Emperor Qianfei of Liu Song - Background


Liu Ziye was born in 449, when his father Liu Jun was still the Prince of Wuling under his grandfather Emperor Wen. His mother Princess Wang Xianyuan was Liu Jun's wife. While his father was rotated through several provincial governorships, Liu Ziye remained at the capital Jiankang, and was imprisoned by his uncle Liu Shao after Liu Shao assassinated Emperor Wen and assumed the throne himself in 453 and Liu Jun rose to oppose him. Liu Shao considered executing Liu Ziye but did not do so. After Liu Jun defeated and killed Liu Shao later that year and took the throne as Emperor Xiaowu, Liu Ziye was rescued out of captivity, and in 454 was created crown prince.

In 456, Emperor Xiaowu married He Lingwan (何令婉), the daughter of his official He Yu (何瑀), to Liu Ziye as crown princess. In 458, Emperor Xiaowu set up a household for Crown Prince Ziye, at a separate palace as was customary for crown princes. In 460, he gave a public reading of the Xiao Jing, and in 463 he assumed adult clothing. During his years as a crown prince, he was said to be constantly making mistakes and often drew rebukes from Emperor Xiaowu, causing him to be resentful to both Emperor Xiaowu and his younger brother Liu Ziluan (劉子鸞) the Prince of Xin'an, whom Emperor Xiaowu at times considered replacing Liu Ziye with. However, the official Yuan Yi (袁顗) praised him for his studiousness, and this stopped Emperor Xiaowu from the idea of replacing Liu Ziye with Liu Ziluan. In 461, Crown Princess He died.

In 464, Emperor Xiaowu died, and Liu Ziye took the throne as Emperor Qianfei. When the official Cai Xingzong (蔡興宗) offered the imperial seal to him, he did so with an arrogant and careless attitude, without any expression of sadness, and Cai commented to others that this was a bad sign for his reign. He honored his grandmother Empress Dowager Lu as grand empress dowager, and his mother Empress Wang as empress dowager. He also posthumously honored Crown Princess He as an empress.

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