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Princess of the Hawaiian Islands
Likelike, photograph by J. J. Williams (PP-98-9.013).jpg
Born (1851-01-13)January 13, 1851
Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaii
Died February 2, 1887(1887-02-02) (aged 36)
ʻĀinahau, Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaii
Burial February 27, 1887[1]
Mauna ʻAla Royal Mausoleum
Spouse Archibald Scott Cleghorn
Issue Princess Victoria Kaʻiulani
Full name
Miriam Likelike Kekāuluohi Keahelapalapa Kapili
House Kalākaua
Father Caesar Kapaʻakea
Mother Analea Keohokālole

Miriam Likelike Kekāuluohi Keahelapalapa Kapili[2] (January 13, 1851 – February 2, 1887) was a Princess of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, sister of the last two ruling monarchs, mother of Princess Kaʻiulani, last heir to the throne, and mistress of the ʻĀinahau estate. She shared the same name with Likelike, an earlier Hawaiian chiefess.


She was born January 13, 1851 in Honolulu, Oʻahu. Her mother was High Chiefess Analea Keohokālole and father was High Chief Caesar Kaluaiku Kapaʻakea. She was the youngest sister of James Kaliokalani, David Kalākaua, Lydia Liliʻuokalani, Kaiminaʻauao and Anna Kaʻiulani, and the older sister of William Pitt Leleiohoku II. Because Likelike was not in the best of health as a child, she was sent to live in the dry climate of Kona on the island of Hawaii where she was hānai to a chiefly couple there. Like many of her siblings, she was most likely given in hānai to a family in Kona. According to Sammy Amalu, Likelike was brought up in the household of Peleuli, daughter of High Chief Kalaʻimamahu, half-brother of Kamehameha I, and was raised alongside Miriam Auhea Kekāuluohi Crowningburg.[3][4]

At the age of 6, she returned to Honolulu and remained there until her marriage. Likelike was educated by Roman Catholic sisters, then by Maria Ogden and finally by Lydia Bingham at the Kawaiʻahao Seminary.[5] Her classmates at Kawaiʻahao included Annie Palekaluhi Kaikioʻewa and Lily Auld.[6] Originally betrothed to Albert K. Kunuiakea, an illegitimate son of Kamehameha III, she broke off the engagement to marry someone else.[7]

On September 22, 1870 she married Archibald Scott Cleghorn, a businessman from Scotland almost twice her age. The wedding was at her sister's house, Washington Place.[8] Archibald was 35 and Likelike was 19. Like her sister Lydia's marriage to John Owen Dominis, her marriage with Cleghorn did not always run smoothly. Victorian gentlemen expected to be the lord of their castle, their servants, their children, and even their wives. But Hawaiian nobility, aliʻi, male or female, were raised to rule others. Her husband could be blustery and demanding. The princess simply returned to Big Island of Hawaii and refused to come back. She even served as Governor of the island from March 1879 to September 1880.[9]

Princess Likelike and her husband.

In August 1883 she wrote the strongest letter to her husband from her Big Island retreat:

You always blame me in everything and I am getting tired of it. I will have to kill myself then you won't have me to growl at all the time. I think we are better you don't love me and I don't love you so I will simply say, 'God bless the good.

As dramatic as the letter sounds, she returned to Oʻahu. She gave birth to a daughter, Princess Kaʻiulani, 5 years after their marriage, who would be the only Kalākaua of her generation. In June 1877, two years after her daughter Kaʻiulani's birth, Likelike had a miscarriage while on a ship headed toward San Francisco, California. She would never conceive another child. From that time Kaʻiulani became the focus her life and the future of the kingdom she might one day inherit. As Kaʻiulani's mother she could be willful at times. In an early "thank you" note to her godmother, Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani, Kaʻiulani wrote:

Dear Mama Nui,

Thank you for the nice hat you sent me. It fits so nicely Mama wanted it, but I would not let her have it. Thank you for the corn and watermelons, they do taste so good. Are you well? With much love from your little girl, Kaʻiulani.

