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Isetnofret I
"Iset is Beautiful"
Isetnofret I

Statue of Isetnofret I at the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels. ©Khaemwaset.

Dynasty 19th Dynasty
Pharaoh(s) Seti IRamesses II
Titles King's Great Wife
Hereditary Princess
Great of Praises
King's Mother
Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt
Spouse(s) Ramesses II
Issue Bentanat, Ramesses,
Khaemwaset, Isetnofret (II?),
Nebettawy (?), Merenptah
Born c. 1303 BC
Died between 1255-1250 BC
(aged c. 48-53)
Burial QV58 (?)
For other pages by this name, see Isetnofret.

Isetnofret I (transliteration: st-nfr.t, meaning: "Iset is Beautiful") was the second Queen of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 19th Dynasty during the New Kingdom. Isetnofret was one of the most prominent of Ramesses' royal wives, along with Queen Nefertari, and was the chief queen after Nefertari's death (around their husband's regnal Year 24).


Queen Isetnofret's titles include: Hereditary Princess (r.t-pꜤt), Great of Praises (wrt-ḥzwt), King's Mother (mwt-nswt), Mistress of the entire Two Lands (ḥnwt-tꜢwy-tm), King's Wife (ḥmt-nswt), King's Great Wife (ḥmt-nswt-wrt).[1]


Isetnofret's family background is unknown. She must have married Ramesses II when he was still a Crown Prince since her eldest children already appear in scenes from the time of Pharaoh Seti I.

Isetnofret bore Ramesses II's second eldest son Ramesses (the eldest being Nefertari's son Amunherkhepeshef), which may have contributed to her status among the pharaoh's wives as second to Nefertari. Prince Ramesses served as Crown Prince after the death of his older brother in Year 25 to his own death in Year 50 of his father.[2] Other sons of Isetnofret include; Khaemwaset, who became High Priest of Ptah and Crown Prince from Year 50 to 55,[3] and Merenptah, who became Crown Prince in Year 55 of his father and eventually succeeded him as Pharaoh. Seti has also been suggested to be her son, but this remains highly speculative.[4] Queen Isetnofret's daughters were; Bentanat, who was the firstborn daughter of Ramesses II and later inherited her mother's title Hereditary Princess as her father's wife, Isetnofret, who was probably named after her mother and may be identical to Queen Isetnofret II, and probably Nebettawy, who is depicted together with Isetnofret's known daughters at a colossal statue of Ramesses II's greater Abu Simbel temple.



Aswan family stela; Upper Register: Ramesses II, Isetnofret and Prince Khaemwaset before Khnum. Lower register: Princes Ramesses, Merenptah and Princess Queen Bentanat.

Isetnofret is known from several inscriptions and small statues. She is not well attested before Year 25 of Ramesses II, when she became his principal wife. Most of the items and scenes mentioning Queen Isetnofret seem to be associated with her sons Ramesses, Khaemwaset and Merenptah. She is depicted on a family stela at Aswan with her husband and children before the god Khnum.


Isetnofret I is most likely the owner of the QV58 rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Queens, which dates to the reign of Ramesses II and belonged to an anonymous queen consort.


  1. Grajetzki 2005.
  2. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 173.
  3. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 170.
  4. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 167.


  • Dodson, A./Hilton, D., 2004: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Grajetzki, W., 2005: Ancient Egyptian Queens: A Hieroglyphic Dictionary. Golden House Publications, London.