If you read this blog faithfully, you know that I’m a history buff. And since reading a couple of the historical novels I’ve recommended, I’m fascinated with learning more about Queen Min. Here’s just a little of what I’ve learned.
Empress Myeongseong, also known as Queen Min, was the first official wife of King Gojong, the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon dynasty of Korea, and was the last empress of Korea. Born in 1851, she lost both parents early in life and at age 16 married the king, who was only 15 at the time.
Four years later, Queen Min began to play a part in politics. She was interested in Westernization. And interestingly, an American missionary was very close to Queen Min. Lilias Underwood arrived in Korea in 1888. She was appointed the Queen’s doctor and was said to enjoy the trust and intimate friendship of the Queen. (More on Underwood and Queen Min’s relationship coming in a couple of weeks.) Queen Min was assassinated in 1895 by the Japanese.
Just as American historical figures become the subject of TV shows and movie so it is in Korea. Queen Min has been the subject of a TV drama titled Empress Myeongseong, a musical titled The Last Empress, and a 2009 film The Sword with No Name.