[Article] More About Queen Daemok (Princess YeonHwa / YeoWon)

Hi, this is Puriko’s  writing and this time for a random post! So, I will write about a Queen from old Korean Monarchy, Queen Daemok. Why? 

Royal Wedding of King Gwangjong and Queen Daemok in drama Scarlet Heart Ryeo
In some dramas featured her, the character will always kind of evil queen which can do anything to get the throne on her hand even if she has to kill his siblings. But, if we look more at the real history of her, I can see some interesting facts during ‘her reign’ in Goryeo era as King Gwangjong’s wife, King Gyeongjong’s mother, and King Seongjong’s aunt. She was kind of so powerful women at the era and those facts which made it so interesting.

King Gwangjong & Queen Daemok (Empire of the Dawn)
Queen Daemok is the only queen of King Gwangjong of Goryeo (Dynasty in Korea’s monarch before Jeoson Dynasty). The real name of this queen is actually unknown, but it is recorded in history that she is from Hwangju Hwangbo clan (from the side of her mother Queen Sinjeong) and one of King Taejo Wang Geon’s daughters. So, she is also half-sister of her own husband, King Gwangjong.

Queen Daemok portrayed by actress Kang Hanna in Scarlet Heart Ryeo
In the drama Shine or Go Crazy, the Queen was Princess YeoWon (starred by HoneyLee) and called as Princess YeonHwa (starred by Kang Hanna) in drama Scarlet Heart Ryeo. In those dramas, the character of Queen Daemok ware introduced as an evil queen but got everything at the end except King Gwangjong’s heart.

Back to the real history. Based on the discussion and explanation in DELEIGEVEN BLOG (Full Credit for most of the information), it is said that actually the relationship between King Gwangjong and Queen Daemok (according to historians) was not a political marriage, but still it had a big impact on politics since this marriage was to prevent any of new power rising and to keep ‘the royal pureblooded of Wang Geon’, also to prevent any further war in order to get the throne among Wang Geon’s sons and grandsons. But still, they are siblings (same father) which brought up kind of a weird relationship.

Queen Daemok in Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Shine or Go Crazy, and Empress Cheonchu
Moreover, Queen Daemok’s older brother, Daejong Wook (8th Prince) was the only Wang Geon’s son which became favorite prince among the nobleman after the Crown Prince Wang Mu. Because of this competitive reason, maybe, in some of political moments, King Gwangjong had different opinion with Queen Daemok and this was recorded in history (the King’s order to free the slaves in order to gain power of royal above noble clans). And that’s why (maybe) some of Directors make the relationship between these two as ‘Cold’ one. We can see in the drama Scarlet Heart Ryeo, when Queen Daemok asks King Gwangjong to see their oldest son at his birthday, but the King coldly refuses it.

Daejong Wook seeing King Gwangjong and Queen Daemok in Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Well, I think maybe in the real history, the relationship was not that bad, because they had five children, right?
About the Queen Daemok’s death… no one knows, even not recorded in history but maybe in around 936. Let us make a speculation; Daejong Wook (Daemok’s older brother from same mother) was older than Ahnjong Wook (Baek-Ah, 13th Prince). If Baek Ah was born in 936, so Daejong was born 3 or 4 years earlier, so might be Daemok was born in the same year of Baek-Ah or around 1 or 2 years earlier. 

At the era, teens marriage or even children marriage was allowed but not marriage of an adult with a child, moreover they were King’s children, so it was impossible that Daemok and Gwangjong had more than 15 years old difference. So, that must be not possible for 20s Gwangjong (Prince WangSo) married a 10 years old Queen Daemok (Princess YeonHwa/YeoWon –drama’s given name-).

Princess YeonHwa (Daemok) and Prince WangSo (Gwangjong) in Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Left to right: King Gwangjong, Queen Daemok, Crown Prince Wang Ju in Imperial Morning
Prince WangSo/King Gwangjong was born in 925 and the marriage was happen during Taejo’s reign, so that was maybe around 940-943, when WangSo/Gwangjong in his 15-17 years old and YeonHwa/Daemok in her 10-12 years old. This 5-7 years difference is the most possible one.

