cold to her husband.[6]

Similarly disfavored by their father, Prince Sado had a special affinity for Princess Hwahyeop.[7] He was attentive to her, and, during her illness, sent one servant after another to inquiry about her.[8] When she died, he mourned her with real sorrow.[9] His grief was expressed in his eulogy dedicated to her.[10]

Sometimes in the 10th month of 1750, there was a large epidemics of measles in the capital. Princess Hwahyeop was the first to come down with it.[11] She subsequently died of measles on the 27th day of the 11th lunar month, 1752, at the age of 19.[12] She did not conceive any child but has an adopted son Sin Chaesan (Hangul: 신재선, Hanja: 申在善), an off-spring from Sin Gwang-su's distant cousin.[13]


Princess Hwahyeop's tomb was discovered in August 2015, in Sampae-dong, Namyangju, Gyonggi-do (京畿道南杨州市三牌洞). This was the original burial site of the Princess with her husband Sin Gwang-su. In the 1970s, the coffins of the couple was shifted to another burial site in Jingeon-myeon (真乾邑), Namyangju, by their descendants for an unknown reason. Therefore, only traces of their coffins were found in this original burial site.[14]

Characters carved on stone blocks placed on the right-hand side of the tomb were used to identify its occupant. The characters read: 有明朝鲜和協翁主之墓寅坐 (The burial of Princess Hwahyeop of the Joseon Dynasty). The second excavation in December 2016 unearthed a memorial stone featuring a eulogy dictated by King Yeongjo, a stone chest containing porcelain jars for cosmetics, a bronze mirror, and a wooden comb.[15] The eulogy by King Yeongjo contained a total of 394 characters written on the back, front, and sides of the memorial stone. The eulogy details the king's final visit to his ill daughter on the 25th day of the 11th lunar month, 1752, two days before her death. It has been remarked that it is rare for a Joseon king to inscribe a stone for a daughter, and has been taken as a sign of King Yeongjo's affection for this particular daughter.[16]