PS. I want you to give Miss Barnes (her governess) a native name

Not surprisingly another letter followed, the angry Kaʻiulani wrote:

Dear Mama Nui,

I want another hat. Mama Likelike has taken the one you sent me. Are you better now? When are you coming coming home? With much love. From your little girl, Kaʻiulani.

Likelike was third-in-line to the throne behind her brother William Pitt Leleiohoku II and her sister Liliʻuokalani until Leleiohoku's death which elevated her to second-in-line to the throne and her daughter as third-in-line.

Likelike was vivacious and well-liked, and her home was opened to important people from all over the world. She had a reputation of being a kindly, gracious hostess in almost every country of Europe and almost every state of the union. She would always be up with the latest fashions, ordering dresses and clothing from Paris. Princess Likelike, Liliʻuokalani, Leleiohoku and Kalākaua were known as "Hawaii's First Family of Musicians." She could be quite imperious and quick-tempered. For example, she once smacked a groom with a whip for not keeping the carriage properly polished.

The cause of the princess' death is still unknown; she is said to have simply taken to her bed and refused all food. In mid January 1887, a large school of fish called 'āweoweo was seen off the coast of the island of Hawaii. The massing of the bright red fish close to shore was considered an omen of death for members an aliʻi family. On February 2, 1887, Princess Likelike died at age 36, before her daughter reached her teenage years. Some people have asserted that she did this to appease the anger of Pele, goddess of volcanoes. It was said in her last hours she predicted that Kaʻiulani would never marry and never become Queen. This prophecy later became true. There were rumors that she was prayed to death by a powerful ʻanāʻanā.[citation needed]


Likelike Highway, historic Likelike Drive Inn and Likelike Elementary School bear the late princess' name.


Likelike and her siblings are recognized by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame as the Na Lani ʻEhā (The Heavenly Four) for their patronage and enrichment of Hawaii's musical culture and history.[10][11]



  1. ^ David W. Forbes, ed. (2003). Hawaiian national bibliography, 1780–1900. 4. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 249–250. ISBN 0-8248-2636-1. 
  2. ^ Forbes, David W., ed. (1998). Hawaiian National Bibliography, 1780–1900: 1881–1900. 4. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-8248-2636-9. OCLC 123279964. 
  3. ^ Kapiikauinamoku (1956). "Peleuli II Brought Up In Kamehamehaʻs Court". in The Story of Maui Royalty. The Honolulu Advertiser, Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ Kapiikauinamoku (1955). "Likelike Was Cherished By Kamehameha Dynasty". in The Story of Hawaiian Royalty. The Honolulu Advertiser, Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ Apple, Russ; Apple, Peg (September 22, 1970). "This Day In Our Hawaiian Heritage". Honolulu-Star Advertiser. Honolulu. p. 20. Retrieved July 4, 2018 – via (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "A Hawaiian Chief Dies of the Asthma". The Honolulu Advertiser. Honolulu. August 8, 1909. p. 6. Retrieved July 4, 2018 – via (Subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ "At Rest". The Independent. Honolulu. March 11, 1903. p. 2. 
  8. ^ Royal Ark
  9. ^ "Likelike, Princess office record". digital archives. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  10. ^ "About Us: Patron of Hawaiian Music Culture". Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017. 
  11. ^ Scott, Marjorie J. (September 8, 1995). "Contributions of royal family recognized". The Honolulu Advertiser. Honolulu. p. 17. Retrieved July 4, 2018 – via (Subscription required (help)). 
  • Linnea, Sharon, Princess Ka'iulani: Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People, Eerdmans Books for Young, 1999, ISBN 0-8028-5088-X

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Samuel Kipi
Royal Governor of Hawaii Island
Succeeded by
Victoria Kinoiki Kekaulike