About Princess Kaiulani
As the last Hawaiian princess and heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Princess Kaiulani was renown for her beauty, intelligence, and determination to restore the Hawaiian monarchy. A descendant of Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s first king who unified the island chain, Princess Kaiulani was destined to be a great leader of the Hawaiian people.
Princess Kaiulani was born in 1875 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Growing up on the Ainahau Estate in what is now present day Waikiki, Princess Kaiulani was often surrounded by the most influential people in Hawaii’s history.
In 1889 at the age of 13 Princess Kaiulani left Hawaii to receive an education in England. She studied mathematics, literature, history, french, german, and latin. She was also passionate about art and displayed considerable talent.
While away in England, much turmoil was taking place in Hawaii. In 1891 her uncle, King Kalakaua, passed away and his sister Queen Liliuokalani had stepped into power. The queen made Kaiulani her heir and she became a crowned princess. In 1893 she received the news that the queen and the Hawaiian monarchy had been overthrown and Princess Kaiulani headed for the United States.
She made the trip to Washington D.C. and met with President Grover Cleveland in the White House to defend her people. She won the support of the president and returned to her studies. Unfortunately President Cleveland was unable to convince the U.S. Senate to restore the Hawaiian monarchy, and the Republic of Hawaii was formed.
In 1897 Princess Kaiulani returned to Hawaii suffering from eye problems and migraines. Her health worsened while on a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii where she contracted pneumonia. She returned to Oahu to recover, but her health declined even more. In August of 1898, when the annexation of Hawaii took place, the princess was devastated. Many believe this day was a turning point in the battle for her health and shortly after, in March 1899, Princess Kaiulani passed away due to inflammatory rheumatism.
Princess Kaiulani is interred at the Royal Hawaiian Mausoleum on Nu’uanu Avenue just outside historic downtown Honolulu.
Facts & Trivia
- Island: Famous People
- Fun Fact: She is often referred to as the "Peacock Princess" not only for her beauty, but for her love of the majestic animal. It is said she often enjoyed the company of a flock of peacocks which once belonged to her mother who passed away when she was just 11 yea
- Pop Culture: In 2009 the film Princess Kaiulani debuted at the Hawaii International Film Festival and featured notable actors to play the men surrounding the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.