Queen Hetepheres I


Queen Hetepheres I lived during the fourth dynasty (Old Kingdom) of Ancient Egypt. She is thought to have been the daughter of Huni and Djefatnebti, the principal wife of Sneferu and the mother of Khufu. An inscription on a chair recovered from her tomb describes her as “Mother of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Follower of Horus, Guide of the Ruler, Favourite one, She whose every word is done for her, the daughter of the god’s body, Hetepheres”.

Hetepheres I may also have been her husband’s sister, and if so their marriage would have been politically expedient to consolidate his rule.

She was probably the mother of Princess Hetepheres A, the wife of Ankhaf (the son of Sneferu and a minor wife). She may also be the mother of another unnamed daughter who married Khufu and was buried in the Queens Pyramid G1c in the Great Pyramid Complex of Khufu at Giza, but some experts believe this tomb was built for Queen Meritites (another of Khufu’s wives) or for Hetepheres I herself.

Chair from the burial of Hetepheres I from www.egyptarchive.co.uk

She apparently died during Khufu’s reign and it is thought that she was originally buried in Dahshur, but this tomb has not yet been discovered. Because of the risk of tomb robbing Hetepheres I was moved to Giza where her tomb could be protected and the consensus is that she was buried in Queens Pyramid G1a. However, some experts still consider tomb G1c at Giza to be her original resting place.

Her grave goods were discovered in a shaft (G700X) beside one of the Queen’s pyramids in the Great Pyramid Complex. The sarcophagus was sealed, but empty. The canopic jars were intact and are the oldest example recovered from ancient Egypt so far. The cache also included a number of pieces of beautiful furniture and jewellery.

  • Dodson, A and Hilton, D. (2004) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt
  • Lehner, Mark (1997) The Complete Pyramids
  • Rice, Michael (1999) Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt
  • Verner, Miroslav (1997)The Pyramids

Copyright J Hill 2015