This story is in the SCMP today. The story of the Empress Dowager is a long and complicated one and had a major effect on Chinese history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading up to China's Last Emperor Puyi, who was selected by Cixi on her deathbed. Rather than try to summarize it, I'll just try to point out some interesting points, and leave the article for you to read, if you're interested.
A dowager is defined as "a widow holding property or a title from her deceased husband". In particular, an Empress Dowager is one who has retained the power behind the throne, while her infant son is ruling as a figurehead Emperor. As in the case of Cixi, they are sometimes able to retain power for much longer, including controlling the rules of succession to the throne.
The woman who ‘ruled’ China: what you didn’t know about Empress Dowager Cixi
The former concubine, who effectively controlled country during late Qing dynasty for nearly five decades, still divides opinion 109 years after her death
So, what was Cixi’s privileged life within the walls of Beijing’s Forbidden City really like?To mark the anniversary of her death, aged 72, we take a peek into her private world by looking at photographs, lavish robes and other belongings, and examine some of the stories about her life, including the demolition and reconstruction of a tomb featuring a lavish series complex of temples and pavilions – 12 years before her eventual death – as her fitting resting place.Cixi was a fashionista Cixi had her own exclusive railway in the royal park
Cixi ensured her dogs were served by their own eunuchs
Cixi was laid to rest with jewellery and other luxury items worth 1.2 million taels of silver