Queen Hetepheres II


Queen Hetepheres II lived during the fourth dynasty (Old Kingdom) of Ancient Egypt. She was the daughter of Khufu and Queen Meritites. She was born during the reign of her grandfather, Sneferu and died at a ripe old age during the reign of Shepseskhaf.

She married her brother Crown Prince Kawab, the eldest son of Khufu and heir to the throne. She bore him at least one daughter (Meresankh III) and three sons (Duaenhor, Kaemsekhem, and Mindjedef) but unfortunately he died (or was murdered by their brother Djedefre) before he could take his place as pharaoh.

Hetepheres then married Djedefre and he became pharaoh. Djedefre probably married her in order to cement his position as king when he succeeded their father Khufu but she also bore him at least one daughter, Neferhetepes who is thought to have been the mother of King Userkaf of the fifth dynasty.

Hetepheres II in the form of a sphinx from www.egyptarchive.co.uk
Hetepheres II and Meresankh III
Hetepheres II and Meresankh III, Rama, CC BY-SA 3.0 FR via Wikimedia Commons

She was then widowed a second time, but this time did not re-marry. Her eldest daughter, Meresankh III, married Djedefre’s successor Khafre, so after being the wife of one king she became the mother-in-law of another.

When Meresankh III died Hetepheres had her own mastaba in Giza adapted for her. She is depicted in this tomb with brilliant blond hair (courtesy of a unique blond wig).

She had a joint tomb with Kawab (G7110 and 7120), but it is also possible that she may have been buried in a separate tomb (G7350).

  • Bard, Kathryn A. (2008) An Introduction to the Archeology of Ancient Egypt
  • 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
  • Tyldesley, Joyce (2006) Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt
  • Verner, Miroslav (1997) The Pyramids

Copyright J Hill 2015