Pharaoh TwosretFemale Pharaohs - The Pharaohs - The People
“Beloved of Ma’at”
“Great Royal Wife”
“Daughter of Ra, beloved of Amun”
“The One who sets Egypt in order and subdues foreign lands”
“The powerful female, chosen by Mut”
Princess Twosret was born to Pharaoh Merneptah (click here to learn about Pharaoh Merneptah) and his minor wife, Takhat, making her a half-sister to her husband, the future Pharaoh Seti II. Click here to learn more about Pharaoh Seti II.
She was married to her half-brother, Pharaoh Seti II, and together, they probably had one son, Prince Seti-Merenptah. If this is correct, then he was born at the end of his father’s reign and was not in a position to take the Throne, so his Cousin or perhaps half-brother, Siptah was the Crown Prince and successor. Regrettably for Twosret, her son died when he was approx. 5 years old.
She is thought to be the daughter of Pharaoh Menkaure and Queen Khamerernebty II, and was a high-born Princess of the 4th Dynasty. Her brother and later husband was Pharaoh Shepseskaf. When he died ending the 4th Dynasty, she appears to have married Pharaoh Userkaf, the founder of the 5th Dynasty. Her son (probably) became Pharaoh Sahure. At some point in her life, she took the Title of Pharaoh.
Great Royal Wife
To understand how Twosret became Pharaoh, we have to examine her married life to Pharaoh Seti II. They married whilst their father was still alive and ascended the Throne on his death. In Regnal Year 2 her husband went on Military Campaign to Asia, during this time Queen Twosret was standing in as the Regent. Her brother, her husband’s half-brother, jumped on this opportunity to seize Upper Egypt and Nubia, and crowned himself as a rival Pharaoh. Pharaoh Amenmesse.
Pharaoh Seti II defeated his rival Pharaoh and, we can presume, killed him for his usurpation. As a form of revenge, Pharaoh Seti II removed all of his half-brother’s monuments and any references to this rival court. As the final punishment which was to be enacted to reach the false Pharaoh in his Afterlife, Pharaoh Seti II had the Spells and Texts were removed from Pharaoh Amenmesse’s Tomb.
Queen Twosret and Pharaoh Seti II built 3 Tombs in the King’s Valley; one for Seti, KV15; one for Twosret, KV14; and one for their Chancellor, the Noble Bay, KV13. It was highly unusual for a Chancellor of non-Royal blood and obviously shows the strong trust and relationship that the Pharaoh, Queen and Chancellor had between them.
Pharaoh Seti II ruled for 5 years and 10 months. Due to the brevity of his reign two situations occurred:
- The Tomb that he had started was not finished. We can assume that Queen Twosret continued on with his Tomb after his death and eventually he was laid to rest inside. In the interim it is believed that he may have been interred in the Tomb for Queen Twosret
- His chosen heir was not of an age to claim the Throne, he was around 10. So, Queen Twosret with the trusted Chancellor Bay became jointly Regents to her nephew
10-year-old Pharaoh Siptah assumed the Throne as Pharaoh Seti II’s successor. He ruled in total for approx. 6 years with the main event of his reign being the fall from grace of the formerly trusted Chancellor Bay, who we know that the then 15-year-old Pharaoh had executed.
Queen Regent Twosret claimed the Throne and became the last Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty. She reigned for between 2 and a half to 3 and a half years, but Pharaoh assumed the Regnal Years of her predecessor and made her own officially regarded Reign seem to be a total of 7 years.
During her reign we know that she
- Commissioned expeditions to the Sinai’s turquoise mines and those in Palestine
- Erected Statues in Thebes and Heliopolis
- Completed works in Qantir, Abydos, Sebennytos, Memphis, modern day Jordan, Nubia and Hermopolis
- Commissioned the erection of her Mortuary Temple next to her grandfather’s Mortuary Temple at the Ramesseum; regrettably this Mortuary Temple has been all but robbed away
Her successor, Pharaoh Setnakhte, emerged victorious after a power struggle within the Court, on the death of Pharaoh. It may well be that this power struggle began before her death but with little to no secure records for the period, to date, it is almost impossible to confirm. My belief is that is there had been an all-out civil war more records would have survived.