Celebrate The Birth Of A Great Hawaiian Princess: Kaiulani

A conch shell bellows throughout Waikiki, reminiscent of traditional Hawaii, then a Hawaiian chant begins. Located at Kuhio and Kaiulani Avenue, the statue memorializing a great Hawaiian Princess stands to give a face to the legendary Kaiulani, and serves to preserve her memory and introduce her to unknowing tourists. A great princess on the cusp of becoming the next Queen of Hawaii had her title taken from her by the United States government. Although she never got the chance to rule her native land, she represented her kingdom with the utmost class and dignity, and she will always be remembered for the love and devotion to her Hawaiian. On October 16, like every year, there will be a ceremony held at the location of the Princess Kaiulani statue in Waikiki. After the opening conch shell blowing a traditional chant will lead into a lei-draping ceremony.

Princess Kaiulani

Born: October 16, 1875 Died: March 6, 1899 (aged 23)

Princess Kaiulani was the next in-line to the throne of the Hawaiian Monarchy. Her full name is Victoria Kaʻiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawēkiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn, named after Queen Victoria of the UK and her aunt, Anna Kaiulani. Her mother was sister to King Kalakaua, whose wife was and Queen Lilioukalani. Appointed as princess and heir to the throne by Liliuokalani, Kaiulani was trained in all the customs of her title. As a young girl, she was sent to England to receive her education. She was an accomplished painter who was surrounded by influential people like Robert Louis Stevenson (her neighbor in Honolulu) and her musical family, including Princess Likelike.

Responding to the overthrow 

During her time in England, Queen Lilliuokalani and the Kingdom of Hawaii faced troubled times. American businessmen forced an overthrow of the kingdom. Kaiulani, living across two oceans, felt helpless and disheartened. Her nation was in trouble, and there was little she could do about it. Kauilani made a statement to the press in England on March 2, 1893, in her first efforts to restore power to the Hawaiian Kingdom: “…I have patiently and in exile striven to fit myself for my return this year to my native country. …I am now told that [annexationist] Mr. [Lorrin] Thurston will be in Washington asking you to take away my flag and my throne. …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?” She was only 17 years old when she made her return to the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Death of a Princess

Unfortunately, despite the princess’ efforts, she was unable to turn things around and win back her kingdom. Shocked by the string of events that plagued her nation, Kaiulani died of inflammatory rheumatism on March 6, 1899. They say she died of a broken heart.

Read the full biography on Princess Kaiulani at The Kaiulani Project.

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