First Lady of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
조선민주주의인민공화국 영부인
Ri Sol-ju
since 15 April 2018
ResidenceRyongsong Residence, Pyongyang, North Korea
Inaugural holderKim Song-ae
Formation17 December 1963

The first lady of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Korean조선민주주의인민공화국 영부인; RRjoseonminjujuuiinmingonghwagug yeongbu-in), more commonly known as the first lady of North Korea, is the title given to the wife of the supreme leader of North Korea. However, only two wives of the supreme leader have received this title: the inaugural holder Kim Song-ae, the second wife of Kim Il Sung; and the incumbent Ri Sol-ju, the wife of Kim Jong Un.


During the administration of President Kim Il Sung, Kim Song-ae assumed the duties of first lady in 1963, 11 years after the marriage.[1] The position was left vacant under the leadership of General Secretary Kim Jong Il, who married twice and had three domestic partnerships at different times.

The position was re-established under Kim Jong Un in April 2018 when Ri Sol-ju, whom he married in 2009, was elevated to "Respected First Lady". The term had not been used since 1974, when it described Kim Song-ae. Ri was previously called "comrade" by state media; the promotion occurred ahead of the April 2018 inter-Korean summit where Ri and the first lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, were in attendance.[2][3]

List of first ladies of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The following is a list of the first ladies of North Korea.

First Lady

Portrait First Lady
(Maiden name)
Tenure Age at tenure start Supreme Leader
(Husband, unless noted)
1 Kim Song-ae
1924–2014 (aged 89)
17 December 1963

15 August 1974
38 years, 353 days
Kim Il Sung
m. 1941 and 1952
- Vacant 15 August 1974

15 April 2018

Kim Jong Il
m. 1966 and 1974
2 Portrait painting of Ri Sol-ju Ri Sol-ju
Born (1989-10-26) 26 October 1989 (age 34)
15 April 2018

28 years, 158 days
Kim Jong Un
m. 2009

See also


  1. ^ Carter J. Eckert, Ki-baik Lee, Young Ick Lew, Michael Robinson, and Edward W. Wagner, Korea Old and New: A History (Seoul: Ilchokak / Korea Institute, Harvard University, 1990), 377.
  2. ^ "Kim Jong-un elevates wife to position of North Korea's first lady". The Guardian. Seoul. Agence France-Presse. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. ^ "First ladies of two Koreas meet for first time". 27 April 2018.
  4. ^ "North Korea leader Kim Jong-un married to Ri Sol-ju". BBC News. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  5. ^ Sang-hun Choe (25 July 2012). "North Korean Leader Marries". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Keeping up with the Kims: North Korea's elusive first family". BBC News. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  7. ^ Joohee Cho (26 July 2012). "North Korea's First Lady Was Cheerleader, Ditches Drab Outfits". ABC News. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  8. ^ Thayer, Nate (26 July 2012). "North Korea IDs Mystery Woman as Kim Jong-Un's Wife—But Who Is She, Really?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  9. ^ O'Connor, Tom (27 September 2017). "Meet Ri Sol Ju, wife of Kim Jong Un and first lady of North Korea". Newsweek. Retrieved 10 February 2018.

Further reading