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Queen & Pharaoh Hatshepsut

Great Royal Wives - The People

Princess, Great Royal Wife, Queen & Pharaoh Hatshepsut

Family

Her parents were Pharaoh Tuthmose I and his Queen, Great Royal Wife Ahmose. Princess Hatshepsut was married to her half-brother who became Pharaoh Tuthmose II and this made her Great Royal Wife, Queen Hatshepsut. Together they had only one child, a girl, Princess Neferure.

Queen Hatshepsut’s husband died and she became infamous for her short rule as Queen Regent with her nephew and stepson, future Pharaoh Tuthmose III, before she assumed the Throne in her own right.

Titles

  • Princess Hatshepsut: Born approx. 1507BC
    As Princess her Titles included: “God’s Wife”, “King’s Daughter”
  • Queen Hatshepsut: Approx. 1493 – 1481BC
    As Queen she added the Titles: “Foremost of Noble Ladies”, “King’s Sister”, “King’s Great Wife”
  • Queen Regent Hatshepsut: Approx. 1481 – 1476BC
  • Pharaoh Hatshepsut: Approx. 1476 – 1458BC: 5th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty
    As Pharaoh she further added the Titles: “Hatshepsut, may she live and endure like Re forever”

Reign

When her husband dies, Hatshepsut is left with little choice but to rule as Regent for the still child aged Nephew and Stepson. In order to assist her in this new role, she elevated her long-term Steward and her Daughter’s Tutor, the Noble Senenmut to her High Steward and it was he who masterminded many of her building projects. To learn more about Senenmut, click here and to see the amazing Tombs he was allowed to build, click here.

These included but were not limited to:

  • Her Red Chapel Complex in the Precinct of Amun, Karnak Temple; click here to view her rebuilt Chapel
  • She restored the Precinct of Mut at Karnak Temple after the damage it received at the hands of the Hyksos Pharaohs; click here to visit this site
  • Her Twin Obelisks at Karnak Temple, the one that remains standing is the highest remaining in Egypt; click here to view her Obelisks
  • Her further Twin Obelisks that were ordered for Karnak Temple but never completed, one of these is now called the Unfinished Obelisk and remain in situ in its Quarry
  • Her Underground Temple of Pakhet at Beni Hasan, dedicated to the Goddesses Bast and Sekhmet
  • The pinnacle of her building career, her Temple of a Million Years at her Mortuary Complex in Deir el Bahri; click here to visit this site

Pharaoh Hatshepsut not only used Building Works to promote herself and her Reign but also included her own form of propaganda in her monuments. Within her Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahri and her Red Chapel at Karnak Temple and her additions to Dendera Temple, she ensured that the Deities as well as the Royal Court knew that her birth was granted and ordained by the Deities. Her Birth Colonnade depicts Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s divine birth.

It shows:

  • God Amun with the unborn future Pharaoh
  • God Amun merging with Pharaoh Tuthmose I and impregnating the Queen, Hatshepsut’s mother, Queen Ahmose
  • God Amun then reveals himself to the Royals and prophesises that Hatshepsut will become Pharaoh
  • Pregnant Queen Ahmose is taken to the Birthing Chamber by the Deities where she gives birth
  • Baby Hatshepsut and her Soul – her Ka – are fed by the Sky Goddess Hathor

She took this further by adding Hieroglyphs that pronounced that her father, Pharaoh Tuthmose I, had intended her as rightly Pharaoh of Egypt rather than that of his son, and Hatshepsut’s husband, Pharaoh Tuthmose II. The hieroglyphs stated:

“This daughter of mine, Khnumetamun Hatshepsut, may she live!  I have appointed as my successor upon my Throne . . . . . she shall direct the people in every sphere of the palace; it is she indeed who shall lead you.  Obey her words, unite yourselves at her command . . . . . The royal nobles, the dignitaries, and the leaders of the people heard this proclamation of the promotion of his daughter, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, may she live eternally”

Drawings of Reliefs of Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s Divine Birth Scenes, from Dendera Temple

Pharaoh Hatshepsut did not undertake many Military Campaigns after her reign became established, but she did send expeditions to different areas to expand Trade with Egypt. For example, in Regnal Year 10 she sent an Expedition to Byblos and then one on into the Sinai Peninsula.

