Her given name "Yuling" is sometimes transliterated into English as "Jade Years". Her clan name was Tatara (他他拉) but she changed to a common Han Chinese family name, Tan (譚). She did so to avoid trouble because anti-Manchu sentiments were high after the Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1911 by the Xinhai Revolution.
In early 1937 when Tan was still attending a middle school in Beijing, she was chosen to be a wife of Puyi and she travelled to Manchukuo"s capital Hsinking (Changchun).
Tan died in 1942 while being treated for cystitis, in less than a day after her Japanese doctor gave her an injection. The circumstances surrounding her death were suspicious because Tan was said to have resented the Japanese for being controlling over Puyi.
Kwantung Army staff officer Yoshioka Yasunori (吉岡安則), who was an attaché to the Manchukuo imperial household, once urged Puyi to take a Japanese bride but Puyi had already married Tan so he ignored Yoshioka. Yoshioka was said to be unhappy about this.
Following Tan"s death, Puyi was again pressed by Yoshioka to choose a Japanese spouse but he refused.
Puyi granted Tan the posthumous title of Noble Consort Mingxian (明賢貴妃) and held a funeral for her in Banruo Temple (般若寺) in Hsinking. After the fall of Manchukuo in 1945 following the Japanese surrender at the end of World World War II, Puyi ordered Tan"s remains to be cremated and the ashes sent to her relatives in Beijing. Puyi was said that he loved her so much and he has kept a photograph of Tan with him until his death in 1967.