Wanrong, the Love Elegy of the last empress of China: we fought against the old world together, but fell to pieces when the new world came

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The life of Wanrong, the last empress of China, and Puyi, the husband of the last emperor, may be a story of getting to know each other because of “freedom”, but they are getting farther and farther because of “freedom”.

Interestingly, compared with the great figures of the Republic of China at the same time, the romance between Wanrong and Puyi has a more modern flavor of love. Although they got to know each other in the traditional marriage process, their interests were almost the same. In their early years, they chose to challenge the old order, hoping to work together to open the heavily imprisoned Forbidden City. And they have really achieved great success. They can even drive Cadillacs around the streets of Beijing. This is something that emperor Tongzhi and Emperor Guangxu dare not even think of.

In such a large but suffocating palace, only you know the strange me, and only I know the strange you. How can this love between the two gods and the immortal couple end up bad ending?


The emperor must learn from her! The Empress’s Romance Begins with “Teaching You to Eat Western Food”

Due to the influence of Qing palace dramas, when we think of the queens of the Qing Empire, women with arrogant temperaments and rotten traditions always come to mind. Maybe the previous queens have some such shadows, but when it comes to Wanrong’s generation, it is true. Not like this.

Who is Wanrong? Her father, Rong Yuan, was an official of the Ministry of War, and her biological mother, Aixinjueluo, was a descendant of the royal family, known as “Si Ge Ge”. Rongyuan’s official career is not large, he has only served as a business officer for Beiyang inspections, and as a supervisor of the emperor’s mausoleum. However, because the content of his work is very practical, and he needs to deal with foreigners, Rongyuan has long understood the need to open up Western ideas and learn from the West.

Rong Yuan was one of the first in China to advocate equality between men and women, believing that girls should receive the same education as boys. Therefore, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Rong Yuan took Wanrong to an American mission school and hired an English teacher and a painting and calligraphy teacher for her tutoring. Wanrong soon learned to speak fluent English and listened to jazz music and played the piano in her spare time. , the days are happy and Western.

Until 1922, Wanrong grew up to be an 18-year-old woman over the counter. In addition to her beautiful appearance, she was omnipotent in piano, chess, poetry and painting, combining traditional virtues and Western ideas. She was well-known among noble women early on. In the private meeting between the Qing emperors, it seemed even more unique.

Wanrong’s name was not unexpectedly spread into the deep palace of the Forbidden City.

Wanrong, the love song of the last empress of China: We once fought the old world together, but we fell to pieces when the new world came

Wanrong, a girl who is reading
At that time, the 16-year-old Puyi had reached the age of marriage. According to the tradition of the Qing Dynasty, it was time to hold a big wedding. After consultation with the ministers and concubines in the palace, they began to handle the post-election matters. The conditions for selection must be the daughters of the Mongolian princes or the old officials of Manchu and Mongolia. Although the monarchy had long since ended and Puyi had no real power, after all, he did indeed sit on the throne, and there were still long queues of the royal family members who responded to the call for relatives. The accumulated photos could almost be bound into books. The source sent to the Forbidden City. After several reviews, only a few were left, and Wanrong was one of them.

After Puyi got the photos, he didn’t choose Wanrong at first; in his opinion, the women in several photos were all the same, and he didn’t think much about it at all. Puyi originally wanted to choose Wenxiu, the daughter of another nobleman, as his empress, but at that time Wanrong’s family was wealthy and Wenxiu’s family gradually declined. In the end, he chose Wanrong to be the queen under the instructions of his mother, Concubine Duankang.

Wanrong, the love song of the last empress of China: We once fought the old world together, but we fell to pieces when the new world came

In 1922, Puyi and Wanrong got married.
Wanrong, the love song of the last empress of China: We once fought the old world together, but we fell to pieces when the new world came

Wanrong on the big day
In 1922, Puyi got married, and Wanrong became the last queen of the Qing Dynasty. As for Wenxiu, who was also selected by Puyi, although she could not be a queen, she became a concubine. What’s interesting is that Puyi didn’t take Wanrong to heart during the wedding night. He seemed to be more concerned about a set of crystal furniture ordered from Shanghai Hengdali Watch Store a few days ago. The furniture was displayed in his bedroom. Therefore, after the ceremony of drinking a glass of wine and eating longevity noodles, Puyi ran back to his room to admire the furniture.