Of course, her most remembered expedition took place the year before, in Regnal Year 9 her Trade Expedition to the Land of Punt. Pharaoh recorded the full details of their voyage and their dealings with their neighbours within her Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahri. For full details click here

The Egyptians returned home in their boats carrying: Myrrha Resin; Fresh Myrrh Trees, Ebony, Ivory, Gold of Amu, Cinnamon, Ahmut and Senter Incense; Eye Makeup, Apes and Monkeys, Dogs, Panther Skins and some natives and their children, Gold and Silver, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Cattle and Panthers. 

Pharaoh Hatshepsut marked their return with a Procession to the Temple of Amun Ra, today’s Karnak Temple, where they thank the deities for the successful voyage.

The hieroglyphs reflected the amount of goods they brought with them, “. . . loading of the ships very heavily with marvels of the country of Punt; all goodly fragrant woods of God’s-Land, heaps of myrrh resin, with fresh myrrh trees, with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of Emu, with cinnamon wood, khesyt wood, with two kinds of incense, eye-cosmetics, with apes, monkeys, dogs, and with skins of the southern panther, with natives and their children. Never was brought the like of this for any king who has been since the beginning. . .”

In terms of satisfying the Priesthood with her Reign, Pharaoh Hatshepsut elevated her daughter Princess Neferure to her own former Title as “God’s Wife of Amun” meaning that the Princess would carry out many of the Religious Roles which a Queen or Sister to the Pharaoh would usually undertake.

Not only that, Princess Neferure stepped in as the “Queen” in public life beside her mother who was fulfilling her role as Pharaoh. Princess Neferure was bestowed the Titles:

“God’s Wife of Amun”, “Mistress of the Lands”, and “Lady of Upper and Lower Egypt”

All Titles usually reserved for the Queen of Egypt, Pharaoh’s Great Royal Wife showing how central her role was. To learn more about Princess Neferure, click here. 

The discussion about her physical “transformation” into a male Pharaoh, the role of Pharaoh traditionally being a male domninated one, should perhaps be reconsidered. See the image to the right of this text – if viewed on a full webpage – I do not believe that Pharaoh Hatshepsut wanted to be regarded as a Male. Rather that she wished to be regarded in the Regalia of a Pharaoh. To understand the symbolism of what it meant to be Pharaoh and why the Regalia was specific to this role, click here.  

Furthermore, Pharaoh Hatshepsut is well known for aligning herself with the Goddess Hathor and the Goddess Sekhmet. See the Statue of the Goddess Sekhmet to the left. 

Nearer the end of her reign and of course, her life, Pharaoh Hatshepsut handed over more responsibility to the future Pharaoh Tuthmose III. Under her watchful eye, he carried out ever more increasing and high-profile roles in the Royal Court and the affairs of the state.

The imagery that she left behind her and imagery that realistically could only be seen by the Deities – see the image which was at the top of her 30 meter high Obelisk which has now broken so we can see it up close – showed her caring for her stepson successor. Moreover she trusted him implicitly, making him Head of the Army and giving him control of all Egypt’s Troops and responsibility for the stability of the Land. Not a move you would make if there was any animosity!

Death and Burial

She died at the age of 50 in approx. 1458BC in Regnal Year 22. Potentially Pharaoh Hatshepsut suffered with irritating skin rashes, diabetes, arthritis and bad teeth. She died of Bone Cancer which had progressed through her body after applying soothing creams for her irritated skins which may have relieved the symptoms but actually caused the Cancer.

During her life, as with nearly all Pharaohs, she worked on her Tomb where she would be laid to rest. This was King’s Valley Tomb 20 and was already home to her father, Pharaoh Tuthmose I. She enlarged the Tomb significantly and we can safely assume that this is where she was at least initially buried.

Pharaoh Hatshepsut was reinterred in KV60 after her successor Pharaoh Tuthmose III provided a new Tomb for her father and his grandfather, Pharaoh Tuthmose I in Tomb KV38. We have to presume that Pharaoh Hatshepsut was moved into the Tomb of her Nurse, Sitre In, at the same time and this is how her remains were eventually discovered in King’s Valley Tomb 60.

Towards the end of Pharaoh Tuthmose III’s reign he or more likely, his son and heir, made an attempt to removal all highly visible signs of Hatshepsut’s rule as a Pharaoh. Monuments were defaced. Statues were taken down. Her name was removed from the King’s List. A Wall was built around the bottom of her Obelisks in Cairo. Why he waited until nearly the end of his 33 year reign to begin this project seems to be to do with his own line of succession and nothing to do with his predecessor personally.