Borjigit, Empress of Huang Taiji
Borjigit was the mother of Emperor Shunzhi and the grandmother of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1722) during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in China. She wielded significant influence over the Qing court during the rule of her son and grandson.
She was born in 1613 and married Emperor Huang Taiji at the age of 13. Fu Lin, one of her four sons, ascended the throne in 1643 after Huang Taiji passed away. He was called Emperor Shunzhi (1644-1661) and thus Borjigit became the empress, called Xiaozhuang. She devoted herself to bringing up Shunzhi and maintaining his position and the great undertaking of the Qing Dynasty. However, her thoughts and opinions often collided with Shunzhi who enjoyed Han culture.
Before Shunzhi ascended the throne, Borjigit had to make concessions to Dorgon, the younger brother of Huang Taiji, because of his great power. After entering Beijing, Shunzhi began to put Han talents in a very important position and reform the former rules of the Man minority, which caused great offence from the court. Borjigit didn't agree with her son's actions either. But after ten years of her son's death, when she went to the Mausoleum of Emperor Shunzhi with her grandson Kangxi, she began to realize that Shunzhi was more forward-looking and wise on a series of important problems about the Manchu-Chinese relationship. Thus the mother and her son reconciled.
In 1661, Emperor Shunzhi passed away and the eight-year-old Kangxi replaced him. From then on, Borjigit took on the task of cultivating the second child emperor. She solved the problem of the four assistant ministers, including Aobai, collectively with Emperor Kangxi and played a vital part in some important affairs such as in the suppression of the Three Military Governors, so she was called "Empress of Prospering the Country in Two Dynasties" respectfully.
Empress Xiaozhuang died of illness at the age of 75 in 1687 and was buried at the Zhaoxi Mausoleum beside the Mausoleum of the Qing Emperor.