What happened to the Royal Family of Korea?

Way before the war between North and South Korea, Korea was was once a united nation in Joseon. They had Kings, Queens, and the Royal Family. But where are they now? Let’s trace the history to follow the story of Korea’s Royal family.

Emperor Gwangmu (Gojong)

Gojong was the last king of Joseon until 1897. He also proclaimed the Korean Empire and became the first emperor.

Emperor Yunghui (Sunjong)

Gojong had 13 children but only 4 lived. His son, Yunghui, was the crown prince and became the second and the last Emperor of Korea in 1907 until 1910

Prince Uihwa (Yikang)

Yikang was also the son of Gojong. He was an officer of the Korean imperial military. His family line is the only remaining bloodline as of today.

King Yeong chin (Yi eun)

Gwangmu’s youngest surviving son, Yi Eun, became the last crown prince and was forced to marry a Japanese Princess. The world war II ended in his time but he lost his noble status and became poor. His wife, Princess Masko changed her name to Yi BangJa. They had 2 sons Yi Jin & Yi Gu. Yi Jin died early.


Yi Gu was a Korean prince who was head of the Imperial House from 1970 until 2005. He married Julia Mullock, but had no children. His death in 2005 served as a reminder that Korea in fact had a royal family.

Surviving royal family

The royal members didn’t have a good life. Others died early, and some were deported to another country. This means that the only surviving royal family in Korea are the descendants of Yikang. He had 12 sons and 9 daughters from 13 different women.


After Yi Gu passed away, the Jeonju Yi lineage society established the son of Yikang’s ninth son to be the crown prince. His name is Yiwon.

Yi Haewon

Yi Haewon was enthroned as the “Empress of Korea” in 2006 by the Korean Imperial Family Association. She is the second daughter of Yikang

Yi Seok

Prince Yi Seok is the head of the House of Yi, the Korean imperial household. He is known for being the “singing prince”. He is also the son of Yikang.

Andrew Lee

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Prince Yi Seok, named Crown Prince Andrew Lee as his successor on Oct. 6, 2018. Lee is a Korean-American. The Passing of the Sword ceremony took place in California, in the presence of his wife, Princess Nana Lee, his family, and Yi Seok’s family and friends.

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