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Text from Wikkipedia
Photos from" Princess Kaiulani`
by Kristin Zambucka

Victoria Kaʻiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn (1875–1899) was heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii and held the title of crown princess. Kaʻiulani became known throughout the world for her intelligence, beauty and determination. After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, she visited the United States to help restore the Kingdom. Although reluctant to participate in politics, she made many speeches and public appearances denouncing the overthrow of her government and the injustice toward her people.

Kaiulani as a baby


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Victoria Kaʻiulani was born October 16, 1875 in Honolulu. Through her mother, Kaʻiulani was descended from High Chief Kepookalani, the first cousin of Kamehameha the Great on the side of Kamehameha's mother, Kekuiapoiwa II. Her mother was also a sister of King Kalākaua and Queen Liliuokalani. Kaʻiulani's father was Archibald Scott Cleghorn, a Scottish financier from Edinburgh and the last Royal Governor of Oʻahu. She was baptized Christmas Day, 1875 at St. Andrew's Pro Cathedral.[2] Princess Ruth Keelikōlani stood as her godmother. Kaʻiulani was named after her aunt Anna Kaiulani who died young, and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, whose help restored the sovereignty and independence of the Kingdom of Hawaii during the reign of Kamehameha III.


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Her name comes from ka ʻiu lani which means "the highest point of heaven" or "the royal sacred one" in the Hawaiian language.[3] Upon her birth, Kaʻiulani was gifted the estate of Ainahau in Waikiki by her godmother. Kaʻiulani inherited Ainahau at the age of 11 upon the death of her mother.


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In 1881, King Kalākaua tried to arrange a marriage between Kaʻiulani and Japan's Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito in hopes of creating an alliance between Japan and the Kingdom of Hawaii. However, the prince declined, as he was already pre-arranged to marry a Japanese noble lady, Arima Yoriko. In 1894, Queen Liliuokalani wrote to her niece to marry one of the three: Prince David Kawānanakoa, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, or Prince Komatsu Akihito (then studying in London), the half-brother of Higashifushimi Yorihito. She replied to her aunt that she would prefer to marry for love unless it was necessary to protect the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. On February 3, 1898, she declared her engagement to Prince David Kawānanakoa, but her early death ended the hope of marriage.


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Because Princess Kaʻiulani was second in line to the throne after her elderly and childless aunt, the young girl was expected to eventually become Queen. King Kalākaua, Queen Kapiolani, Cleghorn, and the Princess talked about the issue and determined the Princess should pursue a British education. In 1889, at the age of 13, Kaʻiulani was sent to Northamptonshire, England to be given a private education at Great Harrowden Hall. She excelled in her studies of Latin, Literature, Mathematics, and History there and took classes in French, German, and sports (mostly tennis and cricket). In 1892, Kaʻiulani made a new start by moving to Brighton where she was chaperoned and tutored by Mrs. Rooke who set up a curriculum including German, French and English. This village by the sea pleased the princess, renewing her enthusiasm.[7]She continued to study in England for the next four years, despite originally being told that she would only be there for one year. Her overseers from Hawaii had planned for her to take a trip around Europe and had even arranged for her to have an audience with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, following the overthrow of her Aunt, Queen Liliʻuokalani, on January 17, 1893 by local businessmen, all plans were cancelled and she went to New York


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During her absence, much turmoil occurred back in Hawaii. King Kalakaua died in 1891, and Princess Lydia Liliʻuokalani became Queen. Liliʻuokalani immediately appointed Kaʻiulani as her heir, and Kaʻiulani became the Crown Princess. In 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown and the new government attempted to become a part of the United States. The news arrived to Kaʻiulani on January 30, 1893 in a short telegram that said: "'Queen Deposed', 'Monarchy Abrogated', 'Break News to Princess'".

Kaʻiulani then made a statement to the press in England:

"Four years ago, at the request of Mr. Thurston, then a Hawaiian Cabinet Minister, I was sent away to England to be educated privately and fitted to the position which by the constitution of Hawaii I was to inherit. For all these years, I have patiently and in exile striven to fit myself for my return this year to my native country. I am now told that Mr. Thurston will be in Washington asking you to take away my flag and my throne. No one tells me even this officially. Have I done anything wrong that this wrong should be done to me and my people? I am coming to Washington to plead for my throne, my nation and my flag. Will not the great American people hear me?"[8]

She referred to Lorrin A. Thurston, who was touring the United States promoting its annexation of Hawaii.[9] Kaʻiulani decided to take action and traveled to the United States herself the following month. Upon arrival on American shores, although shy by nature, she addressed the press in public with these words:

