Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was an Egyptian queen and the first of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great. The name means “beautiful companion”, while Meritmut means “Beloved of [the goddess] Mut”. She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and Hatshepsut. She was highly educated and able to both read and write hieroglyphs, a very rare skill at the time. She used these skills in her diplomatic work, corresponding with other prominent royalties of the time. Her lavishly decorated tomb is one of the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument there.

Queen Victoria’s Beautiful Birthday Fan

This amazing fan was gifted to Queen Victoria on her 39th birthday (24th May 1858) by Prince Albert. The fan was almost certainly made in France by  Madame Rebours, who had been granted a royal warrant by Victoria. It features Victoria’s monogram VR below by a crown, and swags of lilies-of-the-valley (among other flowers) and ribbons. During the Victorian era, flower symbolism became immensely popular .Since this fan was commissioned for Victoria’s birthday her ‘birth flower’ (those lilies-of-the-valley) decorates the fan extensively. 


1) Nefertari holding out her sekhem-sceptre presenting offerings in front of the God Atum.
2) Nephthys and Isis stand either side of a ram-headed God painted green like Osiris, hieroglyphs write “Osiris rests in Ra” (left) “Ra rests in Osiris”. Beyond the yellow division Nefertari stands looking to the left with her hands held out.

Tomb of Nefertari, Valley of the Queens, QV66, Luxor, Egypt.
Photograph by kairoinfo4u | flickr

Tomb of Nefertari

Nefertari Merymut ( meaning “beautiful companion, beloved of Mut”) is possibly the great granddaughter of Ay, the second to last king of the 18th dynasty. She was the main wife of Ramses II, and actually has a statue at Abu Simbel! She has a small temple dedicated to herself and the goddess Hathor, the goddess of feminine love and motherhood. Amazingly she has two statues that were the same size as those of her husband! Her tomb is in the Valley of the Queens, QV66. Her tomb is quite amazing because it’s basically a life sized copy of the Book of the Dead. There were scarabs, 30 shabti, pottery remains, rope, textiles, a cartouche of Ay in a chest, fragments of a pink granite sarcophagus, and her knees (only her knees wtf) inside of the tomb. Interestingly, a bit of pink granite with her name on it was found inside of her husband Ramses’ tomb as well….