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Pharaoh Sobekneferu

Female Pharaohs - The Pharaohs - The People

Her name means “the Beauty of Sobek” and on occasion it has been written in reverse as Neferusobek. 

She was born as the second child to Pharaoh Amenemhat III and probably Queen Khenemetneferhedjet III, but may be a lesser wife, of the 12th Dynasty and as such was the third in line for the Throne. After her elder sister, Princess Neferuptah, died young, Princess Sobekneferu was put in place to marry her half-brother, Pharaoh Amenemhat IV. They reigned together as Pharaoh and Great Royal Wife until Pharaoh’s death.

Pharaoh Amenemhat IV died without a male heir, leaving his wife with little option but to assume the role of Pharaoh. She ruled for approx. 4 years but did not remarry and subsequently had no heir herself.

During her Reign, she made additions to her late father’s Mortuary Complex at Hawara and built more monuments at Heracleopolis Magna. But all of her constructed monuments align her with her father rather than her brother-husband. This could well be because her mother was not a Great Royal Wife but a minor Queen and so she was trying to “sure up” her authority to rule alone.

 On her death the 12th Dynasty ended, and the Middle Kingdom Period ceased. The Throne passed to Pharaoh Sobekhotep I who began the Third Intermediate Period. To date, no burial place for this Female Pharaoh has ever been located.