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Queen Hatshepsut Facts : The First Egyptian Female Pharaoh

Queen Hatshepsut

If the traces of Hatshepsut are lost in the sands of ancient Egypt, some testimonies of her life have nevertheless come down to us over the centuries, despite the aversion of those who wanted to erase them to the point of memory. "Daughter of the King", "Sister of the King", "Bride of God" and "Great Royal Wife": these are some of the titles of the one who was not satisfied with the role of accompanist and regent and who was the first woman Pharaoh at the head of Egypt.

We are between 1500 and 1450 BC. At the time of her accession to the throne, Pharaoh Thutmose III was still only a child. Appointed regent, Hatshepsut quickly developed a taste for power and set out to institutionalize her role before the young Pharaoh reached his majority. For that, he must forge the myth of his birth. At the time, according to tradition, the pharaohs were considered to be of divine birth, which is why she too, as Queen of Egypt, must be the daughter of a god. Remember also that the pharaohs probably attached more importance to life in the hereafter. Hatshepsut therefore demands to be buried in the Valley of the Kings, like a full pharaoh. It even seems that to legitimize her power, she had her father's mummy, Thutmose I, transported to what will become her future tomb.

Conspiracies at court

The queen's accomplice is the architect of the court, the very powerful Senenmut, her lover according to some, as evidenced by the fact that the sculptures of the two figures are always of the same size. In the absence of a strong and special bond, Hatshepsut would never have accepted that her own statue did not dominate all the others. A tunnel would even connect the majestic tomb of the queen in Deir el-Bahari, the place where her funerary temple was built, to the second tomb of the architect, small and secret this one, as if to perpetuate their relationship in the afterlife.

A memory vainly erased

However, Hatshepsut's tomb was never completed, and after her death her critics strove to erase even her memory of life. Her name was removed from all monuments and documents and was never included in the lists of king's names. Why then such relentlessness? Some argue that this was the work of Ramesses II, but he lived 150 years later! Thutmose III - the queen's immediate successor - would likely be responsible. But then, why would he have allowed Hatshepsut to be buried in the Valley of the Kings, thereby legitimizing her kingdom? Either way, anyone who tried to suppress Hatshepsut's name failed. The queen's fame has survived for more than three millennia, and even today, in the hall of the Cairo Museum dedicated to the 18th Dynasty, the bust of Hatshepsut seems to cast its royal and enigmatic gaze on us.

A woman of power

In ancient Egypt, women enjoyed a certain independence: they could inherit their family's property and manage it independently, provided, however, that it took place within the family. In addition, in royal families, women were recognized as having the power to transmit the sacred blood of the dynasty. This is why sibling marriages were often used so as not to "dilute" divine ancestry. Daughter of Thutmose I, she was also the wife of her half-brother Thutmose II and guardian of Thutmose III, who was both her half-brother by marriage and her nephew by blood. Hatshepsut means "the one with the face of noble ladies".