|Meresankh III in hieroglyphs|
|Queen Hetepheres II (left) embraces her deceased daughter Meresankh III (right) (MFA 30.1456)|
Her parents were brother and sister. She married the pharaoh Khafra of the Fourth dynasty of Egypt and bore him four sons: Nebemakhet, Niuserre, Khenterka and Duaenre as well as a daughter named Shepsetkau. She held the royal titles of King's Daughter and King's Wife, Great of Scepter.
When she died some time shortly after the reign of Khafra, Meresankh was buried in an extensively decorated mastaba tomb at Giza along with a rock-cut chapel (G7530-5440). Inscriptions on the tomb provide both the time of her death and the date for her funeral, which followed some 272 days after her death. She apparently died during the first regnal year of an unnamed king, possibly the pharaoh Menkaure.
This tomb was originally planned for her mother Hetepheres II, but she instead donated it for her daughter's use—which suggests that Meresankh's death was sudden and unexpected. Hetepheres also provided her daughter with a black granite sarcophagus decorated with palace facades for Meresankh's burial.
Her sarcophagus and skeleton are today located in the Cairo Museum; the latter reveals that she was 1.54 metres (5'1") tall and between 50–55 years at her death. An anthropological study suggested, that she might have suffered from bilateral silent sinus syndrome .
The tomb also contained a set of the earliest known canopic jars. A limestone statue depicting Queen Hetepheres embracing her late daughter Meresankh was found in her tomb and is today located in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Meresankh III's Children
The children of Meresankh and Khafre include:
- Prince Nebemakhet Buried in Mastaba 8172. His titles include scribe of the (divine) book, elder of the snwt-house of his father, chief justice and vizier, hereditary prince, king's son of his body, chief lector-priest, khet-priest of the Great One, khet-priest of (?) Temp. Khephren to Menkaure or a little later. In the mastaba Duaenre, and Niuserre are mentioned. As well as a brother named Ankhemre. Nebemakhet's wife was named Nubhotep, Prophetess of Hathor Mistress-of-the-Sycamore in all her places, etc.
- Prince Duaenre Mastaba G5110 Vizier of Menkaure. Possibly the father of vizier Babaef.
- Prince Kenterka. Mentioned in Meresankh's tomb. Khenterka is assumed by some to be a son of Meresankh III.
- Prince Niuserre (A) (Ny-user-Re-ankh (?) is mentioned in Meresankh's tomb) King's son of his body, Chief lector-priest of his father, Treasurer of the King of Lower Egypt, etc. Middle to end of Dyn. IV. (Unfinished Rock cut tomb in central field)
- Prince Ankhemre King's son of his body. Mentioned in the inner chapel of his brother Nebemakhet.
- Princess Shepsetkau (mentioned in Nebemakhet's Mastaba).
- Meresankh III
- Tyldesley, Joyce. Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson. 2006., p.45. ISBN 0-500-05145-3
- Tyldesley, p.48
- The Queens of Egypt's 4th Dynasty
- Meresankh III
- The Tomb of Meresankh III (G 7530-40) at Giza
- Finding the Pharaohs
- Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson (2004), p.60
- Habicht ME, Eppenberger PE, Galassi FM, Rühli FJ, Henneberg M: Queen Meresankh III – the oldest case of bilateral Silent Sinus Syndrome (c. 2620/10 - 2570 BC)?. Anthropologie (CZ), Vol 56 (2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.26720/anthro.17.09.25.2
- Tyldesley, p.48
- Dodson & Hilton, p.57