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Princess of Hawaii
Born (1839-04-07)April 7, 1839
Hilo, Hawaiʻi
Died October 2, 1895(1895-10-02) (aged 56)
Kalihi Valley, Oʻahu
Burial October 3, 1895
Mauna Ala Royal Mausoleum
Spouse Hiram Kahanawai
Full name
Virginia Kapoʻoloku Poʻomaikelani
House House of Kalakaua
Father Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole
Mother Kinoiki Kekaulike

Virginia Kapoʻoloku Poʻomaikelani (1839–1895) was a member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Hawaii.


Princess Poʻomaikelani.

She was born at Piʻihonua, Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island on April 7, 1839, the second daughter of Princess Kinoiki Kekaulike of Kauaʻi and High Chief Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole of Hilo.[1] She was the granddaughter of Kaumualiʻi, the last king of the island of Kauaʻi before being ceded to the unified Hawaiian Islands governed by Kamehameha I. She was also the stepdaughter of Queen Regent Kaʻahumanu.

She was elder sister of Victoria Kinoiki Kekaulike and younger sister of Queen Kapiʻolani, who married to King Kalākaua. Some sources give her different first names; for example Esther, Abigail or even Victoria. The situation was that the three sisters rarely used their Christian names.

On March 20, 1855, she married married Hiram Kahanawai, a steward of Queen Emma.[2] Poʻomaikelani and her husband served as in the household as retainers of Queen Emma. She was one of the trusted ladies-in-waiting for many years, but left Emma's employment to join her brother-in-law's court.[3] The couple did not have any children of their own but adopted and raised her nephew Prince Edward Abnel Keliʻiahonui, the second son of her sister Kekaulike.[4]

Her sister's husband became the king of Hawaiʻi in 1874 and she was granted the title of Princess and style of Her Royal Highness, in 1883 during Kalākaua's coronation. She was made Governor of Hawaiiʻi island in 1884 by her brother-in-law and was paid an annual salary of 3500 dollars per year.[5] She also served as President of the Board of Health in 1887.[6]

She was Guardian of the Royal Tombs at the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii from October 15, 1888 until her death. Kalākaua appointed her as president of the Board of Genealogy of Hawaiian Chiefs. Poʻomaikelani was kahili bearer during Kalākaua's official coronation.[7]


Suffering from paralysis in her right leg, Poʻomaikelani had been largely incapacitated for the last ten years of her life having to be carried about, especially to service at St. Andrew's Cathedral where she regularly attended. Her condition worsened over the years until she was unable to leave her house. She died at Kalihi Valley, Oahu, October 2, 1895, aged 56, two years after Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown. The cause of death was heart failure. After a funeral service at St. Andrew's, she was interred in the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii.[8][9][10] In 1910, after the completion of the separate Kalākaua Crypt, her casket was moved there from the main mausoleum building along with other members of the Kalākaua Dynasty.[11]



  1. ^ "Virginia Kapooloku Poomaikelani, (w)". Our Family History and Ancestry. Families of Old Hawaii. Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ Hawaiʻi State Archives (2006). "Kahanawai (k) – Kapooloku marriage record". Marriages – Oahu (1832–1910). Retrieved June 5, 2014 – via Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library. 
  3. ^ Queen Emma of Hawaii, Peter Kaʻeo (1976). Alfons L. Korn, ed. News from Molokai, letters between Peter Kaeo & Queen Emma, 1873–1876. The University Press of Hawaii. ISBN 978-0-8248-0399-5. 
  4. ^ Kamae, Lori (1980). The Empty Throne. Honolulu: Topgallant Publishing Co. pp. 39, 44. ISBN 978-0-914916-44-4. OCLC 7080687. 
  5. ^ Na kanawai o ka repubalika o Hawaii, p. 97
  6. ^ "Poomaikelani, Virginia K. office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  7. ^ The Hawaiian Kingdom. By Ralph S Kuykendall. 263
  8. ^ "Ending of the Useful Life of Princess Poomaikelani". The Hawaiian Star. October 3, 1895. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Princess Poomaikelani Dead". The San Francisco Call. October 15, 1895. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Funeral of Ex-Princess Poomaikelani – Interment in Mausoleum". The Hawaiian Gazette. October 4, 1895. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Weird Ceremonial of Monarchial Times Marked Transfer of Kalakaua Dynasty Dead to Tomb". The Hawaiian Gazette. Honolulu. June 28, 1910. p. 2. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Princess Victoria Kekaulike
Governor of Hawaiiʻi Island
Succeeded by
Ululani Baker