Meketaten: Death of a Princess


Princess Meketaten (Mek-et-aten: "Behold the Aten" or "Protected by Aten") was born in year 2 or 3 of Amenhotep IV's (Akhenaten) rule. She was the second daughter of Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti.

In about year 6 of her fathers reign, she moved to Akhet-Aten with her parents and sisters; elder sister Meritaten, and her little sister, the baby Ankhesenpaaten. Her parents became known as Neferkheperure Wa'enre Akhenaten and Nefernefruaten Nefertiti. By year 10, Meketaten had three more little sisters; Nefernefruaten Ta-Sherit, Nefernefrure, and Setepenre

By year 13, Princess Meketaten, the much loved second daughter of the Royal Couple, dies. A carving in the royal tomb shows the family greiving the loss of Meketaten. But how did the 12 year old princess die?

Some have suggested that the presence of a baby at the mourning scene implies that the princess died in child birth. It was not all uncommon for a girl as young as 11 or 12 to be married. If a girl was capable of bearing children, she could be married. But, if she did die in childbirth, who was the father? The only male present at the scene is her father, Akhenaten himself. Could he have been the father? And what happened to the little prince or princess born to Meketaten?

Or maybe Meketaten didn't die in childbirth. There is some evidence of plague in Egypt at about the time of Meketaten's death. Could she have been a victim of disease?

Meketaten's death, while a crushing blow to the family, shaped the future of the dynasty. There are so many "what ifs?" in the Amarna period. What if Meketaten had lived, or, what if her child had been a prince, and he had lived?

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Dedicated to Molly. I told you Egypt was interesting!
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