In the drama Imperial Morning (the drama focusing on the reign of King Gwangjong), Princess Hwangbo and Prince Wangso married before they got the throne. As royal couple, King Gwangjong and Queen Daemok work together on their own responsibilities. As written in history, for the first seven years, King Gwangjong was a wise and good king who did not have any confrontation with clans, but then he got the slaves free and taken over the kingdom. In some of the last episodes, the King was so angry after some treason. He killed a lot of his people and subjects also put a death punishment to his very young son, Wang Ju. Queen Daemok did everything to save her son including begging to the King, but no good answer. One night King Gwangjong fell a sleep and got a strange dream that he was visited by his death family (including late Kings of Goryeo). Soon after, King Gwangjong calmed down himself and released his son, even crowned him as the Crown Prince.

Gwangjong-Daemok: Imperial Morning, Scarlet Heart, Shine or Go-Crazy
King Gwangjong & Queen Daemok in Imperial Morning work together to run the empire
Prince Wang Ju is crowned as the Crown Prince

Then, What Happened to Queen Daemok after the Death of King Gwangjong?
Queen Daemok known as the only Queen of Gwangjong also his first wife. The Crown Prince Wang Ju (King Gyeongjong) was the first son of Daemok and Gwangjong, so when Wang Ju got the crown, automatically Queen Daemok became Queen Mother of Goryeo and still alive even after the death of his son Gyeongjong.
King Gyeongjong in drama Empress Cheonchu
However, Daejong Wook (the one possible to sit on the throne after the death of Gyeongjong because Gyeongjong’s son was still too young) had passed away. The crown was handed to Wang Chi (Daejong Wook’s son, also Daemok’s nephew) later become King Seongjong. This was proven that Queen Daemok had a big impact in the politic and the royals so that she could make his nephew to get the crown.

The most possible one was Daemok passed away before 992, because that was the time when King Hyeonjong was born (King Hyeonjong was son of Ahnjong Wook Baek-Ah and took the crown after Mokjong –Daemok’s grandson-). Since Hyenjong was born, the Queen who had dominant role in the palace was Queen Cheonchu and this will not possible if Queen Daemok still alive. Also, Queen Cheonchu almost killed the young Hyeonjong and Ahnjong Wook (which will not possible if Daemok still alive since Hyeonjong was her older brother’s grandson and Ahjong Baek-Ah was her little brother also the only Wang Geon’s son whom still alive). Queen Cheonchu won’t have those powers if Queen Daemok still having control of the palace.

Empress Cheonchu (Seongjong's sister) and King Mokjong (son of Gyeongjong and Cheonchu)
In conclusion, Daemok might be passed away in her golden time (when the Palace was taken control by her relations) and that might be in King Seongjong’s reign.

In my personal opinion, Queen Daemok maybe the strongest woman during the era of Gwangjong until her death. King Gwangjong’s reign was known as a bloody monarch, while the King also ruled with iron fist but the reign on reformation at the same time. Noble clans which have powers to control the monarch during earlier reign also lost their powers during Gwangjong’s era. I think in that era, not only the King which was known as the ‘Strong King’ but  the Queen (Daemok) also was a ‘Strong Queen’.

King Hyeonjong in drama Empress Cheonchu
That was proven when she could even had different opinion with the King and even recorded in history. After Gwangjong was dead, Queen Daemok still has power to control Goryeo since her son was in the throne and re-installed some rules which was erased during Gwangjong’s reign (most of the case which Gwangjong and Daemok had different opinion). 

Unfortunately, Gyeongjong only sit the throne for 6 years and passed away. The next king should be Gyeongjong’s son, but because he was still young, his uncle Wang Chi (Daemok’s nephew) to get the throne. How could she so powerful? 

There was not many information about Queen Daemok, but I think she was one of the most powerful women or maybe the strongest one during those eras.

Ah, this is very interesting. The new drama from MBC about Goryeo 26th King, The King in Love, some of the set are same with Scarlet Heart, so netizen said that the Grandpa and Grandma in same location with the grandchild. LOL (this is jokes after all)

This post was written based on historical speculation and personal opinion.

picture sources: KBS, SBS

King Gwangjong & Queen Daemok (Imperial Morning)

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