bust of ankhesenpaaten

Tutankhamun (husband/half brother) Ay (2nd husband) Akhenaten (Father) Nefertiti (Mother) Tiye (paternal grandmother) Amenhotep III (paternal grandfather) Meritaten (Sister)
Burial Place

Ankhesenpaaten, also known as Ankhesenpaaten, was the third of six known daughters of the Pharaoh Akhenaten by his wife Nefertiti. She is believed to have been married first to her own father, by whom she was the mother of the princess Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit when she was twelve. After her father's death and a short marriage to Smenkhkare, she became the wife of Tutankhaten. Following their marriage, the couple honored the gods of the restored religion by changing their names to Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun. Despite numerous attempts, the couple only had two stillborn daughters. When Tutankhamun died, Ankhesenamun married to Ay and died during or shortly after his reign.

A document was found in the ancient Hittite capital of Hattusa which dates to the Amarna period. It was addressed to the Hittite king, Suppiluliuma I, and reads, "My husband has died and I have no son. They say that you have many sons. You might give me one of your sons to become my husband. I would not wish to take one of my subjects as a husband."

This document is extraordinary, for never before had anything like this occurred. In fact, Egyptians traditionally considered foreigners to be inferior. Suppiluliuma was understandably wary and had an envoy investigate, but by so doing, he missed his chance to bring Egypt into his empire. He did eventually send one of his sons, Zannanza, but the prince was murdered en route to the palace.

Debate rages over which queen authored the amazing message. Possible candidates are Nefertiti and Ankhesenpaaten. Ankhesenpaaten seems more likely since there were no candidates for the throne on the death of her husband, Tutankhamun, whereas Akhenaten had at least two legitimate successors.


Further reading

  • Akhenaten, King of Egypt, by Cyril Aldred, 1988, Thames & Hudson.
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