Ancient Egypt Wiki
Dynasty 18th Dynasty
Pharaoh(s) Amenhotep III
Titles King's Wife
King's Daughter
Father Tušratta
Mother Juni
Spouse(s) Amenhotep III (?)
Burial Unknown

Tadu-Ḫepa or Tadukhipa ("Favorite of the Sun Goddess Ḫepa") was a Princess from Mitanni and King's Wife of the Eighteenth Dynasty during the New Kingdom.


Tadu-Ḫepa was the daughter of king Tušratta of Mitanni and his queen, Juni. She was the niece of the later king of Mitanni, Artašumara. Tadu-Ḫepa's aunt Kilu-Ḫepa (sister of Tušratta) had married Pharaoh Amenhotep III in his 10th regnal year. Tadu-Ḫepa was to marry Amenhotep III more than two decades later.[1]


Relatively little is known about this princess of Mitanni. Tadu-Ḫepa is believed to have been born around Year 21 of the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Fifteen years later, Tušratta married his daughter to his ally Amenhotep III to cement their two states alliances in Year 36 of Amenhotep III's reign. Tadu-Ḫepa is referenced in seven of Tušratta's thirteen Amarna letters, of about 1350-1340 BC.[2] Tušratta requested that his daughter would become a queen consort, even though that position was held by Queen Tiye.[3] The gifts sent to Egypt by Tušratta include a pair of horses and a chariot, plated with gold and inlaid with precious stones, a litter for a camel adorned with gold and precious stones, cloth and garments, jewelry such as bracelets, armlets and other ornaments, a saddle for a horse adorned with gold eagles, more dresses colored purple, green and crimson and a large chest to hold the items.[4] In return, Amenhotep III was to sent two solid golden statues. However, Amenhotep died shortly after Tadu-Ḫepa arrived in Egypt and never sent Tušratta the statues. Tadu-Ḫepa eventually married his son and heir Amenhotep IV. Tušratta sent some missives complaining about the lack of reciprocity from Amenhotep IV to fulfill his father's promises.[5]

Identification with Kiya or Nefertiti[]

Tadu-Ḫepa was given a new name after becoming the consort of Akhenaten. Some scholars tentatively identify Tadu-Ḫepa with Kiya, a wife of Akhenaten.[1] It has been suggested that the story of Kiya may be the source for the New Kingdom story called the "Tale of Two Brothers". This fable tells the story of how the pharaoh fell in love with a beautiful foreign woman after smelling her hair. If Tadu-Ḫepa was later known as Kiya, then she would have lived at Amarna where she had her own sunshade and was depicted with the pharaoh and at least one daughter.[6]

Others such as Petrie, Drioton and Vandier have suggested that Tadu-Ḫepa is to be identified the famous queen Nefertiti.[6] This theory suggests that Nefertiti's name "the beautiful one has come" refers to Nefertiti's foreign origin as Tadu-Ḫepa. Seele, Meyer and others have pointed out that Tey, wife of Ay, held the title of nurse to Nefertiti, and that this argues against this identification. A mature princess arriving in Egypt would not need a nurse.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dodson & Hilton 2004.
  2. Moran 1992, EA 23, p. 61-62.
  3. Tyldesley 2006, p. 124.
  4. Frothingham 1893, p. 557-631.
  5. Aldred 1991, p. 193.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tyldesley 1998.
  7. Aldred 1957, p. 30-41.


  • Aldred, C., 1957: The End of the El-'Amārna Period. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 43.
  • Aldred, C., 1991: Akhenaten: King of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Dodson, A./Hilton, D., 2004: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Frothingham, A.L. Jr., 1893: Archæological News. The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, Vol. 8, No. 4.
  • Moran, W.L., 1992: The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Tyldesley, J., 1998: Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen. Penguin, London.
  • Tyldesley, J., 2006: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.