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Ankhesenamun (ˁnḫ-s-n-imn, "Her Life Is of Amun"; c. 1348 – after 1324 BCE) was a queen of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. Born as Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and became the Great Royal Wife of her (half-)brother Tutankhamun.[1] The change in her name reflects the changes in Ancient Egyptian religion during her lifetime after her father's death. Her youth is well documented in the ancient reliefs and paintings of the reign of her parents.

She was probably born in year 4 of Akhenaten's reign and by year 12 of her father's reign she was joined by her three younger sisters. He possibly made his wife his co-regent and had his family portrayed in a realistic style in all official artwork.

Ankhesenamun was definitely married to one king - she was the Great Royal Wife of pharaoh Tutankhamun (who was also her half-brother). It is also possible that she was briefly married to Tutankhamun's successor, Ay, believed by some to be her maternal grandfather.[2] It has also been posited that she may have been the great royal wife of her father, Akhenaten, after the possible death of her mother and co-regent of Akhenaten's immediate successor, Smenkhkare.

Recent DNA tests released in February 2010 have also speculated that one of two late 18th dynasty queens buried in KV 21 could be her mummy. Both mummies are thought to be members of the ruling house by DNA.


Early life

Ankhesenpaaten was born in a time when Egypt was in transition (c. 1348 BC). Her father had abandoned the old deities of Egypt in favor of the Aten, a minor sun-god who was the physical Sun.

She is believed to have been born in Waset (present-day Thebes), but probably grew up in her father's new capital city of Akhetaten (present-day Amarna). The three eldest daughters – Meritaten, Meketaten, and Ankhesenpaaten – became the "Senior Princesses" and participated in many functions of the government and religion. Her birthdate is not yet known for certain.

Later life

She is believed to have been married first to her own father,[3] and is thought to have been the mother of the princess Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit (possibly by her father or by Smenkhkare) when she was twelve, although the parentage is unclear.[1]

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