Queen Heonae

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Queen Heonae
Regent of Goryeo
Reign 997 – 1009 (12 years)
Born 964
Hwangju, Goryeo
Died 20 January 1029
Sungdeok Palace, Kaesung, Goryeo
Spouse Gyeongjong of Goryeo
Kim Chi-yang
Issue Mokjong of Goryeo
Unnamed son
Father Wang Uk, Prince of Hwangju
Mother Queen Seonui

Queen Heonae (Hangul: 헌애왕후, Hanja: 獻哀王后) (964–1029), also known as Queen Dowager Cheonchu (천추태후, 千秋太后), was the third Queen consort of King Gyeongjong of Goryeo. She served as regent of Goryeo from 997 to 1009 during the minority of her son, King Mokjong of Goryeo. Her life story was the basis for the drama Empress Cheonchu.


Queen Heonae was born into the Hwangju branch of the royal house of the Kingdom of Goryeo. Her father, Wang Uk (Hangul: 왕욱, Hanja: 王旭), was the seventh son of King Taejo of Goryeo by his fourth wife, Queen Sinjeong (Hangul: 신정왕후, Hanja: 神靜王后). She had one older brother, Wang Chi, the future King Seongjong of Goryeo, and one younger sister who eventually became the mother of King Hyeonjong of Goryeo.

Although a male-line descendant of King Taejo, Queen Heonae did not carry the surname of the Goryeo royal family, Wang (Hangul: 왕, Hanja: 王). Instead, she and her younger sister used the surname Hwangbo (Hangul: 황보, Hanja: 皇甫), which was the surname of their paternal grandmother, Queen Sinjeong.

Queen Heonae married Gyeongjong of Goryeo, her first cousin. She was the sister of King Seongjong of Goryeo, who succeeded her spouse as throne. When her son, Mokjong of Goryeo became King in 997, she became Regent. However, she contracted a marriage of consent with Kim Chi-yang, and gave birth to a Kim Chi-yang's son. Kim Chi-yang conspired to set his son on the throne.

When Kim Chi-yang burned the Manwoldae, royal palace, to the ground, threatening to kill the King and take over, King Mokjong called General Gang Jo to the capital city of Kaesong. General Gang Jo immediately executed Kim Chi-Yang and his supporters.

Then, the scholar officials, enemies of Gang Jo, spread rumors and lies that the general was planning to take over the government for himself. These rumors reached the King, and he planned to kill Gang Jo. Gang Jo heard of the conspiracy and doubts of the King, and ordered his army to attack and kill all of his enemies, including the king. After assassinating King Mokjong, General Gang placed King Hyeonjong of Goryeo on the throne. Queen Cheonchu was exiled to Hwangju. In 1029, she returned to the royal court and died in her chamber at Sungdeok Palace.


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