Ancient Egyptian Queen: Hatshepsut and Others

When many people think of the role of a queen, it’s not uncommon for them to imagine her just as the companion of the king , one who does not actively participate in the business of the kingdom. However, history has shown that some queens have been extremely influential in the turn of ancient and modern-day events.

Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt was much more than a queen and wife to a pharaoh, but also held the title of pharaoh herself. The Queen even went as far as to adopt the symbols and typical appearance of a pharaoh, including the beard.

She was not one to sit on a throne and dictate orders, but also became an active participant of pharaoh duties and fulfilled expectations of an ancient Egyptian ruler. For example, Hatshepsut performed in the ceremonial races held at the Sed festival. She made a circuit of the pyramid complex of Djoser, which represented many different things for a pharaoh. The act proved that the pharaoh still possessed strength and was physically fit after 30 years of power and was seen as a symbolic practice of rejuvenation. The circuit was also associated with making a statement regarding their territory.

Facts About Hatshepsut

During the first half of the 15th century BC, Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for around two decades. At first, she married her brother Thutmose II. After his death, she took an extremely younger brother named Thutmose III as her husband. In the beginning, Hatshepsut served as his regent, but later, took full control of Egypt.

Hatshepsut was a daughter of Thutmose I , a king that ruled during the 18th dynasty.

Temple walls studied at Dayr al-Bahri are associated with the Queen and shed light on some of the things she did when ruler of ancient Egypt, such as a military campaign in Nubia and trading missions with Punt. Archeologists also learned that attempts to erase signs of Hatshepsut’s reign had been made.

It is believed that the sarcophagus discovered in the Valley of Kings that is numbered KV60 belongs to that of Hatshepsut.

Other ancient Egyptian queens include:

Betresh (First Dynasty) , As the wife of Adjib, she gave birth to Semerkhet, who was thought to have usurped the throne.  

Hapnyma’at (Second Dynasty) , With Kha’Sekhemwy, she gave birth to Djoser , the pharaoh who first commissioned his official, Imhotep, to construct the first of the pyramids. A step pyramid was built for him at Saqqara.

Hetepheres I (Fourth Dynasty) , She married Snofru and gave birth to Khufu. When her burial treasures were uncovered, historians dubbed them the most beautiful they had ever seen. Her tomb held furnishings and toilet items, such as razors made out of layers of pure gold.  

Meritites (Fourth Dynasty) , With Khufu, Meritites gave birth to Prince Kewab, as well as Princesses Hetepheres II, Hardedef and Baufre’. Later, her son Prince Kewab was murdered by Ra’Djedet, who then took over the throne.

Henutsen (Fourth Dynasty) , She married Khufu and became the mother of Prince Khufu-Khaf and possibly was the mother of King Khephren. Beside Khufus’ great pyramid in Giza, a small pyramid was constructed in her honor. Some believe she was actually Khufu’s daughter instead of his wife.