Regarding this dark history in the early years, Puyi himself recalled 40 years later: “How did Wanrong feel when she was left alone in Kunning Palace? What was Wenxiu, who was under 14 years old, thinking? I didn’t even think about it. ”

However, Puyi’s personality, who doesn’t look at his face and likes to be alone, gradually changed after getting to know Wanrong.

Why? Because Wanrong is more Western than the German crystal furniture he was thinking of, but also more fashionable.

In the old-fashioned court life, Wanrong and Puyi have a common language: they are both tired of the same life, and they both hope to break the status quo and escape from the narrow reality. And Wanrong’s Western-style education is very real, making Puyi, who advocates Westernization, as an example.

Wanrong, the love song of the last empress of China: We once fought the old world together, but we fell to pieces when the new world came
Wearing a eunuch hat on her head, Wanrong is playing happily. The laughter in the palace may be the happiest memory of the couple.
For example, the couple talked about the topic of “Western food” when they were chatting. Wanrong said that she was educated in Tianjin, and she was very good at the rules of Western food. When she asked Puyi if he had eaten Western food, Puyi replied not once. The two immediately called the eunuch to the Six Kingdoms Hotel to pack a large set of western food and bring it back to the palace. The large bowls and plates were filled with a large table, and the dishes were surprisingly abundant:

“Just as she was about to raise the chopsticks (chopsticks) to eat, Wanrong seemed surprised when she saw it, and she burst out laughing and said, ‘It’s too old to eat like this, so everyone should eat it on a plate! ?So, from the time of serving the soup, to how to use the knife and fork, etc., I made a very vivid technical explanation, and made a very confident practical demonstration. Of course, I feel that I am bound by this technical problem. It was awkward, but since that time, I have realized the mystery of it one by one, and learned the full set of skills of eating Western food.”

It was Wanrong who taught Puyi, who didn’t even know how to use a knife and fork, to the point of liking western food. It can be said that Puyi is full of admiration for this “sister” who is two or three years older than him.

Us Against the World, the queen joins hands against the old world

Wanrong and Puyi walked into each other’s world like this.

In order to help Wanrong get rid of the loneliness of living in the Forbidden City, Puyi hired two blond and blue-eyed foreign teachers to continue to teach Wanrong English and explain the humanities and history around the world. After Wanrong learned to a certain extent, she began to write text messages to Puyi in English, and Puyi also replied in English. Their daily pleasure is to stay in the same room, separated by a thin screen (sometimes there is no screen at all), without saying a word, racking their brains on the white paper in front of the table. The content of this letter is of course some sweet talk or trivial life chores. When Wanrong wrote a letter to Puyi, she always used the “Elizabeth” that Puyi took for her. Of course, the eunuch and other palace maids did not I don’t understand what they are doing, I just feel that the two of them are not normal, so strange.

Wanrong, the love song of the last empress of China: We once fought the old world together, but we fell to pieces when the new world came

A group photo of Wanrong with missionary Johnston and foreign teacher Ingram, who are the few foreigners who can freely enter and exit the Forbidden City.
Seeing the angry looks of the old eunuchs, the two snickered.

After the marriage, Wanrong was in full bloom. She gave all her love to Puyi, and Puyi did the same. Puyi once prepared a pair of wedding rings for Wanrong, imitating the Western marriage culture, and instructed the master to engrave “I love you, don’t forget me” in English (I love you forget me not) on the inner wall of the ring. Now this naughty child has learned how to create romance.

It is said that once, Puyi’s brother-in-law Runqi got a bicycle out of nowhere and rode the bicycle into the Forbidden City. Puyi was so happy when she saw the bicycle. She rode it around the palace all day, and it was a lot of fun. Wanrong already knew how to ride when she was studying in church. She also wanted to revisit it, but there was only one bicycle. What can I do next? So Puyi ordered the Ministry of Internal Affairs to buy more than 20 bicycles from Britain, Germany and France, and built a garage in the Imperial Garden to store the couple’s treasures. The couple then rode their bikes around again, and photos of them riding their bikes are preserved to this day.


Even the bicycle, which seems simple nowadays, is a very novel entertainment for the couple when they were in the palace.


In 1929, Wanrong took a group photo with her younger brother runqi, who was running around to restore her sister’s reputation until her later years.

There is a kind of romance called Puyi: when a lover wants to ride a bicycle, he buys a bicycle in the garage for her, which can be described as the hegemonic president of the Republic of China.

