The Icon: 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Queen Nefertiti

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Nefertiti was the Pharaoh Akhenaten’s chief wife and favorite consort. Renowned for her otherworldly beauty and grace, she was said to be the most beautiful woman in all of Egypt during her reign alongside her King. She bore him 6 daughters, and supported her husband throughout his rule. To learn more about the iconic queen, here are 10 facts you didn’t know about Queen Nefertiti:

Fact 1: The most beautiful queen known to have graced the sands of Egypt is believed to be Nefertiti. In facts, even her name believes so too! Nefertiti actually translates to “the beautiful one has come”. She also took on the additional name Neferneferuaten. It translates to “Beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a Beautiful Woman has come.” You’re one lucky fella, Akhenaten!

Fact 2: Nefertiti was the most loved Queen of Egypt during her reign, and was even depicted as an equal to her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten. She is the most frequently drawn Queen to ever make it to the walls of ancient walls of tombs and pyramids. Popular scenes would have the Queen illustrated as a supportive and loving wife, leading the people to worship Aten, or driving a chariot and striking a spear at the enemy.

Fact 3: She was fifteen years old when she got married to Akhenaten. The latter was sixteen years old when he took the throne and become Pharaoh after his father. Nefertiti bore him six daughters named Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhenspaaten, Neferneferuaten, Neferneferure and Setepenre.

Fact 4: Her father was believed to be the Ay, Egypt’s top adviser. He rose to power after King Tut’s death. His early wife was believed to be Nefertiti’s mother, but she passed away. Many depict Tey, Ay’s second wife, as Nefertiti’s wet nurse.

Fact 5: Her daughter Ankhesenpaaten, who also goes by Ankhesanamum or Ankhesenamen, followed in her mother’s footsteps and went on to marry Tutankhamun. Later she married Pharaoh Ay.

Fact 6: Nefertiti was born around 1390 b.c.e. and though it was believed she was born of royal Egyptian blood, there are accounts that say she was a princess from a foreign land. An alternate story paints a picture of Nefertiti as a princess who reigned from the Mittani Kingdom in Northern Syria.

Fact 7: She was Akhenaten’s Chief wife and favored consort. His love for her was known beyond the lands of Egypt. One famous inscription that the Pharaoh had written for the Queen reads: The Mistress of Happiness, endowed with favors, at hearing whose voice the King rejoices, the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands, Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, may she live forever and always”.

Fact 8: A German archaeologist by the name of Ludwig Borchardt and his team uncovered the workshop of the royal sculptor Thutmose. Upon hoisting the artifact from the sand and rubble they discovered what appeared to be the bust of a beautiful Egyptian woman with a slender neck and a blue headpiece that has only been donned by none other than Nefertiti. Her bust now rests in the home of the expedition’s funder, Jacques Simon.

Fact 9: 12 months later the bust of Nefertiti was flown to Germany where it was put on display at Berlin’s Neues Museum. The bust was even revered by Hitler himself! Upon looking at the bust he said: “I will never relinquish the head of the Queen”. The bust draws more than 500,000 visitors yearly.

Fact 10: Nefertiti was often depicted wearing beautiful tight fitting shear robes. Due to her connections to fertility cults she would also be depicted naked. She wore the crown of Hathor, which was a head piece made of cow horns, a sun disc, and plumes. She also wore the headdress of Mut, the vulture goddess.

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