King Gojong's wife, Queen Min, was opposed to Japanese control of Korea, and sought out stronger ties with Russia in order to counter the threat from Japan. Her overtures to the Russians angered Japan, which sent agents to assassinate the Queen at Gyeongbukgung Palace in Seoul. She was killed at sword-point on October 8, 1895, along with two attendants, and their bodies were burned.
Two years after the queen's death, her husband declared Korea an Empire, and she was posthumously promoted to the title of "Empress Myeongseong of Korea."
See a photo of Queen Min here.