Nefertiti is best known as the wife of Pharoah Amenhotep IV and for being involved with her husband in the establishment of the Aten cult. Amenhotep believed that there was only one god worthy of worship – the sun god Aten and therefore he and Nefertiti created a whole new religion and Egyptians were only to worship this god.
Amenhotep was to move the Egyptian capital to Akhenaten (modern day Amarna) and change his name to Akenaten and Nefertiti changed her name to Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti.
Nefertiti is believed to have been one of the most beautiful women ever to rule and her husband always displayed her as his equal. Many sculptures and busts have been found of her, some in the tomb of Tutankhamun (her half-brother).
The exact date of Nefertiti’s marriage is unknown, but during her marriage she had 6 children.
Much is known of Nefertiti from carvings and paintings on noble tombs and scenes at palaces in Akenaten. She is depicted alongside her husband in positions of power and authority that are normally only for the king. She has been shown riding a chariot, smiting the enemy and leading worship of Aten.
During the early years of Amenhotep IV reign, before the change of his name, he had a temple erected and dedicated to Nefertiti. This was The Mansion of the Benben. In paintings on the wall, she is depicted with her daughter Meritaten and Princess Meketaten and her throne decorated with pictures of captive enemies.
On the tomb of her steward Meryre II, she is seen seated in a kiosk with her husband and 6 daughters.
Around the 12th year of Akenaten’s rule, Nefertiti disappears from historical record and it is not known with certainty what happened to her.
She may have died at this time, but she may also have ruled as co-regent under the name Neferneferuaten.
There is also speculation that Pharoah Smenkhkare may have been Nefertiti and that she portrayed herself as a man.
Her daughter Ankhesenpaaten was to become the wife of Tutankhamen, the future Pharoah and Nefertiti’s half brother.