Third wife of Thuthmosis IV (Tutmosis) and mother of Amenhotep III
Charles Woods

Queen Mutemwiya was a third queen of Thuthmosis IV. She does not appear to have been particularly high-ranking as a King's Wife as she does not appear on any of the King's monuments. She was the mother of the next king, Amenhotep III, and does in fact appear on his monuments. She is depicted on the Colossi of Memnon on the West Bank at Thebes which were originally standing at the entrance to Amenhotep’s mortuary temple. Mutemwiya also appears in the Temple of Luxor in the Birthing Room as the mother of Amenhotep. She is believed to have been buried at Thebes. Little is actually known about here origins or family connections and this has generated speculation over the years, some of which only recently seems to be rejected.

At about the time when Mutemwiya was married to the King, Thuthmosis IV, Egyptian and Mitannian interests were being compromised by the threat of the rising Neo-Hittite powers under a new and energetic King, Tudhadliyas II. This had prompted a visit by Thuthmosis IV to Mitanni in an effort to strengthen ties between two of the most powerful nations at the time and to consolidate an alliance between them against the new and rising Hittite empire builders.

Thuthmosis III had been unable to conquer or subdue the Mitannian/Hurrian alliance and an uneasy peace had existed between Mitanni and Egypt. It is thought that Thuthmosis IV wanted to cement relations into a more favorable alliance and had asked several times for the hand of one of Artatema’s daughters in marriage. However, despite what was a popular assumption held for many years by Egyptologists, there has never been the slightest indication or evidence that Artatema ever acceded to this request. Nevertheless, requests for a marriage alliance continued under Amenhotep with Artatema’s successor, the next king to occupy the Mitannian throne. He was Shutarna II, and he finally agreed to such an alliance. He sent his daughter to Egypt for marriage to Amenhotep III. Her name was the Princess Kilu-Hepa, and she was duly married, with huge ceremony, to Amenhotep III.

With Queen Mutemwiya now firmly out of the Mitannian equation, it only leaves Egyptologists to wonder that if she were not the Mitannian princess that they previously thought she was, then who was she? The question is still unanswerable, but there are some strong suggestions that she was a sister of Yuya and hailed from Akhmin with the rest of this powerful and influential family. If this is so, then she was not of royal birth. It would also mean that as the sister of Yuya, then Yuya and his wife were Amenhotep’s aunt and uncle, and that when he married the future Queen Tiy, she was in fact his first cousin.

Amenhotep III was believed to have been aged about 2 when his father, King Thuthmosis IV died. It has never been clear who took over the reigns of the government until he was old enough to rule in his own right. There is no indication that his Mother, Queen Mutemwiya took over as Regent. It is possible, therefore, that Yuya stepped into the breach, along with others, and ran the country until the young king was old enough to be married to his daughter, the future Queen Tiy.

This seems a logical conclusion to draw in the interim, but until further evidence comes to light, one can only regard this grey period of the early years of Amenhotep III with a very open mind.

Queen Mutemwiya
pharaohs i-p