Zhang, from Henan, was intelligent, capable and honest. Having lost his mother in early childhood, Emperor Xizong Zhu Youxiao was brought up by his wet nurse Ke. When Emperor Xizong grew up, he had adultery with Ke. Ke ganged up with the eunuch Wei Zhongxian and they created confusion in state affairs. Some courtiers suggested setting up an empress soon, so as to eliminate Ke’s influence. In the sixth year of Tianqi, Zhang was set up as empress. Zhang often offered her advice to Emperor Xizong, pointing out that Ke and Wei were engaged in illegal activities. Ke and Wei framed against Zhang. When Empress Zhang was pregnant, Ke and Wei sent a trusted follower to massage her back and hurt the fetus in secret, which led to an abortion. In 1627, Emperor Xizong died. Empress Zhang supported Zhu Youjian to be Emperor Sizong. After he mounted the throne, Emperor Sizong eliminated Wei and his gang. Wei Zhongxian committed suicide and Ke was flogged to death. In 1644, when Li Zicheng fought into Beijing, Empress Zhang hanged herself.