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Hatshepsut, 'King' of Egypt (1479-1457 BC)

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and his queen Ahmose Nefertari. She was married to her half brother, Thutmose II, perhaps to strengthen his claim to the throne. As Hatshepsut produced no heir, a son of Thutmose II by another wife inherited the throne as Thutmose III. He was probably very young when he became king, and Hatshepsut acted as his regent.

By the seventh year of the reign of Thutmose III, Hatshepsut had adopted the status of king. Unlike other female kings, Hatshepsut ruled for a considerable number of years. Her reign was prosperous, with expeditions to Punt, Byblos and Sinai commemorated in her mortuary temple. This structure, at Deir el-Bahari, is now one of the most famous monuments in Egypt.

By his twenty-second year, Thutmose III was ruling alone. It is not clear whether Hatshepsut died naturally or was removed. Nor is it clear whether she was buried in her tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Because she defied tradition to become king, Hatshepsut was not included in later lists of kings, and her name and image was removed from her monuments.

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Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99

Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99