In 1762, a sinister event occurred in the grounds of Changgyeonggung, one whose story is, for some reason, omitted from the information boards that dot the palace grounds – a royal murder. A young prince named Sado was heir to the throne of King Yeongjo, but had been born mentally ill, with a rather unfortunate habit of killing people unnecessarily. Fearing dire consequences if the nation’s power were placed into his son’s hands, Yeongjo escorted Sado to Seonninmun, a gate on the eastern side of the palace, and ordered him to climb into a rice casket; his son obeyed, was locked in, and starved to death. Sado’s wife, Hyegyong, held the secret until after Yeongjo’s death in 1776, at which point she spilled the beans in a book, Hanjungnok (published in English as The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong). Sado’s son Jeongjo became king on the death of Yeongjo, and built Hwaseong fortress in Suwon to house his father’s remains. Jeongjo went on to become one of Korea’s most respected rulers.

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South Korea features

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