When Emperor Puyi ascended to the Chinese throne in 1908 his life of luxury seemed assured. But history, it seems, has a way of changing even the best laid plans. Within four years, the country had become a republic and the emperor found himself out of a job.
Born into the Qing dynasty, the son of Prince Chun became ruler rather unexpectedly. As a member of China’s royal family, Puyi would undoubtedly have lived a luxurious life under any circumstances. But when he was a toddler, a decision was made that changed his life forever.
Three months shy of Puyi’s third birthday, in November 1908 a royal contingent entered his family’s home. Consisting of guards and servants, they informed Puyi’s father, Prince Chun, that his son was to become the Chinese Emperor. And with that, they took Puyi away.