Historians believe Queen Nefertiti was a powerful and beautiful lady. Her name even translates as “a beautiful lady has come.” She married the Pharaoh Akhenaten around 1353 BC and co-ruled as his queen for many years. She was his first and most important wife and they had six daughters together.
It was common in Ancient Egypt for a pharaoh to have several wives. While Nefertiti was considered the Great Royal Wife (the most important), she was not the pharaoh’s only wife. One of the other wives was the pharaoh’s own sister, with whom he had a son. This son would later become the short-lived Pharaoh Tutankhamun. So Nefertiti was Tutankhamun’s step-mother.
Nefertiti and her husband made very dramatic changes to religion in Ancient Egypt. At the time, Egyptians worshipped a number of gods, but the King and Queen spent years trying to erase the old religion to worship a single god. They moved the capital city to a new city and tried to destroy old symbols of the old religion. However, after their death, Pharaoh Tutankhamun made the popular decision to reverse the changes and return to the old religion.
There are many different theories about when Nefertiti died; some say she died before her husband, others that she outlived him and became pharaoh herself.
Nefertiti’s tomb has never been found. In 2015, an English archaeologist announced his belief that her resting place may be in secret chambers behind Tutankhamun’s tomb. However, radar scans in 2016 have been controversially inconclusive.
Whatever the truth, Nefertiti is one of the most well-known and recognisable images of Ancient Egypt, all thanks to a statue that was uncovered in 1912. It shows the queen’s beautiful face and long, slender neck, with a distinctive tall headdress.
You can see the famous bust in the Egyptian museum in Berlin, Germany.
To learn more about Ancient Egypt for children sign up for your educational subscription box and start your first adventure to Ancient Egypt – Start my Ancient Egypt adventure.