Meritaten, which means “The beloved of Aten”, was an Egyptian princess of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. She was the first-born of King Amenhotep IV (who a few years later would change his name to Akhenaten) and the Great Royal Wife, Nefertiti.
Her name means beloved of Aten. Her sisters are Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure, Setepenre.
It is possible that Meritaten was born in the first or second year of her father’s reign, in the city of Thebes. There were still three years left for the final rupture between the pharaoh and the priesthood of Amun, and the “exile” of the royal family and the court to a newly founded capital in Middle Egypt, to which the name of Akhetaten would be imposed.
During the first 14 years of her father’s reign, Meritaten was the second lady of the court and the most important woman in the country, only behind her mother.
She appears in countless representations accompanied by her parents and sometimes also by her younger sisters, and there are numerous sculptures of them that have attracted attention due to the oval shape of her head.
Precisely this strange anomaly has made us wonder if the princess was born with the head like this, was the product of a “fashion” at court or was simply an idealized representation.
The difficult plot of the last years of Akhenaten’s reign is complicated when the figure of Smenkhkare appears.
Smenkhkare had Meritaten as his great royal wife. It is believed that Smenkhkare was Nefertiti herself and the marriage was pure symbolism.
When Akhenaten died, it is thought that there was a brief reign of Smenkhkare alone, but that it was not longer than a year and a half.
After the death of Akhenaten, a very confused period opens, during which most of the protagonists of the previous era disappear.
In a very short time there is a new king on the throne, young Tutankhamun, and there is not the slightest trace of Smenkhkare or Meritaten.
It is possible that the latter had already died by then (she was only about 17 years old), since it is known that the great royal wife of Tutankhamun was not her, but the only one of his surviving sisters, Ankhesenpaaten.
It is not known where this queen was buried and her mummy has yet to be discovered.