The Lady Kiya, Wife of Akhenaten

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One name which appears connected to that of Akhenaten towards the later years of his reign was the lady Kiya. Texts describe her as being 'Much Loved' by the Pharaoh. Very little is known about her, she appears to have replaced Nefertiti as queen for a short time, before herself being replaced by Akhenaten's daughter Meritaten.

Canopic jar lids found in KV55 are thought to have been originally intended for Kiya. In the few representations which are known of her she is shown with this distinctive Nubian style of wig, perhaps indicating her ethnic origin. The jars had been hastily modified for a royal burial, thought to be that of Smenkhkare, by the addition of a royal cobra to the brow.

Given that there is no mention of Akhenaten having any male children with Nefertiti, and given Kiya's full title was "The wife and greatly beloved" of Akhenaten, and "the Child of the Living Aten", Kiya has been suggested as a possible candidate for Tutankhamun's burial. There s a famous wall relief showing Akhenaten apparently mourning someone who may have dies in childbirth, while an infant is carried away. It is pure conjecture to suppose that the woman was Kiya and the infant Tutankhamun.,

The fact that her titles were not always fully in line with those of 'chief' queens may indicate that she was not herself from the royal bloodline.


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