Female RegentsGreat Royal Wives - The People
These were the women who stepped in to run the Country in times of need. Often when they had just lost their husband
Queen & Regent Hatshepsut
Daughter of Pharaoh Tuthmose I, sister-wife of Pharaoh Tuthmose II and stepmother of Pharaoh Tuthmose III. Click on the Image!
Queen Tetisheri lived during one of the most tumultuous periods of all Ancient Egyptian times, the 2nd Intermediate Period. To learn more about this Period and what was happening, click here.
She outlived her husband, Pharaoh Tao I, and their son, Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II, inherited. He was soon allegedly provoked in to battle by Hyksos Pharaoh Apopis who claimed that Theban resident Hippos were disturbing his sleep. Now, this anecdote must be understood with a large amount of trepidation as there are approx. 645km between the two cities! As Pharaoh marched to meet the Hyksos Pharaohs in battle, Queen Mother Tetisheri took on the role as Regent.
Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II died probably as a result of one of these battles or at the very least from the wounds that he had sustained. His Mummy reflects a violet death with 3 axe wounds, a sharp implement wound (probably a sword or spear thrust), and a crushing blow. His Mummy was then embalmed in a perfunctory manner and not with the care which was usually due a Pharaoh, enhancing the case that the Pharaoh died on the battle field or within the battle camp.
The war was continued by the late Pharaoh’s Wife who was also his Sister, Queen Ahhotep I, again leaving her mother, Tetisheri, as Regent of Pharaoh Kamose, in her absence. This commenced until Pharaoh Kamose and Crown Prince Ahmose became of age when they joined the battlefield. Now Queen Mother Ahhotep I, now took over from her mother, Tetisheri, as Regent.
As mentioned above, King’s Mother Ahhotep I became Regent of the Theban based Court for her son when he continued the war against the Hyksos Pharaohs.
The Battles continued unabated and these had a high human cost, including, after only 3 years of reign, Pharaoh Kamose, who is believed to have died in battle. Crown Prince Ahmose inherited the Crown making him Pharaoh Ahmose I who is created with the commencement of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, taking the country out of the Intermediate Period when he defeated, and swiftly banished, the Hyksos.
Whilst Pharaoh was winning the war which had consumed his father and his brother, King’s Mother Ahhotep and King’s Grandmother Tetisheri strengthened the new Pharaoh’s early reign in the roles of Regents and ensuring that the Theban Court was kept in check. Egypt was at last reclaimed Egypt under the Egyptian Pharaohs.
Her son honoured her by having this inscribed on a Stelae:
“She is the one who has accomplished the rites and taken care of Egypt . . . . . She has looked after her soldiers, she has guarded her, she has brought back her fugitives and collected together her deserters, she has pacified Upper Egypt and expelled her rebels”
Queen Cleopatra I
Daughter of King Antiochus III and Queen Laodice III, King and Queen of the Seleucid Empire. She was married to a 16-year-old Pharaoh Ptolemy V as part of a truce when Cleopatra was approx. 1- years old.
Approx. 8 years after their marriage, Queen Cleopatra I was named Vizier of Egypt. Her husband died roughly 7 years later, and she assumed rule as Regent for her young son, Pharaoh Ptolemy VI and ruled as Regent for 4 years.
Queen Cleopatra II
Daughter of Queen Cleopatra I and Pharaoh Ptolemy V. She was co-ruler with her first husband who was also her older brother, Pharaoh Ptolemy VI. They were deposed as Rulers by Pharaoh Ptolemy VIII but regained power a year later.
When her first husband died their son Pharaoh Ptolemy VII took the Throne with his mother’s assistance as Regent. They ruled jointly for approx. 18 years before Pharaoh was killed by his Uncle.
Queen Cleopatra II agreed to marry her younger brother, Pharaoh Ptolemy VIII, to bring stability, an extraordinary commitment as he had murdered her son, Pharaoh Ptolemy VII. Pharaoh then married his niece and his wife’s own daughter, Queen Cleopatra III.
Our Queen Cleopatra, the second, led the rebellion against her husband and rid Egypt of its Pharaoh and his wife, her own daughter. As revenge the banished Pharaoh, Ptolemy VIII had the head, hands and feet of his own son with Queen Cleopatra II cut off and sent to her as a birthday present!
Queen Cleopatra II ruled Egypt alone for 4 years before she was forced to flee to Syria to join her daughter and son-in-law there.
But she was not finished! She publicly reconciled with her second husband and her daughter and joined them on the Throne as co-rulers. She died approx. 1 year after her brother.
Queen Berenice III
Daughter to Pharaoh Ptolemy IX and his second Queen, Cleopatra Selene.
When her father fled to Cyrus, Queen Berenice III was left in Alexandria with her brothers and her Uncle, Ptolemy X became Pharaoh and married Queen Berenice III’s mother, Cleopatra Selene.
Pharaoh Ptolemy X had his mother, Queen Cleopatra III, murdered and married 13-year-old Queen Berenice III. After a rebellion in Alexandria, Pharaoh and Queen Berenice III were forced to flee. They subsequently raised an army and tried to retake their Throne but were defeated.
Her father now ruled again as Pharaoh and after her husband’s death, her father invited her back to Egypt and made her co-Regent with him. He died roughly a year later, and Queen Berenice III was left to rule alone.
She did so for a few months and then at the request of her allies in Rome she invited her younger half-brother and former stepson, Ptolemy XI to become Pharaoh. He had been living in Rome and the assumption is that the Romans believed that they could control Egypt through him.
This backfired spectacularly!
4 or so days after Pharaoh was crowned, he killed Queen Berenice III. The Alexandrian’s revolted against him within a matter of days. They rooted him out of the Palace, and he was cornered and killed.