THE BOXER UPRISING 1900
At the beginning of the twentieth century it was an historic quirk that more than half the world’s population was ruled by two women, Queen-Empress Victoria of the United Kingdom and Dowager Empress Tz’u-Hsi of China. Victoria’s empire was slightly the larger, with 400 million subjects compared with Tz’u-Hsi’s 350 million.
The two women had never met or corresponded, although Victoria had once sent a personal plea to Tz’uHsi through diplomatic channels to spare the life of a Chinese diplomat who had offended the Dragon Throne and been sentenced to death by beheading. As a measure of her admiration for her English counterpart, Tz’u-Hsi had granted the man a reprieve.1 Furthermore, it was said that she kept Victoria’s portrait in her quarters at the Winter Palace.