Neferefre (or Raneferef “Re is his beauty”) was the first son of Neferirkare and Queen Khentkaus II to become pharaoh. The Turin Kings list cannot confirm the length of Neferefre’s reign, but estimates vary from two years to seven.
It is thought that he was originally known as Ranefer or Neferre (“Re is beautiful”) but changed his name to Neferefre (“Re is his beauty”). If this is correct then he is depicted along with his father Neferirkare and his mother Queen Khentkaus II on a block thought to originate from Neferirkare’s mortuary temple.
It is sometimes suggested that Queen Khentkaus II acted as a regent for a short period after Neferirkare’s death, and that Shepsekare did not precede Neferefre, but succeeded him. Support for this theory can be found in a scene discovered at Abusir showing the queen with her son, named Neferre (“Re is beautiful”). However, the body found in Neferefre’s pyramid at Abusir, is that of a young man who died between the age of 20 and 23. It seems unlikely that he would have required a regent at this age!
He built a solar temple named Hetep-Re, which has not been found. Sadly, the king died suddenly, before his pyramid and mortuary complex at Abusir could be completed. Until recently, the structure was simply known as the unfinished pyramid, but now scholars generally ascribe it to Neferefre. He was succeeded by his brother Niuserre.
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Copyright J Hill 2016