  1. ^ 《承政院日记》英祖15年1月4日:傳于鄭必寧曰, 翁主爲和協翁主。
  2. ^ Sin Gwang-su's birth and death years were unknown. For his birth year, it is likely to be somewhere between 1731 to 1733 as a royal decree was issued in 1743 to select the husband for Princess Hwahyeop. The decree asked for yangban families to submit the names of primary born sons of the same age or up to two years older than the Princess (《承政院日记》英祖19年2月22日:又以禮曹言啓曰, 和協翁主駙馬, 自十一歲至十三歲揀擇事, 命下矣。). As for his death year, in 1775, King Yeongjo dismissed his uncle, Sin Ui (申晦,1706-??), from the position of Chief State Counselor. The historian commented that Sin Ui was Sin Gwang-su's uncle without using the word “故”, which would be referring to a deceased person (英祖125卷, 51年7月1日:命罷領議政申晦。【史臣曰: 晦以故相晩弟, 都尉光綏之叔, 夤緣戚畹, 驟陞大官, 專事阿諛, 害公利己, 賄賂公行, 人莫不唾鄙。 及是罷相, 輿論快之。】). In 1776, when King Jeongjo ascended the throne, Sin Gwang-su was mentioned with the word “故” as a prefix to his title (正祖1卷, 元年5月20日:……惟彼厚謙故都尉申光綏……), implying that he must have passed away by then. Thus, his death year would have been somewhere between the 7th month of 1775 to the 5th month of 1776.
  3. ^ Sin Man served as a minor civil officer at the time of his son's marriage. He subsequently served as the Chief Prime Minister on several terms. He had three primary sons, Gwang-so (光紹, 1722-??), Gwang-su and Gwang-jip (光緝, 1734-??). His third son Gwang-jip was made the adopted son of his younger brother Sin Ui. Among the three brothers, only Gwang-su did not have a record of passing the licentiate examination and had not held any official post except the nominal title of royal son-in-law. He was later impeached of plotting against King Jeongju with Chong Hugyom (郑厚谦)and was posthumously stripped off his title of royal consort in 1777 (正祖3卷, 1年1月29日:諫李顯永上疏, 請追削申光綏爵秩, 厚謙兄弟絶島散配……批曰: "申光綏事依施……) but had it rehabilitated in 1830.
  4. ^ Pyongsan Sin Clan were originally migrants from China during the warring states period at the end of Zhou Dynasty. The clan first settled in Balhae Kingdom(border land between China and Korea) and moved east to Korea Peninsula after the fall of Balhae to the Khitan. Clan members joined the forces of Wang Geon (Taejo of Koryo) and conquered Silla to establish the Koryo Dynasty, thus gaining the status of aristocrats. The ancestral seat of the clan is in Pyongsan county, Hwanghae province.
  5. ^ It has been 5 years since the death of Crown Prince Hyojang. Yeongjo had been expecting a son before the birth of the Princess. When a girl was born instead, his great disappointment was explicitly recorded in the Sillok - "It is not because of this (Princess Hwahyeop's birth) that I can neither eat nor sleep well. But whenever I think of the continuation of the royal bloodline, I feel distressed." (英祖 33卷, 9年3月 8日:上曰:"予豈以此, 至於寢食失節, 而但念三宗血脈, 心不如常矣。")
  6. ^ JaHyun Kim Haboush, ed., The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996. ISBN 0-520-20055-1
  7. ^ When Prince Sado heard about the death of Princess Hwahyeop, he was grief-stricken and sighed "I particularly commiserate with this sister. She left in such a hurry. What can be more heartbreaking than this? I am frustrated and aggrieved for not been able to mourn for her in person." (《顯隆園誌》:按宮中記聞曰。時有和協翁主之喪。慟惜不自勝。敎曰:“吾於此姊。別有顧念之情。而今忽奄逝。此慟何比。無以躬臨洩哀。卽余至恨。”)
  8. ^ JaHyun Kim Haboush, ed., The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996. ISBN 0-520-20055-1
  9. ^ JaHyun Kim Haboush, ed., The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996. ISBN 0-520-20055-1
  10. ^ See next section: Eulogies
  11. ^ According to Lady Hyegyong, the epidemics of measles broke out at around 21 days after the birth of her first child, Prince Uiso. JaHyun Kim Haboush, ed., The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996. ISBN 0-520-20055-1
  12. ^ According to the tradition Chinese counting of "sui", Princess Hwahyeop would be 20 years old at time of her death. Thus, in Prince Sado's eulogy, he said that she has "lived to see twenty springs".
