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"The Beauties of Re"
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Princess Neferure on the lap of her Royal Tutor, Senmut.©

Dynasty 18th Dynasty
Pharaoh(s) Thutmose II
Thutmose III (?)
Titles King's Great Wife
Lady of the Two Lands
Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt
God's Wife
God's Wife of Amun
King's Daughter
Father Thutmose II
Mother Hatshepsut
Spouse(s) Thutmose III (?)
Burial Wadi Gabbanat el-Qurud (?)

Neferure (ancient Egyptian: nfrw-rꜥ, "The Beauties of Re") was an Egyptian Princess of the Eighteenth Dynasty during the New Kingdom.


Neferure was the daughter of two Pharaohs; Thutmose II and Hatshepsut.[1] She is the only known child of Hatshepsut, who was Thutmose II's King's Great Wife at the time. Neferure was the granddaughter of Thutmose I and the half-sister of Thutmose III.

It has been suggested that Neferure married her half-brother Thutmose III and that the latter's firstborn son and designated heir Amenemhat was her son. Although Neferure is identified several times as King's Wife of Thutmose III while he was the co-regent of Hatshepsut,[2] it remains unclear whether Neferure married her half-brother Thutmose III or not.[3]

During Thutmose III's reign Neferure is not attested as his principal wife, that position belonged to Sitiah.[4] However, on two depictions Sitiah's name seems to have replaced that of Neferure, which had been the original name recorded. One of the depictions is associated with the title "King's Great Wife", the other with "God's Wife",[1] the latter is not held by Sitiah on later inscriptions.[5] This indicates that Neferure at least held these titles prior to Hatshepsut's demise and the start Thutmose III's sole reign, though possibly only for ceremonial purposes.


Neferure was born during the reign of her father Thutmose II. The heir to the throne, Thutmose III, was only a child and Hatshepsut served as his regent, but by the seventh year of his rule it is well documented that Hatshepsut took on the role of pharaoh and continued to rule until her death, for more than twenty years.[3][6]

Neferure was tutored by some of Hatshepsut's most trusted advisers, at first Ahmose-Pennekhbet, who served under several of the preceding pharaohs and was held in great esteem. In his EK2 tomb he claims:

"For me the God's Wife repeated favors, the King's Great Wife Maatkare justified; I brought up her eldest (daughter), the princess Neferure, justified, while she was (still) a child at the breast".[3]

Neferure's next Royal Tutor was Senmut.[6] Senmut is known from many statues depicting him with his young charge. In all these statues Senmut is shown wearing a long cloak. Seven statues are block statues in which the head of Princess Neferure pokes out of the block. One statue shows Neferure seated on his lap, while in another statue Senmut is shown seated with one leg pulled up and Neferure leaning against his leg. After Hatshepsut became regent, Senmut became her advisor and the role of tutor for Neferure was handed over to the administrator Senimen,[3] who may have been a relative of Senmut.[7]

Following her mother's accession to the Egyptian throne, Neferure had an unusually prominent role in the court, exceeding the normal role played by a royal princess to the pharaoh. As Hatshepsut took on the role of pharaoh, Neferure took on a queenly role in public life.[8] Many depictions of her in these roles exist. She was given the queenly titles Lady of the Two Lands and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, as well as inheriting her mother's title God's Wife of Amun.[6] The latter title had been held by several queens of the dynasty. These offices meant that Neferure fulfilled the religious and ceremonial duties, normally of the queen, alongside the pharaoh in the government and the temples. The interpretation of one scene depicted on Hatshepsut's Red Chapel in the Karnak temple depicts Neferure fulfilling the rituals required of the God's Wife of Amun.[8]

Since Neferure is depicted in her mother's funeral temple, there are some authors who believe that Neferure was still alive in the first few years of Thutmose III's rule as pharaoh.[5] However, there is no concrete evidence to prove that she outlived her mother into Thutmose III's reign. Peter Dorman has argued that a sphinx of a queen dated to the reign of Thutmose III depicts Neferure as a queen.[citation needed] There are however no inscriptions that prove or disprove this proposed identification.

Death and Burial[]

Neferure is mentioned in Senmut's TT71 tomb chapel, which he had built in Year 7 of Hatshepsut's reign. Neferure is also depicted on a Year 11 stela in Serabit el-Khadim, but is completely absent from Senmut's second TT353 tomb, which dates to Year 16 of Hatshepsut.[8] It is therefore plausible that Neferure died prior to Year 16 of her mother's reign.

A tomb thought to be constructed for her was found atop a sheer cliff by archeologist Howard Carter in Wadi C of Wadi Gabbanat el-Qurud. The connection of this tomb to Neferure is based on the presence of a weathered vertical cartouche containing her name cut into the cliff below the tomb entrance.[9] The tomb itself consists of a passageway that leads to an elongated chamber, a second corridor leads off to the right ending in a bay and a niche;[10] it was found to be mostly empty. It was noted that the tomb had been used, however, since the ceiling was smoothed and the walls plastered;[10] traces of ochre and yellow paints could be defined. The archaeologists who inspected the tomb were certain that Neferure had not outlived her mother Hatshepsut. Alternatively, her tomb may have been in Wadi A, close to the cliff tomb quarried for Hatshepsut as King's Great Wife.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 130–141.
  2. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 132.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 O'Connor & Cline 2006.
  4. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 133, 140.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Shaw 2000, p. 263.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Tyldesley 1996, p. 101–103.
  7. Shirley 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Tyldesley 2006, p. 98.
  9. Carter 1917, p. 107–118.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Lilyquist et al. 2003, p. 4.


  • Carter, H., 1917: A Tomb Prepared for Queen Hatshepsuit and Other Recent Discoveries at Thebes. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 4 (2/3).
  • Dodson, A./Hilton, D., 2004: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Lilyquist, C./Hoch, J.E./Peden, A.J., 2003: The Tomb of Three Foreign Wives of Tuthmosis III. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • O'Connor, D./Cline, E.H., 2006: Thutmose III: A New Biography. University of Michigan Press.
  • Shaw, I., 2000: The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press.
  • Shirley, J.J., 2014: The Power of the Elite: The Officials of Hatshepsut's Regency and Coregency. In: Galán, J./Bryan, B.M./Dorman, P.F., (eds.): Creativity and Innovation in the Reign of Hatshepsut. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, Vol. 69, Chicago.
  • Tyldesley, J., 1996: Hatchepsut: the Female Pharaoh. Viking, London.
  • Tyldesley, J., 2006: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.