The story of Queen Genepil is shrouded in mystery even though the tale came to us many decades after her death. The extremely young girl was Queen Consort of Mongolia for less than a year, in 1924, very short period but long enough to gain a spot in the history of her country.

Her daughter Tserenkhand, now very old, reveled in an interview how her mother disappeared out of the blue when she was still a child: “They took her in the night. She did not wake us up, she just left a piece of sugar on top of our pillows. I still remember the joy when I found such a rare delicacy in the morning”.

The VIII Jetsundhampa, Bogd Khan, got married with his first wife, the popular Ekh Dagina, after having madly fallen in love with her and set up the wedding in 1902. The woman ruled with her husband according to the local rules of the time, adopting several poor-born children and having one with her partner. The couple was divided in 1923 with the woman’s death.

Below: Bogd Khan’s painting

Her death hit the man pretty heavily, who wanted to live the rest of his life in solitude. Back them Mongolia was a monarchy only on paper. The country was in fact in the hands of the Soviet Union, but the King still had to keep the appearance in accordance to his count.

Below: painting of the King’s 1st wife Ikh Dagina Dondogdulam

The King Bogd Khan’s counsellors insisted for him to remarry so he eventually accepted. The spouse was selected by the same counsellors and the splendid Genepil was picked up amongst a group of girls between 18 and 20 years old. The girl was coming from a family in Northern Mongolia, around the Baldan Bereeven Monastery. She was already married.

Her previous wedding was hidden especially since Genepil was supposed to be a wife only for show, and she was not supposed to have any governmental role in Mongolia. The girl was taken throughout the night to Palace of Khan where she understood what her destiny would have been like. Bogd Khan was a 53 years old man almost blind, unable to walk and severely ill, and the girl was assured she would have come back home to her first husband soon enough.

Below: picture of Bogd Khan when young

Shortly after the wedding, Genepil did not ask to come back to her husband but requested the chance to have her parents next to her, as it was common a that time; the new husband Bogd Khan agreed without oppositions.

Although they told her that her presence was not necessary at court, the courtiers of Bogd Khan soon enough went to the princess tent asking to come back to Ulan Bator.

Her King and population needed her

Below: picture of Ikh Dagina Dondogdulam

Queen Genepil lived with Bogd Khan until his death which occured on 17th of April 1924, when monarchy was abolished. After having left the Mongolian court she came back to her family and from then we are not sure whether she came back to her husband or not.

After the last Mongolian King, the Soviet Generals were able to keep the country under the Russian power, and started a violent repression towards all the people linked to the old regime. Officially it was declared the Mongolian Popular Republic, but in reality the country was under the military control of the Soviet Union led by Stalin, who had won, for the control of the country, against China.

Due to her ancient condition as Mongolian Queen, in 1937 Genepil was arrested, with her family and executed in 1938 during the Great Purge. Not many pictures are left of this poor girl killed without any guilt.

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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