by Bloom C, January 27, 2021

Disclaimer: This article is subjective based on my own perspective. 

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers.


Previously I discussed how throughout the years I have always reflected on the similarities between Jang Ok Jung and Anne Boleyn, the love of persuasion they had on their husband, and the misfortunes of their predecessors. That article focused specifically on the similarities between King Suk Jong and Henry VIII and therefore this one will focus on their wives before the Femme Fatales, Joseon's Queen In Hyeon, and Catherine of Aragon. The two women cast out to make room for a male heir for their nations.

Queen In Hyeon

King Suk Jong’s first wife Queen In Gyeong died at an early age and had 2 daughters with him. Queen In Hyeon became his second wife, and the Queen Consort was of nobility from a reputable family from the westerners' faction (Norons). She was a popular queen with a reputation of grace and virtue, loved by the people. Her one flaw became her biggest and that was her inability to provide the King with an heir. When the king began to fall deeply for his beautiful concubine, she was removed from the palace by the influence of the queen’s faction since she threatened the Queen Consort.

Queen In Hyeon selflessly allowed the return of the concubine to the palace and lady Jang proceeded to give the king his long-awaited son. Shortly after, he deposed the Queen Consort and exiled her as a commoner. The king came to regret his actions a few years following, with the persuasion of the remaining southern faction campaigning in the deposed Queen’s favor. He re-installed her as queen and demoted Jang back to lady consort. Queen In Hyeon died suddenly, shortly after her return to the palace and before bearing any sons.

Analyzing Hong Soo Hyun’s Queen In Hyeon in Jang Ok Jung

Just as Jang Ok Jung’s Suk Jong is my favorite portrayal of the King, so is the portrayal of Queen In Hyeon by Hong Soo Hyun. In history, she was depicted as a pitiful victim, but in the show, she has some claws and will fight if she needs to protect herself and her position. She is very kind albeit very proud and condescending but just as we can expect a King to be arrogant we can do the same for members of the nobility. She recognizes that her duty as Queen is to keep harmony in the royal family and to put those who don't abide by the rules in their place.

JOJ’s In Hyeon, while jealous of Lady Jang, only clashes with her, mostly as a result of outside influences and the fact that Lady Jang bends the rules. Just as documented in real life, she is actually kind and forgiving, but that is overshadowed by her arrogance.

In the show, the biggest obstacle in her relationship with the King is her greedy, corrupted and unbearably proud father who seeks to make the royal family his puppet. In Hyeon as a filial daughter knows this very well and still tries to do her best as Queen. She allows Lady Jang back in the palace, after she had been kicked out and allows her son to be installed as the Crown Prince. Such actions showcase strength to me, not a weakness to be pitied.

Queen Catherine of Aragon

Henry’s first wife Catherine of Aragon was also of nobility, princess of the mega-rich nation of Spain and the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon (both mom and dad ruled 2 different nations). Catherine was arranged to marry his brother Arthur, Crown Prince of England, but he passed about 4 months after. She married his brother Henry and was revered and loved for her virtue, wisdom and strength by the people. While she gave birth to a daughter Mary, she, however, failed to provide Henry with a male heir, who then turned his affections to Anne Boleyn. Having fallen madly in love and desperate for an heir, Henry left the Catholic Church and annulled Catherine, while cast her out as a commoner and removed her daughter Mary from the line of succession. Catherine died of cancer refusing to acknowledge the annulment.

Analyzing Maria Doyle Kennedy’s Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors

Personally, I love the Spanish Princess’s depiction of Catherine of Aragon, however, The Tudor's version is the one most similar to Queen In Hyeon. As a member of royalty and nobility, Catherine is also very proud although not condescending. She is a very religious woman and a loving mother who is loved by the people of England. Like Queen In Hyeon in JOJ, Catherine in The Tudors has very powerful allies in her family, to the King’s dismay.

As a devoted Catholic, she behaved with grace and differed a lot from her successor, Anne Boleyn, another similarity shared in JOJ. The two are humiliated in the palace by their husband's philandering and flirting with the palace maids right in their faces.

Catherine is not at all welcoming to Anne and refuses to acknowledge her as the new Queen, as she held onto the belief her marriage to Henry is legal, and thus cannot be annulled. She is much more mistreated by Henry than Queen In Hyeon is by Suk Jong, at least the latter restored his wife’s position as Queen and allowed her to die with dignity.


Hwang, K. M. (n.d.). A History of Korea. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yi, P. (2008). Women in Korean History. South Korea: Ewha Womans University Press.

Edited by: Cookie (1st editor), KimWanHee (2nd editor)