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Alternative spelling: Tiy

Tey depicted in Ay's AT25 tomb chapel at Amarna.

Dynasty 18th Dynasty
Pharaoh(s) Amenhotep IIIAy
Titles King's Great Wife
Hereditary Princess
Great of Praises
Lady of the Two Lands
Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt
King's Ornament
Spouse(s) Ay
Burial KV23 (?)
For other pages by this name, see Tiye.

Tey or Tiy (ancient Egyptian: tỉy) was a Queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty during the New Kingdom.


As queen consort, Tey held the titles; Hereditary Princess (ỉry.t-pꜥt), Great of Praises (wrt-ḥzwt), Lady of the Two Lands (nbt-tꜣwy), King's Great Wife, his beloved (ḥmt-nỉswt-wrt meryt.f), and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt (ḥnwt-šmʿw-tꜣmḥw).[1]


Tey was the wife of Pharaoh Ay. Some scholars have theorized that Ay was the father of Queen Nefertiti. In inscriptions at Amarna, Tey is called "Nurse of the Great Royal Wife." It has been theorized that this title meant she was stepmother to Nefertiti as Ay's second wife.[2] Ay and Tey are never explicitly called Nefertiti's father or mother. Thus, if Tey was Ay's only wife, neither were parent to Nefertiti.[3] However, if they are the parents of Nefertiti, Mutbenret was most likely Ay and Tey's daughter. Further, Nakhtmin, Ay's intended successor, might be their son.[4]

On a statue currently in the Brooklyn Museum, a dignitary named Ay is called High Priest of Mut, Second Prophet of Amun, and Steward of Queen Tey. His parents are recorded as Mutemnub, sister of Queen Tey, and Nakhtmin, who was thus Queen Tey's brother-in-law.[5]


Tey is depicted in her husband's unused Amarna tomb (AT25),[6] prepared while he was an administrator to Akhenaten. Her prominence in the decoration is exceptional, but her positions as nurse and tutor of the Great Wife (Nefertiti), and King's Ornament fully justify it.[7] A reward scene is depicted on the North Wall, East Side. Aye and Tey are shown before the window of appearances. Akhenaten is shown in a Khepresh crown and Nefertiti in her well-known blue crown (in this case decorated with three uraei). Meritaten, Meketaten, and Ankhesenpaaten are shown in the window of appearances as well. The elder two daughters seem to be throwing rewards to Ay and Tey, while Ankhesenpaaten stands on the pillow before Nefertiti and is caressing her chin.[8]



Colossal statue of Queen Meritamen at Akhmim, almost certainly usurped from Queen Tey.

At their hometown of Panopolis (modern: Akhmim), Ay built quite extensively during his reign. He was presumably responsible for the temple of Min. A colossal statues of a queen can be dated to the late 18th Dynasty, though Ramesses II reinscribed it for his daughter Meritamen, it originally almost certainly depicted Tey.[9]

Tey is also depicted in a rock-cut chapel at Panopolis dedicated to the local deity Min, which overlooks the city and surrounding area.[10]

Tey also is mentioned on a wooden box inscribed for "The true scribe of the king whom he loves, Commander of the Troops, overseer of cavalry, and God's Father, Ay." The text mentions: "The much-valued one, the sole one (unique) of Re, appreciated by the Great Royal Wife, the mistress of the house, Tey."[11]


Queen Tey is depicted in the KV23 rock-cut tomb in the West Valley of the Valley of the Kings, used for Ay after he had become king. She appears behind Ay in a scene where Ay appears to be pulling lotus flowers from a marsh. The images are rather severely damaged. Tey may have been buried with her husband in KV23. Fragments of female human bones found in the tomb may be Tey's.[12]


  1. Grajetzki 2005.
  2. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 36, 147.
  3. Van Dijk 1996, p. 33.
  4. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 151-153.
  5. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 155.
  6. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 157.
  7. De Garis Davies 1908, Part VI, p. 21.
  8. De Garis Davies 1908, Part V & VI.
  9. Dodson 2018, p. 103.
  10. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 157.
  11. Roeder 1924, p. 267-268.
  12. Tyldesley 2006.


  • Dijk, J. van, 1996: Horemheb and the Struggle for the Throne of Tutankhamun. Bulletin of the Australian Centre for Egyptology, Vol. 7.
  • Dodson, A./Hilton, D., 2004: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Dodson, A., 2018: Revised edition of 2009: Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter Reformation. The American University in Cairo Press.
  • Garis Davies, N. de, 1908 (2004 Reprinted edition): The Rock Tombs of el-Amarna. Part V: Smaller tombs and boundary stelae. Part VI: Tombs of Parennefer, Tutu and Ay. Egypt Exploration Society.
  • Grajetzki, W., 2005: Ancient Egyptian Queens: a hieroglyphic dictionary. Golden House Publications.
  • Roeder, G., 1924: Aegyptische Inschriften aus den Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. Bd.II, Leipzig.
  • Tyldesley, J, 2006: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.