Who's Who of Egyptian people, queens and family: Djedefre


4th Dynasty

When King Khnum-Khufu died there was dissent in the royal family and the succession was disputed. The Crown Prince, Kawab, had died; his wife, Hetepheres II married one of his brothers, Djedefre, who ascended the throne. Though the legitimacy of his claim has been disputed, Djedefre performed the funerary rites for Khnum-Khufu, the prerogative of a son and heir. Djedefre planned his own pyramid and funerary temple to the north of Giza, at Abu Rowash. There, huge excavations still testify to what would have been the massive scale of his monuments if he had lived to complete them. It is likely, however, that his reign was cut short; the powerful princes Ankhaf and Minkhaf, both of whom were to be viziers, supported the rival branch of the family that brought Khafre to the throne. Hetepheres II made her peace with the new line and lived on to the very end of the dynasty, c. 2500 B.C. A memorial of the reign of Djedefre is one of the finest royal portraits to survive from the period which produced the greatest portrait sculpture in the long history of Egypt - a magnificent head of the king in quartzite. He was the first king of Egypt to adopt the style 'Sa-Re', Son of Re.

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Last Updated: June 20th, 2011