Tzu Hsi, In 1860 China was in the midst of a national crisis, producing a coup d’état which in turn elevated an insignificant imperial concubine onto the stage as the Empress Dowager. The key was the son she had borne the dying emperor Hsien Feng. With the aid of clever officials and her brother-in-law Prince Kung, Tzu Hsi, as she was known, held onto her position through three regencies. She was pushed and pulled by political factions.
Empress Tzu-An She was declared Co-Empress Dowager with Tzu Hsi and co-mother of Tzu Hsi’s son, the baby Emperor. Although the two Empresses Dowager were supposed to be equal in every way, Tzu-An was powerless. The young Emperor was the object of a tug-of-war between his two “mothers”. Tzu-An’s death at age 44 was a blessing to Tzu Hsi. Empress Tzu-An - Historical Figures of China - by George Stuart