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Back in 1900, Dowager Empress Longyu of China ordered that all foreigners be executed.  This included all foreign diplomats and their families.

Talk about your foreign policy faux pas!

Dragon lady

Her real name was Xiaodingjing, but all her ‘friends’ called her Your Majesty.

She’s mostly remembered for signing the abdication document for the child emperor Puyi, which ended imperial rule in China.

There was a movie about it, if you want the short version.

When her husband died, and having no children of her own, she appointed his nephew as the emperor.

She was pretty powerful.

She wasn’t all that nice.  When one of her husband’s other wives overspent her allowance, she demoted her and sent her to a “cold palace”…a place where those fallen from favor had to go.

In the US, we call that prison.

When the Xinhai Revolution came and the end was near, the tough ‘old’ empress drove a hard bargain.

The Emperor, who didn’t even understand he was emperor, would abdicate, the family would leave, but they could keep their imperial titles, they could all stay in the Forbidden City for a while longer, the imperial graves would be cared for, the new government would pay for the funeral of the emperor, and she would get a hefty retirement package.

Oh, and all those nasty foreigners had stay away.

But, life IS fair sometimes.

Within a few months of the revolution, she became ill and died.

She was 45 years old.

I think the artist who painted the picture above was either blind or terrified.

Painters sometimes lie, but cameras never do.

Dowager Empress

 

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