After the revolution of 1911, the gate of the Forbidden City was still closed. The couple’s biggest dream was to step over the thick red walls and explore the outside world. One day Puyi came up with a wonderful idea, that is, he knew many former Qing officials. At this time, they retired and enjoyed their destiny at home. They are already old and will soon die. In the name of visiting old officials, Puyi often wandered outside the Forbidden City in expensive Cadillac cars, and tried to expand the scope of his visit step by step. He went farther and farther.

On one occasion, Puyi and Wanrong suddenly tried their best to urge the driver to speed up on their way to and from the Forbidden City. The driver dared not disobey the order and finally drove at a speed of more than 6 or 70 kilometers per hour, which seemed quite crazy at that time. The accompanying minister was so scared that he closed his eyes and shouted, “Amitabha! There is no Buddha in the South”. However, the young couple were very excited. They put their faces in front of the window and looked at the passing scenery. They were very happy.

At that time, they always talked and laughed together.

Wanrong hopes to take Puyi to fight the whole world: as long as the two of us are still here, the Forbidden City will not remain unchanged, and the wheel of history will continue to turn! In their spare time, they read newspapers, hoping to understand the big and small events outside the palace. Puyi saw the tide of the new culture movement, and he wrote several new poems and contributed them to literary journals outside; Wanrong, on the other hand, saw that there were still poor people everywhere in Beijing, and donated Dayang 600 yuan to the “temporary Wowotou society” in Beijing to relieve the victims.

It doesn’t matter if you are kicked out of the palace, the noble lady in Tianjin lives more freely

Puyi and Wanrong joined hands to fight against the old world for two years, and finally ushered in a turning point. At the end of 1924, the warlord fengyuxiang arbitrarily revised the regulations on preferential treatment of the Qing Dynasty, and did not intend to let Puyi continue to be a cheap emperor. The general team drove into the Forbidden City. Puyi had to fly away with Wanrong, Wenxiu and several boxes of gold and silver treasures from the Forbidden City. He lived in the Japanese concession in Tianjin for seven years.


Early Shu Fei’s literary embroidery. The relationship between Wenxiu and Wanrong was not bad. However, as the two were no longer young, Wenxiu and Puyi and Wanrong also gradually moved away, which eventually led to the “sword concubine revolution” in which the concubines retired the emperor.

Although she lost her reputation and status, Wanrong didn’t seem very sad; Now she can finally wander around like an ordinary person. Zhang Yuan, where they live, is located in the bustling concession area of Tianjin. Nearby are busy department stores and amusement parks. After leaving the palace, Wanrong permed her foreign style curly hair and put on a waist – closing cheongsam and high heels, just like a modern young woman. In addition, she likes to go to huiluo department store in the concession to buy foreign high-end goods, eat in the German western restaurant qishilin, and watch horse racing in the British country club. No matter it’s interesting or boring, as long as it’s famous, she has to visit it in person.

In the diary of Peihe, Puyi’s second younger sister, she accompanied the emperor and empress in shopping:

“While shopping in Zhengchang (West Point store), I joked with Wanrong and others. I held a vase and asked them,” what do you think this is? ” I didn’t expect the vase to be stable, so I heard a bang. The vase fell on the glass cabinet. I blushed and laughed. ”

The bottle is broken? It doesn’t matter. We’ll still take it easy if we lose some money. This is the simple life of a lady.


Wanrong, who smoked beside Puyi in Tianjin. After leaving the Forbidden City, they had a free time.

In those days, Puyi, Wanrong and Wenxiu often went for a drive by car, went for a walk, went shopping and ate Western food in the Central Park, and bought whatever they liked along the way. As Puyi recalled, “Wanrong was originally a young lady from Tianjin. She spent more money on waste than I did. She had to buy something for Wenxiu. When I bought it for Wenxiu, Wanrong had to buy it again, and spent more money. It seems that this is not enough to show the Queen’s identity.”

At the peak of Wanrong’s “online beauty life”, her every move became the vane of the social circle of the upper class in Tianjin at that time – unfortunately, the romantic and free life between Puyi and Wanrong also had a shelf life.

She wants to be free, he wants to return to the country, the beginning of the couple’s drifting apart

Originally Wanrong thought that after leaving the Forbidden City, Puyi and himself could finally live a happy life, and the ending of the fairy tale was just like this. Unexpectedly, the seven years in Tianjin were the beginning of their gradual separation: Wanrong was always the Wanrong who loved freedom, dreams and fashion, but Puyi changed.

