Queen Inhyeon

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Queen Inhyeon
Queen consort of Joseon
Tenure1681 – 5 March 1688
PredecessorQueen Ingyeong
SuccessorQueen Bu-Ok (deposed)
Tenure1694 – 16 September 1701
PredecessorQueen Bu-Ok (deposed)
SuccessorQueen Inwon
Born15 May 1667
Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, Kingdom of Joseon
Died16 September 1701 (1701-09-17) (aged 34)
Changdeok Palace, Kingdom of Joseon
Myeongreung, Gyeonggi Province
SpouseKing Sukjong of Joseon
Posthumous name
HouseYeoheung Min
FatherMin Yu-jung
MotherLady Song of the Eunjin Song clan
Queen Inhyeon
Revised RomanizationInhyeon Wanghu
McCune–ReischauerInhyŏn Wanghu

Queen Inhyeon (Hangul: 인현왕후, Hanja: 仁顯王后) (15 May 1667 – 16 September 1701) was the second queen consort of King Sukjong of Joseon and one of the best known Queens of the Joseon Dynasty. Her life has been portrayed in many Korean historical dramas.


Born into the Yeoheung Min clan, she was the second daughter of Min Yu-jung (Hangul: 민유중, Hanja: 閔維重)[1] (1630–1687) and his second wife, Lady Song of the Eunjin Song clan.[2]

She married King Sukjong as his second Queen Consort in 1681, at the age of 14. When so-ui[3] Jang Ok-jeong produced a son in 1688, it created a bloody dispute called Gisa literati purges (기사사화). During this time, Sukjong wanted to give this eldest son (entitled the wonja, literally the "First Son") the title of "Crown Prince" and wanted to promote Lady Jang from So-ui to Hui-bin.[4]

This action was opposed by the Noron faction, who supported Queen Inhyeon led by Song Si-yeol,[5] and this was supported by the Soron faction, who supported Lady Jang. Sukjong became angry at the opposition, and many were killed including Song Si-yeol. Many, including Inhyeon and her family, were forced into exile. Queen Inhyeon was deposed, while Jang so-ui became Jang hui-bin, and then became the third Queen Consort.

Later in 1694, Sukjong, feeling remorse at his temperamental actions, gave in to a movement for Inhyeon's reinstatement, which was led by the Soron (this event was called the Gapsul Hwanguk (갑술환국,甲戌換局)) She was brought back to the palace and was reinstated as Queen Consort, with Lady Jang being demoted to hui-bin.

In 1701, aged 34, she became ill and died of an unknown disease (some sources say that she was poisoned).

It has been said that Sukjong, while mourning for Inhyeon, dreamed of her in a sobok dress drenched with blood. Sukjong asked Inhyeon of how she died, but Inhyeon didn't say anything, but pointed in to the direction of Jang Hui-bin's chambers.[6] Sukjong awoke, then went into Jang's chambers. While approaching, he heard music and sounds of laughter. Eavesdropping, he saw Jang Hui-bin with Shamanist priestesses in her chambers, praying for the Queen's death, while striking a figurine with arrows. When this was discovered by Sukjong, Lady Jang was executed for her actions by poison.[7]

One of the Queen's ladies in waiting wrote a book called Inhyeon Wanghu Jeon (Hangul: 인현왕후전, Hanja: 仁顯王后傳, Queen Inhyeon's Story), which still exists today. She is buried in Myeongreung (명릉,明陵) in Gyeonggi Province, and Sukjong was later buried near her in the same area. She has no issue to Sukjong.


  • Father: Min Yu-jung (1630 – 1687) (민유중)
    • Grandfather: Min Gwang-hun (1595 – 1659) (민광훈)
    • Grandmother: Lady Lee of the Yeonan Lee clan (연안 이씨)
  • Mother: Lady Song of the Eunjin Song clan (1637 – 1672) (은진 송씨)
    • Grandfather: Song Jun-gil (28 December 1606 – 2 December 1672) (송준길)
    • Grandmother: Lady Jeong of the Jinju Jeong clan (진주 정씨)
  • Brother: Min Jin-hu (1659 – 1720) (민진후)[8]
  • Brother: Min Jin-won (1664 – 1736) (민진원)
  • Sister: Lady Min of Yeoheung Min clan (1656 – 1728) (여흥 민씨)
  • Sister: Lady Min of Yeoheung Min clan (1672 – 1714) (여흥 민씨)
  • Husband: King Sukjong of Joseon (7 October 1661 – 12 July 1720) (조선 숙종)

Full posthumous name[edit]

  • Hyogyeong Sukseong Jangsun Wonhwa Uiyeol Jeongmok Inhyeon Wanghu
  • 효경숙성장순원화의열정목인현왕후
  • 孝敬淑聖莊純元化懿烈貞穆仁顯王后


Inhyeon's eldest brother Min Jin-hu's great-great-great-granddaughter would eventually marry Inhyeon's step-great-great-great-great-adoptive-grandson, the future Emperor Gojong of the Korean Empire, becoming the famous Empress Myeongseong. Emperor Gojong's mother, Lady Yeoheung, was also a member of the Yeoheung Min clan (a great-great-granddaughter of Inhyeon's second brother Min Jin-won).

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Entitled as "Internal Prince Yeoyang" (여양부원군).
  2. ^ Entitled as "Lady Eunseong, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince" (Hangul: 은성부부인)
  3. ^ So-ui is the 3rd highest title for a King's concubine.
  4. ^ Bin (translated as "Royal Noble Consort") is the highest title for a King's concubine, just under the Queen.
  5. ^ http://academic.naver.com/view.nhn?doc_id=16555216&dir_id=0&page=0&query=Gisa%20Hwanguk&ndsCategoryId=10102&library=94
  6. ^ https://archive.org/stream/historyofkorea02hulbuoft#page/160/mode/2up
  7. ^ https://archive.org/stream/historyofkorea02hulbuoft#page/156/mode/2up
  8. ^ Great-great-great-grandfather of Empress Myeongseong.
  9. ^ "Femme Fatale, Jang Hee-bin (Yohwa, Jang Hee-bin) (1968)". Korean Movie Database. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
Preceded by
Queen Ingyeong
Queen consort of Joseon
1681 – 5 March 1688
Succeeded by
Queen Bu-Ok (deposed)
Preceded by
Queen Bu-Ok (deposed)
Queen consort of Joseon
1694 – 16 September 1701
Succeeded by
Queen Inwon