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QV80: Queen Tuya

Queen's Valley - The Valleys - The Places

Names: Tuya or Mut-Tuya

Titles: “Queen Consort”, “Great Royal Wife”, “Great King’s Mother”, “Mother of the King of South and North Egypt”, “Queen Mother of the King of South and North Egypt”, “Lady of Both Lands”, “God’s Wife” and “God’s Mother”

Period: 19th Dynasty


Tuya’s Story:  Tuya married Seti when she was approx. 16 years old and before they were raised into the Royal Family. It is believed that they were both alive during the reigns of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (reigned for approx. 11 years), Pharaoh Ay (reigned for approx. 4 years), Pharaoh Horemheb (reigned for approx. 14 years) and the reign of Seti’s father, Pharaoh Ramses I (reigned for approx. 1 and a half years).

By the time Seti’s father takes the Throne, Seti and Tuya already have 3 children: Tia, who is now elevated to the rank of Princess Tia; Ramses; and Nebchasetnebet. It thought that they now royal couple may also have had another child called Princess Henutmire although this is disputed by some Historians. Obviously when Seti’s father claimed the Throne of Egypt, Seti became the Crown Prince and Tuya was also raised to the title of Princess.

Unfortunately, Pharaoh Ramses I had a short reign and soon Seti and Tuya were crowned as Pharaoh and Queen of Egypt. Queen Tuya would have been responsible, at least in part, for the ruling of Egypt in Pharaoh Seti’s absence on his Military Campaigns. These were:

  • Reign Year 1: Horus Military Road Campaign: Capturing Sinai land from the Bedouins and received tributes from Canaan, Beth-Shan, Yenoam and parts of Lebanon
  • Reign Year 4: Defeats Libyan Tribesman at the Western border of Egypt
  • Reign Year 6: Pharaoh captures the important trading City of the Hittites, Kadesh, with some nearby territories, with his son, Crown Prince Ramses
  • Reign Year 8: Rebellion quelled in Nubia: the armies are thought to have been led by Crown Prince Ramses


Pharaoh Seti I, Queen Tuya’s husband, dies after reigning for approx. 12 years. Their son Crown Prince Ramses is elevated to become Pharaoh Ramses II, or Ramses the Great. Queen Tuya now is given the Titles, “Mother of the King of South and North Egypt”, “Queen Mother of the King of South and North Egypt” and “God’s Mother”.

Queen Mother Tuya is understood to have remained highly influential within her son’s Royal Court and was probably a useful moderating figure whilst her son, Pharaoh Ramses II, revisited Kadesh and battled against the Hittites in Year 5 of his Reign. Great Royal Wife Nefertari appears to have been the regent during this time, but it can be postulated that Queen Mother Tuya’s supporting role would have been extremely useful.

When the Hittites and Egyptians signed the Peace Treaty in Year 21 of Pharaoh’s reign, Queen Mother Tuya corresponded with the Royals within the Court of the Hittites in order to retain cordial and useful diplomatic ties between the two empires.

Aged approx. 62 Queen Mother Tuya dies in around Year 22 of her son’s reign.  She is buried by her son in the Queen’s Valley Tomb 80. She is given the title, “Great Royal Wife” after her death.

Pharaoh Ramses II honoured his mother’s memory by adding a small Temple to her alongside his Ramesseum Mortuary Temple in the Theban Necropolis.


As with other Tombs of this period, it was reused in the Third Intermediate Period and also the Ptolemaic and Coptic Periods. This has meant that the painted Tomb Reliefs are very poorly preserved. The finds discovered in the Tomb are: broken granite sarcophagus; lid of a canopic jar; around 80 Ushabti in the image of Queen Tuya; and remains of ceramic jars and containers.


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