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Xiaozhuangren Grand Empress Dowager

Grand Empress Dowager Xiao Zhuang (Hiyoošungga Ambalinggū Genggiyenšu Hūwanghu as the Empress in Manchu; died 1688) was the grandmother of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty.

She was a daughter of a prince of the Khorchin Mongols, thus was a descendant of Chinggis Khan's brother. She was given to Hong Taiji when she was twelve years old. Her aunt was married to Hong Taiji who also became an empress dowager when Hong Taiji died and was succeeded by Xiao Zhuang's son, Shun Zhi.

After Hong Taiji passed away, he didn't leave a will and there was a struggle among his brothers and his eldest son, Hooge. Daišan and Dorgon, brothers of Hong Taiji agreed that Fulin should become the successor and pledged that they would serve the young lord with their absolute loyalty. Hooge was not pleased by this decision and argued that he should succeed his father since he was the eldest son. Hooge was eventually put under house arrest by Prince Dorgon and died during the period.

Dorgon became the regent making decisions for Shun Zhi because the young emperor was a minor. The relationship between the regent and the young emperor was always questioned by historians. After the death of Dorgon, his family was punshished by the emperor and all his titles were taken away. It was believed that Xiao Zhuang married Dorgon after Hong Taiji's death. This probably helped to explain why Dorgon and his brother, Dodo received posthumous punishments.

Empress Dowager Xiao Zhuang played an excellent role for her son. She never interferred her son's decisions unlike Empress Dowager Ci Xi who kept Emperor Guang Xu under house arrest. Xiao Zhuang kept a low profile during her son's reign. Her relationship with her son was always questioned by historians. The demotion of Shun Zhi's first empress who was Xiao Zhuang's nice gave an insight to the mother-son relationship.

Unfortunately, her son died at the age of 24 and his successor was only 8 years old. The new emperor was Kang Xi. Xiao Zhuang was summoned back into the politics of the Qing dynasty. She asked the four appointed regents, Oboi, Sonim, Suksaha and Ebilun to assist her grandson and advised her grandson to learn from his ministers since they were most experienced and had been assisting the late emperor during his reign.

Xiao Zhuang took charge of Kang Xi's upbringing after the death of his mother. When Oboi was posing a threat to Kang Xi's rule, she helped the young emperor to get rid of Oboi. She was never selfish unlike the Empress Dowager Ci Xi.

She rejected the pleasure of the palace probably due to her upbringing in Mongolia. She refused to have her birthday celebrated knowing that it would be costly.

Grand Empress Dowager Xiao Zhuang died in 1688.