Queen Tiye is regarded as the most powerful woman in the history of ancient Kemet (Egypt).
She was Yuya and Tjuyu’s daughter. She married Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III and became his Great Royal Wife. She was also Akhenaten’s mother and Tutankhamun’s grandmother, as well as Ay’s sister.
Tiye was a strong woman during her husband’s and son’s reigns. Amenhotep III was a powerful ruler. Tiye became her husband’s closest counsel and confidante. She was able to acquire the respect of international dignitaries because she was wise, intelligent, tough, and fierce. Foreign leaders were willing to work with her directly. She remained involved in international affairs and was the first Egyptian queen whose name was written on official documents.
When Akhenaten took the throne, Tiye may have continued to advise him. Her son’s correspondence with Tushratta, Mitanni’s king, reveals her political clout at court. Tushratta wrote directly to Tiye in Amarna’s letter to reminisce about his good ties with her then-deceased spouse and express his desire to maintain amicable contacts with her son, Akhenaten.
Amenhotep III died in the Valley of the Kings in Year 38 or Year 39 of his reign (1353 BC/1350 BC); nevertheless, Tiye is known to have outlived him by up to 12 years. Tiye was still named as queen and beloved of the monarch in the Amarna letters and inscriptions. The Amarna letter EA 26, addressed to Tiye, comes from Akhenaten’s reign. She is known to have lived in Akhetaten (Amarna), Akhenaten’s new capital, and is depicted at a dinner table with Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and their family on the walls of Huya’s tomb – a “steward in the house of the king’s mother, the great royal wife Tiyi” – and then was led by the king to under a shade.
Both she and her granddaughter Meketaten are named for the last time in an inscription dated around November 21 of Year 12 of Akhenaten’s reign (1338 BC). They are believed to have passed very soon after that day. This is supported by the fact that the shrine that Akhenaten built for her – which was later discovered in tomb KV55 in Thebes after being brought from Amarna – contained the later form of the Aten’s name, which was only used after Akhenaten’s Year 9.
If Tiye, also known as Taia, Tiy, and Tiyi, died soon after Year 12 of Akhenaten’s reign (1338 BC), she was born about 1398 BC, married to Amenhotep III when she was 11 or 12 and became a widow when she was 48 to 49 years old.
Victor Loretin discovered her chamber in 1898, and DNA tests conducted by a team from the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the National Geographic Society, and Siemens in 2010 verified that the beautiful “Elder Lady” discovered in KV35 was Queen Tiye. The woman was also Tutankhamun’s grandmother, Akhenaten’s mother, and the mother of the “Younger Lady” discovered in KV35, according to the research.
Amenhotep and Tiye had two sons: Thutmose, the Ptah High Priest, and Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, the pharaoh who brought about a religious revolution.
In the temple in Sedeinga, Nubia, Tiye was worshipped as the goddess of Hathor-Tefnut. There were a lot of shrines built in her honor. In the 12th year of Amenhotep’s reign, an artificial lake was made for the queen.
Tiye arranged for Amenhotep’s burial in the Valley of the Kings, in a tomb known today as WV22, when he died after a 39-year reign. Tiye died in Akhenaten’s reign, maybe in the 12th year (c.1338 BC). It’s possible that she died as a result of an outbreak. At the same time, many other historical figures vanished from the pages of history, precipitating the 18th Dynasty’s demise.