His personal name was originally Zhao Zongshi but he later changed it to Zhao Shu. He reigned from 1063 to 1067. His temple name means "Outstandingly Talented Ancestor".
In 1055 the Emperor Renzong fell ill and as he had no surviving sons there was a threat to the succession.
Under prompting from his Court officials Renzong agreed to bring two boys, sons of Imperial clansmen, into the palace. Yingzong was the thirteenth son of Zhao Yunrang (趙允讓) (995–1059), known posthumously as Prince Pu Anyi (濮安懿王).
Zhao Yunrang was the first director of the Great Office of Clan Affairs and so the most important clan official at the time. Moreover, Yunrang had been raised in the Palace as a potential heir to Zhenzong before Renzong was born in 1010.
He was a first cousin of Emperor Renzong.
Yingzong"s mother, from the Ren (任) family, was the third wife of Prince Pu Anyi, and was titled xianjun of Xianyou (仙遊縣君). Yingzong"s wife was empress Gao. Yingzong was sickly and infirm, so emperor Renzong"s widow dowager empress Cao served as regent.
Yingzong"s reign is known for controversy over the correct rituals to be performed by the Emperor for his father.
Yingzong had been adopted by Renzong and so in the ritual sense Renzong was Yingzong"s father. In a more strictly biological sense, Zhao Yunrang was Yingzong"s father.
This was not only an early sign of more conflict during Xiaozong"s reign but also the Great rites controversy of the Ming Dynasty.