Should we say that “we will eventually become the most annoying people in our childhood”? Puyi is still trapped in the royal blood. After fengyuxiang expelled them from the palace, Puyi also enjoyed a leisurely life in Tianjin for a short time. But when he looked back, he found that although the former palace had tortured him, it was also an asset that the ancestors of previous dynasties tried to guard; Now, these assets are lost in his hands, and he can’t bear such great psychological pressure. In 1928, some small warlords even looted the tombs of Emperor Qianlong and Empress Dowager Cixi. The famous case of tomb theft in the Qing palace in history made Puyi even more angry – he finally chose to abandon freedom and go to bondage, hoping to rely on the support of the Japanese to re-establish the foundation of his ancestors in Northeast China.

At this time, Puyi could no longer get strength from Wanrong. Later, he confessed, “I don’t know what love is.” Although he and Wanrong had a good time, in Puyi’s eyes, Wanrong may be more like a kind of feather to decorate himself or a playmate to accompany him. They gradually became a couple with different dreams.

Wanrong was depressed by her loneliness and indifference. She often wrote some love letters to Puyi, hoping that her husband would love her again, have a child together and live a happy and ordinary life. However, the correspondence between Wanrong and Puyi is no longer as intense and frequent as in the Forbidden City period, but more like Wanrong’s one-way ticket:

If my dear can really love my concubine and have her shadow and voice in her heart from time to time, my concubine will feel very comforted. When my concubine was ill, if it hadn’t been for my dear care, I’m afraid she would have been under the nine springs. My concubine had already remembered this situation and thought of it very much. I feel grateful and cry at midnight.

At twelve and a half on the night of March 13, I can’t sleep. I write this book to comfort my love.

Wanrong was unable to sleep at night, and her mental state became more and more unstable. She could only rely on opium to resolve her worries. She was deeply distressed by Puyi’s “ideological restoration”: Puyi was no longer her Puyi. He became the Puyi of Aixinjueluo.

The End of the Last Empress: Manchu Dreams and the Rest of Opium

Later stories are familiar to readers. With the assistance and planning of the Japanese Empire, Puyi secretly left Tianjin alone and fled to the northeast. Later, Wanrong also went to the northeast to reunite with Puyi. At this time, Wanrong also had fantasies about Puyi. She hoped that her husband would follow her. She also hoped that her husband would change his mind and continue to invest his love and care in her after completing his dream.

Wanrong became the queen again. This time, she was the queen of Manchuria. However, soon after living in the luxurious “Manchukuo emperor palace”, Wanrong soon found that the Japanese did not really want to help Puyi recover, but just regarded them as puppets and used them to rationalize their rule over Northeast China; The two became political playthings of the Japanese Empire. They could only act according to the will of others. They even had to go through layers of review when they went out.



Wanrong, who became the queen again, has actually lost all her chips in life. ?Source:wikipedia?public domain?

Puyi chose to be patient and insisted on staying in the northeast. Wanrong showed a strong side at this time: she planned to escape twice, but failed in the end. The Japanese are also gradually aware of her heresy. She is more and more guarded. She has no way out. In despair, she can only use opium all day to paralyze herself. She has become a psychotic drug addict in the eyes of others. Soon after the Sino Japanese War, she died of the side effects of opium withdrawal. She was only 39 years old when she died.

How to evaluate Wanrong’s life? Wanrong has many similarities with us who live in modern times. She loves fashion and pursues freedom. She is amazingly advanced. It was a pity that the times pushed her to the forefront of the storm. She had to be pushed forward by the unpredictable current situation. Finally, she separated from Puyi and went to a dead end of life.

She could have been distinguished and gorgeous forever, but the political disturbance drove her out of the palace.

She believed that she could fly with Puyi forever, but Puyi’s half hearted attitude forced Wanrong to face the cold reality.

She thought she could live freely in the rented area, but the corruption of the national government and the ambition of her husband and the Japanese made her displaced again.

Finally, she realized that what she wanted most was perhaps freedom, a treasure more precious than feudal dignity and ethics, and the original intention she had promised when she met Puyi. Unfortunately, it was too late. She lost all her chips and became addicted to opium; In the end, all she faced was the cold cell after being captured by the Communist guerrillas.

That’s right. From the moment she entered the palace, the word “Queen” was doomed to Wanrong’s life. It was doomed that she could not get the happiness of ordinary people. As for her historical evaluation, wangqingxiang, a historical scholar who is famous for studying Puyi, said that perhaps the most appropriate:

“ She is an innocent and unfortunate woman, a victim of feudal morality, like many unfortunate women who have been eaten by demons in previous dynasties. History will never erase her name, regardless of past, present and future&# 8221;

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