Life and Death of Egyptian Queen Tiye, Mother of Akhenaten and Grandmother of King Tut

Queen Tiye’s family and early life.

Also known as Taia, Tiy or Tiyi, Queen Tiye was born in 1398 BC. The father; Yuya, was a provincial priest in the town of Akhmim and also acted as a commander of the royal chariots.

He owned a large chunk of land and was considered one of the wealthiest Egyptians of the time. Queen Tiye’s mother; Tjuya, who was also known as Thuya or Tjuyu, was a servant of the queen mother; Mutemwiya.


It is believed that due to their elevated status, the family lived in the palace. Queen Tiye is believed to have lived there even though she was not a royal herself.

History has it that she had a brother called Anen, who later became the second prophet of Amun.

Even though not much linkage can be done, scholars also believe Queen Tiye might have had another brother called Ay, who took over from Tutankhamun as pharaoh, after the latter’s death.

Queen Tiye would later get married to Amenhotep III. History records that they would later have at least 7 children, or they might have actually had more.

Their known kids were; Sitamun (Eldest daughter), Isis, Henuttaneb, Nebetah, Crown Prince Thutmose, Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten (Who succeeded his father as Pharaoh and was the husband of Nefertiti) and Smenkhkare.

Queen Tiye’s Nubian descents.

Queen Tiye’s parents, as some scholars would put it, were not Egyptian. This, they argued, could be attributed to the fact that their names didn’t sound Egyptian at all.


Some even attribute Tiye’s way of ruling to her Nubian descents saying it was custom to Nubian female rulers.

This theory, however, doesn’t have much backing as Egyptian women were also held in high regard as compared to other ancient cultures, hence no reason to attribute Queen Tiye’s mode of ruling to Nubian ways.


Queen Tiye was regarded as the most influential queen of all ancient Egypt’s time.

It is believed that apart from her wisdom, resilience and the influence she had on Egyptian courts, she was also the king’s most beloved.

She was the king’s right-hand adviser which would eventually earn her respect from within and across the borders.

She was the first queen of Egypt to have her name on official acts. Her name is also prominently found on her King’s monuments.

To prove even further the influence Queen Tiye had is the fact that her name was also written in a cartouche, which was only reserved for the kings.

Queen Tiye’s Death.

Queen Tiye is believed to have died in 1338 BCE, 12 years after the death of her husband. She was still a very important part of her son’s ruling, who was perceived as a rather?weak’ king.


During his reign, Egypt lost some of its territories and grew weaker as time went by.

It is even believed that the king, who was much into his newly found religion, left matters of the state to be run by his mother and wife; Nefertiti.

Queen Tiye’s death would eventually mean the downfall of the 18th dynasty.

Queen Tiye’s Burial and mummy.

Queen Tiye, as perceived by Egyptologists, was first buried in Akhenaten‘s tomb at Amarna.

This is attributed to some inscriptions which were just incomplete and were subject to various interpretations.

She was buried alongside her son and granddaughter, Meketaten. She was then re-buried in her husband’s tomb.

There is no much clear explanation to all this as the speculation that she was buried in Amenhotep III’s tomb was based on her Shabti dolls found there and nothing else.

Her mummy was discovered in 1898 by archaeologist Victor Loret in Amenhotep II’s tomb.

Much was known at first about the mummy, as archaeologists named her mummy “The elder lady” and that of her granddaughter, “the younger lady”.

It was after extensive research was conducted on the 18th dynasty that scholars came to an agreement that “The elder lady” was actually Queen Tiye.

In 2010, DNA samples formally identified “The elder lady” as Queen Tiye, with the hair found in Tutankhamun’s tomb being a match.

The mummy is currently at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.

Queen Tiye’s Bust and sculpture.

An alabaster statue of Queen Tiye was recently discovered in Luxor, Egypt, when archaeologists were trying to lift the statue of King Amenhotep III, which was buried in sand.

Her bust is lying at the Ägyptisches Museum in Berlin, Germany.

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