Thursday, February 4, 2010

The world's oldest monarch?

Over at Coming Anarchy, Curzon asks (by way of a pop quiz) who the world's oldest monarch would be.

This probably doesn't count, but I'll throw it out there anyway. In 2008, I wrote about the claimants to the Korean imperial/royal throne, one of whom is Yi Haewon (이해원/李海瑗), who will be ninety-one years old on April 24.

She was enthroned as empress by the Korean Imperial Family Association in 2006 to head the out-of-power Yi Dynasty, after the death of her cousin in 2005. The Korean Imperial Household has not held power officially since the Korean empire was absorbed by the Japanese empire in 1910, and it was not brought back to power after Korea's liberation from Japanese rule.

Empress Yi is the granddaughter of the last king and first emperor of Korea, Emperor Kojong, and a niece of the last emperor of Korea, Emperor Sunjong.

Of course, if you start counting out-of-power monarchs, especially contested ones, Curzon's quiz could get very murky. Still, it's worth at least an asterisk.

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