There is much debate regarding the identity of Akhenaten's successor, Smenkhkare, who was traditionally believed to be an older brother of Tutankhamen. More recent scholarship indicates that Akhenaten shared authority at the end of his reign with a co-regent named Ankhkheprure Nefernefruaten. The first name (prenomen) of this individual was also the prenomen of the enigmatic Smenkhkare, while the second name (nomen) is identical to that of Akhenaten's pre-eminent wife, Nefertiti. It is possible that Nefertiti, like only three Egyptian queens before her, claimed the ultimate power, succeeding her husband on the throne.

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