The King’s Wife Y Lan
The King’s Wife Y Lan had her real name Le Thi Yen; she was born on March 7th, 1044 in Tho Loi, now is Nhu Quynh Town, Van Lam District, Hung Yen Province. Her father is Le Cong Thiet, and her mother is Vu Thi Tinh. Her family had a job of farming, planting mulberry and raising silkworms.
In 1063, the emperor Ly Thanh Tong passed the Tho Loi village where he saw a girl of commoner origin leaning on an orchid tree (Vietnamese: y lan) and paid no curiosity to the escort of the emperor like others, afterwards Ly Thanh Tong decided to choose the girl as his concubine with the title Lady Y Lan.
In 1066, Lady Y Lan gave birth to Ly Can Duc, the first child of King Ly Thanh Tong. Right after the birth, Ly Can Duc was entitled crown prince of the Ly Dynasty while Lady Y Lan was granted the title Imperial Concubine (Nguyên phi or Thần phi).
In the second month of 1069, Ly Thanh Tong personally led a military campaign against the kingdom of Champa and left the regentship for Y Lan. After an unsuccessful period of attack, the emperor wanted to abandon the campaign but in hearing the stability of the country under the regency of the imperial concubine, he continued to carry on his campaign. Finally, he was able to capture the king of Champa and fifty thousand people of Champa. During that time, Y Lan accomplished her regentship by bringing the harmony to Đại Việt people and propagating Buddhism in the country.
In the first month of 1072, Lý Thánh Tông died and was succeeded by the crown prince Ly Can Duc. Because the new emperor was only six years old, Y Lan was in the position of regent for the emperor. During her second regentship, Y Lan continued to prove her ability in successfully ruling the country together with the chancellor Ly Dao Thanh and the commander-in-chief Ly Thuong Kiet.
Under the direction of Y Lan, the people and army of Dai Viet defeated Tong invaders in 1076, successfully defending the independence of the country. The State in Ly Nhan Tong’s reign was respected by big states and admired by small ones. The country was in peace and people lived in comfort.
In terms of internal affairs management, Y Lan issued progressive policies allowing redemption of slave-servants, freeing imperial maids, reducing taxes and banning the slaughter of buffalos and oxen. Admiring Buddhism, she built hundreds of pagodas and had a deep understanding of Buddhism.
Y Lan died on July 25th, 1117. Many temples and pagodas for worshipping her have been built in her native land and other places. Hung Yen now has two temples: Ghenh temple in Nhu Quynh commune and Huong Lang pagoda in Minh Hai commune of Van Lam district, not to mention to some big temples in Gia Lam district of Hanoi.