Who was the original cross-dressing queen?

She was the fifth ruler of the 18th Dynasty, and the daughter of Thutmose I and Queen Ahmose. As was common in royal families, she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, who had a son, Thutmose III, by a minor wife. When Thutmose II died in 1479 B.C. his son, Thutmose III, was appointed heir.

However, this woman was appointed regent due to the boy’s young age. They ruled jointly until 1473 when she declared herself pharaoh. Dressed in men’s attire (She dressed like a king, in traditional garb: the shendy kilt, the names headdress, and even wore a fake beard!), this queen administered affairs of the nation, with the full support of the high priest of Amon, Hapuseneb and other officials.

She ruled peaceably for almost 20 years and left behind more monuments and art than any Egyptian queen to come. She ordered expeditions to Punt in search of ivory, animals, and spices for trade. (these expeditions are documented in the walls of her temple). When she built her magnificent temple at Deir el Bahari in Thebes (pictured below) she made reliefs of her divine birth as the daughter of Amon.

She disappeared in 1458 B.C. when Thutmose III, wishing to reclaim the throne, led a revolt. Thutmose had her shrines, statues and reliefs mutilated.

Q: Who was this cross-dressing queen?

Deir el Bahari

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