"Seventy years ago, Christian America sent over Christian men and women to give religion and civilization to Hawaii. Today, three of the sons of those missionaries are at your capitol asking you to undo their father’s work. Who sent them? Who gave them the authority to break the Constitution which they swore they would uphold? Today, I, a poor weak girl with not one of my people with me and all these ‘Hawaiian’ statesmen against me, have strength to stand up for the rights of my people. Even now I can hear their wail in my heart and it gives me strength and courage and I am strong - strong in the faith of God, strong in the knowledge that I am right, strong in the strength of seventy million people who in this free land will hear my cry and will refuse to let their flag cover dishonor to mine!"[10]


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The pro-annexation press of the time often treated Kaʻiulani with contempt, referring to her in print as a half-breed, or calling her "dusky", although she did not receive the blatantly racist treatment repeatedly given her Aunt. (Typical of the time, "positive" accounts of the Princess appearance often tried to emphasize what was thought to be "white" about her, although her "British" half was invoked negatively on occasion by American writers fearing Great Britain was a rival for possession of Hawaii.) As she traveled across the United States following her education, the real Princess surprised open-minded members of the press. Instead of an unmannered caricature "heathen" described by enemies of the Kingdom of Hawaii, journalists and the public were confronted by a modern royal princess wearing elegant gowns and speaking English (or Hawaiian, French or German). She traveled through New York City and Boston where she attended various social events, many in her honor. She then went to Washington DC and met with President Grover Cleveland and his wife at the White House. She made a good impression, and Cleveland expressed concern for Hawaii's plight. Kaʻiulani felt encouraged something would be done and returned to England. However, when Cleveland brought Kaʻiulani's case to Congress, while the United States Senate did not proceed with annexation, it refused to restore the monarchy. The situation in Hawaii did not improve, and Kaʻiulani was deeply disappointed. Over the next few years, Kaʻiulani remained in Europe. There, she received news in 1894 that her childhood friend, author Robert Louis Stevenson,[11] had died and that a new Republic of Hawaii had been established. Her health slowly deteriorated. Kaʻiulani's health worsened when she learned that her half-sister, Annie Cleghorn, had died in 1897 and her guardian from England, Theophilus Harris Davies, had also died. The Princess suffered eye problems and developed migraines following the overthrow of the Monarchy (although one such headache kept her from participating in a charity event in Paris, where a devastating fire killed scores of society women). Numerous documented symptoms may indicate she suffered from thyroid disease, which would help explain her early death.


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She was a popular subject of photographs.
Kaʻiulani returned to Hawaii in 1897. The return to a warmer climate did not help her health. She continued to deteriorate as she struggled to readjust to the tropical climate of the Hawaiian islands. However, she continued to make public appearances at the urging of her father.

With the approval of Queen Liliʻuokalani and Queen Dowager Queen Kapiolani and in compliance with the last Hawaiian constitution, Princess Kaʻiulani and Prince Kawānanakoa announced their engagement on February 3, 1898.[12]

She was now a private citizen of the Republic of Hawaii, and on August 12, 1898 became citizen of the Territory of Hawaii as the annexation finally took place. During the Annexation ceremony, the Princess and her aunt, Liliʻuokalani, along with other members of the royal family and with the heads of every Hawaiian political party, wore funeral attire and shuttered themselves within Washington Place, protesting what they considered an illegal transaction. "When the news of Annexation came it was bitterer than death to me," Princess Kaʻiulani, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It was bad enough to lose the throne, but infinitely worse to have the flag go down..."[13]


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Death [edit]

In 1898, while on a horse ride in the mountains of Hawaii Island, Kaʻiulani was caught in a storm and came down with a fever and pneumonia. Earlier she had caught cold from swimming while on the Big Island, and this worsened matters. Kaʻiulani was brought back to Oahu where her health continued to decline. She died on March 6, 1899 at the age of 23 of inflammatory rheumatism. She was interred in Honolulu's Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii. Her father also said that he thought that since Hawaii was gone, it was fitting for Kaʻiulani to go as well.


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Last edited by Inda
Thank you for sharing this material Inda.
I have been in Hawaii and I know the history of the Hawaiian royalty and their tragic and brutal end.
Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures.


Iolani palace

David Kalākaua shared the dream of Kamehameha V to build a palace, and eagerly desired the trappings of European royalty. He commissioned the construction of ʻIolani Palace. In later years, the palace would become his sister's makeshift prison under guard by the forces of the Republic of Hawaii, the site of the official raising of the U.S. flag during annexation, and then territorial governor's and legislature's offices. It is now a museum.
Last edited by yoko

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