Princess Deokhye || 5/6 women, history meme
Very bright and youthful, Princess Deokhye was born in 1912 as the youngest daughter of King Gojong. She was beloved by her beleaguered father and his people, but her life quickly became a prime example of suffering under colonial rule.
In an effort to keep her in Korea, her father tried to betroth her to a member of the Korean court, but soon after the powerless monarch and a number of others in Deokhye’s family (including her mother) died. She was not allowed to observe Korean mourning customs, and was sent to Japan under the guise of continuing her studies. In Japan, the young princess was ostracized and ignored and - in the midst of bouts of severe mental illness - she was forcedly married to Count So Takeyuki, a minor member of Japanese aristocracy.
Scarred by years of solitude and homesickness, Deokhye had trouble adjusting to married life. Soon after giving birth, she was separated from her daughter, Jeong-hye, and hospitalized. In 1945, the liberation came and Japan’s imperial ambitions were shattered. Finally World War II was over, and Deokhye was able to gain a divorce from her husband. But even after ending her unhappy marriage, she still could gain no peace. Her grief exploded with the death of her only daughter, who disappeared leaving only a suicide note behind.
While trapped in mental hospitals for years, Deokhye became a forgotten woman nobody cared for or recognized, all the while yearning for her homeland. At last, in 1962, 37 years after leaving Korea, her childhood fiance, with help of her former lady-in-waiting, travelled to Japan to save her and bring her home, at the request of the Korean government. She cried for days when she arrived in her homeland, and despite her poor mental state and years in exile, she accurately remembered court manners. She lived in Changdeok Palace until she died, but the Korea she remembered was gone forever. Deokhye’s last recorded words were, “I missed my motherland even while I was in my country.” She was the last princess of Joseon.