  13. ^ From the records of Pyongyang Sin Ssi genealogy, Sin Gwang-su had not remarry a second legal wife after the death of Princess Hwahyeop. Thus, Sin Chaesan was the only legitimate descendant to his line. However, he would probably have concubines that bore him secondary children whose names would never be recorded in the family genealogy.
  14. ^ This piece of information was obtained by the editor (User Milugu) from the reporter who wrote the article on the excavation of Princess Hwahyeop's tomb.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Original Text:御制和协翁主墓志,墓在金谷平丘村 - 第七女和协即暎嫔所生也。癸丑三月初七日生于大内,巳未封爵,十一岁下嫁永城尉申光绥,即判书晚之子也。丁卯秋七月出阁,壬申十一月二十七日逝于大寺洞第。气品从容清秀,事亲以诚,事舅若一。虽处於阙中波荡之中,自幼至长澹然静然,无少间焉,若弗闻焉,若弗覩焉,即和协之性品也。弗然何以御下,何以齐众噫,常时为予之诚。虽弗能记,去冬二十五日,特为临视也。闻予之来,命左右而备饌待予,令侍者而探问来予。呜呼!其时,奚能为此,而因恒日为予之心也,吁嗟其日事已末。若惟待视,终气忽昏眩难以堪焉,嗟叹自谓曰,其将欺我,其将欺我。入视而谓曰,予今入阙,予今入阙,若是者三,昏昏涔涔漠然无应,故饮涕而回。翌日朝间,医所传,其后省觉,谓其侍者曰,何弗觉余奏以安回云。闻此弗觉泪下披面。闻其计来临,事已莫追。呜呼!此怀何以记焉?翌年正月二十二日葬于杨州金谷面庚向原。而谓其予枝,何忍记焉,尤为深怆者。申门只有乳童弗即立后也。心思索漠记,虽草草比诸文具,庶可慰灵。其录一行泪下十行。呜呼哀哉!呜呼哀哉!
  18. ^ The exact date is the 19th day of the 7th month, between 9-11AM (《承政院日记》英祖23年6月25日:李喆輔, 以禮曹言啓曰, 和協翁主出閤, 以七月內擇入事, 命下矣。出閤吉日, 卽令日官推擇, 則來七月十九日巳時, 二十一日午時爲吉云。以何日定行乎? 敢稟。傳曰, 以十九日定行。).
  19. ^ Translator's note (User Milugu): "troubling palace" refers to either the political turmoil at Yeongjo's court or the fact that Princess Hwahyeop was disfavored by Yeongjo and had received harsh treatments while she was alive
  20. ^ Translator's note: the Silok recorded that Yeongjo insisted on visiting Princess Hwahyeop, ignoring protests from various ministers (probably because measles was contagious). He stayed overnight at the Princess's residence and nursed her till dawn (英祖 78卷, 28年(1752 壬申 / 청 건륭(乾隆) 17年) 11月 25日(壬午)上將幸和協翁主第, 副校理蔡濟恭再上箚諫之, 不從。 上以不卽聚軍, 命拿入兵曹判書金尙星、訓鍊大將金聖應。 而以奪符宣傳官, 不請標信, 行首宣傳官李漢膺寧海府投畀, 副行首徐赫修施以軍律, 承旨李之億進曰: “闕門之外, 軍律未安。” 許上特寢之, 賜以貂帽。 及臨主第, 夜深不還宮, 藥房、政院、大臣幷請對, 不許。 將曉始回鑾。)
  21. ^ Original Text:祭和協翁主文 - 維歲次。壬申丁亥朔十五日辛丑。弟世子遣女官。以庶羞之奠。昭告于和協翁主之靈曰。惟我姊氏。稟質剛潔。生於王室。長於王室。卄年春光。一朝霜雪。宿昔遐圖。豈意今日。瞻彼鴈行。旣鮮且稀。云胡一疾。竟至難醫。慈氏曁我。昕夕焦爇。方其革也。誠孝猶切。聖駕臨視。幡然而起。起且呻囈。有隕如水。嗟嗟曷及。心膽驚墜。日月云邁。奄當厥望。替奠菲薄。洩我悲傷。英靈不沬。尙歆馨香。
  22. ^ Translator's note (User Milugu): this eulogy was apparently a private eulogy by Crown Prince Sado and was not displayed in public. It is a piece included in his compilations 《凌虛關漫稿》. In the middle of the 1st month of 1753, about one and a half month after the passing of Princess Hwahyeop, Yeongjo asked his minister whether the Crown Prince had composed a Eulogy for his deceased sister. "I have not seen one," said Yeongjo. One officer Yun replied "I have seen his private eulogy during study lecture." (承政院日记:上曰, 和協翁主祭文, 亦入於東宮乎? 姑未見矣。得雨曰, 曾見私家祭文, 皆入小朝矣。上曰, 似然矣。)
  23. ^ Translator's note: Geese is a popular motif in Chinese poems bearing various symbolic meanings. In the case of Prince Sado, he was lamenting the fact that his sisters (Princess Hwapyeong in 1743 and Princess Hwahyeop in 1752) were departing one after another to the netherworld. Thus the wild geese were rare (he had only three sisters born of the same mother) and getting fewer. He also used wild geese to allude to his sisters in his eulogy dedicated to Princess Hwapyeong.
  24. ^ Original Text:和協貴主墓致祭文 - 於乎我姑。曷不賢淑。盛于盛德。慣聞於昔。渼水之阡。珩珮攸藏。駕過一舍。綴辭替觴。
  25. ^ Translator's note (User Milugu): Jeongjo visited Yangju, Gyeong-gi do on the 11th day of the 9th lunar month of 1792. He visited several tombs of deceased royal family members including Princess Hwahyeop. In appreciation for her kindness towards his deceased father (Crown Prince Sado), King Jeongjo penned the Eulogy personally. (承政院日记:“壬子九月十一日卯時, 上自楊州牧……和協貴主墓, 在一舍之地, 追思昔日友于之德, 予懷難抑, 遣內侍待曉致祭, 祭文亦當親撰。”)
  26. ^ Translator's note: this refers to Crown Prince Sado, King Jeongjo's biological father.
  27. ^ Translator's note: the gentle flowing river is likely to be used as a metaphor to compare Princess Hwahyeop's deposition against the serenity of the nature and the precious stones alludes to Princess Hwahyeop's character as been pure and beautiful like a piece of jade
  28. ^ Translator's note: pouring of rice wine before a tombstone is a traditional way to honor the deceased in East Asia culture

See also[edit]