Queen Neferhetepes

Neferhetepes

Queen Neferhetepes ("Her grace is beautiful") was the daughter of the pharaoh Djedefre of the fourth dynasty (Old Kingdom) of Ancient Egypt. Her mother was probably Queen Khentenenka.

fragment of statue of Queen Neferhetepes

She was the earliest confirmed priestess of Hathor and held the titles "King's Daughter", "King's Mother", and "God's Wife", but as far as we know she never used the title "King's Wife". Her name and titles appear on the plinth of a broken statue from her fathers pyramid complex at Abu Rawash.

There is a small pyramid for an unnamed queen beside the pyramid of Userkhaf at Saqqara. In a nearby tomb (that of Persen) the pyramid is described as being the tomb of the "King's mother Neferhetepes" and so it was proposed that she was the mother of Userkaf. However, another scene in the tomb of Persen refers to a daughter of Khufu called Neferhetepes and the record in Persens tomb refers to Sahure diverting an offering of loaves and oil formerly sent to the tomb of Queen Neferhetepes at Saqqara to the tomb of Persen as a reward - so he may be referring to the tomb of the daughter of Khufu rather than the tomb of the daughter of Djedefre.

Recently blocks recovered from the causeway of the pyramid complex of Sahure have clarified the matter by confirming that Neferhetepes was the mother of Sahure and the wife of Userkaf. Inscriptions from the causeway of Sahure also suggest that Userkhaf was the father of Neferirkare but do not specifically confirm that Neferhetepes was the mother of this pharaoh too.

copyright J Hill 2010
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