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Published on Oct 8, 2009
Formally Empress Xiao Ke Min she is better known as Empress Wan Rong (or Wan Jung) or Empress Elizabeth, the last Empress of China. Born in 1906 she was married to the last Emperor, Xuantong (aka "Henry" PuYi) in 1922 when the Emperor turned 16. Educated at an American missionary school it was her modernity that most attracted the Emperor. She was famous for her beauty but after the Emperor was expelled from the Forbidden City and particularly after the move to Manchuria her condition went downhill quickly. She was against the Manchukuo enterprise, suspicious of the Japanese (and thus heavily scrutinized by them) she grew more and more addicted to opium, eventually becoming a wreck. At the end of World War II she was arrested by the Reds and died in prison in 1946 from starvation and drug withdrawal.