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Princess Hexiao and Fengshen Yinde

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

Fengshen Yinde (1775-1810)

Fengshen Yinde was the eldest son of powerful Qing minister Heshen (1750-1799), of the Niohuru clan, who was favored by Emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-1795). His name, which in Manchu literally means "good luck to him", was chosen by the Emperor. In 1789, the 15-year-old Fengshen Yinde married Emperor Qianlong's youngest daughter Princess Hexiao. In 1790, he was appointed as an official of the guard of the imperial palace and the emperor. In 1794, he was promoted to guard commander. In 1795, he was appointed as an official of internal affairs. In 1797, he was appointed commander of the Han army and supervisor of the tax affairs of Chongwenmen.

After Heshen was dismissed and sent to prison, Fengshen Yinde was put under house arrest and removed from the ranks of the nobility. After that, Fengshen Yinde became downhearted and wrote and recited poems and practiced martial arts every day at home. 

In 1803, an official named Kuifu was dismissed and he suspected that Fengshen Yinde did something to lead to this. Kuifu reported to the Imperial Household Department and declared that Fengshen Yinde practiced martial arts and wanted to kill the Princess Hexiao. Later, it was ascertained that Fengshen Yinde was framed by Kuifu, but he was still condemned by Emperor Jiaqing (r. 1796-1820). Fengshen Yinde felt frustrated and began to take an interest in Taoism and to contact Taoist priests. 

In 1806, Fengshen Yinde was awarded the title of first-class guard, promoted to deputy commander-in-chief because of his good marital relationship with Princess Hexiao. In May 1810, Fengshen Yinde died at 36. He and Princess Hexiao had two daughters. 

Princess Hexiao (1775-1823)

Princess Hexiao was the youngest daughter of Emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-1795) who treasured the princess as the apple of his eye. Going against tradition, he elevated Hexiao from the status of a Heshuo Princess (the rank usually accorded to a princess born to a concubine) to a Kurun Princess (the rank of a princess born to the empress). Therefore, Hexiao was known as Kurun Princess Hexiao. In 1789, the 15-year-old Princess Hexiao married Heshen's first son Fengshen Yinde. The princess was very dissatisfied with Heshen's greed and she persuaded Fengshen Yinde not to behave as arrogantly and violently as his father. After Heshen was executed, Fengshen Yinde still kept his noble title for the sake of Kurun Princess Hexiao. In September 1823, Princess Hexiao died at 49. 

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