Empress Ma, Empress of Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty

Ma was a virtuous and upright woman, never seeking personal gain. In 52 A.D., she was called into the crown prince Liu Zhuang’s palace. In 57 A.D., when Liu Zhuang succeeded to the throne and became Emperor Ming, he designated Ma as Worthy Lady. In 60 A.D., he set her up as empress. As Empress Ma bore no son, Emperor Ming designated Liu Da, who was born of Jia, as crown prince and had him reared by Empress Ma. When Emperor Ming died, Liu Da succeeded to the throne and became Emperor Zhang. Ma was honored the title of Empress Dowager. When Emperor Zhang designated Ma’s three elder brothers as marquis, Empress Dowager Ma was annoyed. Understanding the disadvantages of indiscriminately making nobles of the imperial in-laws, Empress Dowager Ma advised Emperor Zhang not to do so to make her feel regret. After that, Ma retired home, paying no attention to state affairs any more.