Women in Ancient Egypt: Royals

Old and Middle Kingdom Queen’s Roles:

  • Give birth to as many sons as possible. There was a short life expectancy and succession would be smoother if the new ruler was unquestioned.
  • Take charge of the palace so it would run smoothly.
  • Act as a regent if her husband died and the son was too young to rule at the time.
  • Give silent support to her husband.
  • Be a passive, but still be visible, complement to the king.

    Statue of the pharaoh Menkaura and his consort Queen Khamerernebty II.

    The New Kingdom

  • -Women become more powerful
  • -Acquired her own right secular and religious titles
  • -Allowed her to carry genuine jobs
  • -Estates with land
  • -Servants and administrators to provide an independent income

Egyptian kings had always had secondary wives, probably to increase the odds of having the all important son to inherit the throne. But there were terms that differentiate the main wife from the others.

Terms such as “King’s Great Wife”, “King’s Wife” and “King’s Mother” where we would use the term Queen.




Credit for information: http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/royal_women.htm





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