Queen Kapiolani

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Queen of the Hawaiian Islands
Queen Kapiolani, photograph by A. A. Montano (PPWD-15-7.024).jpg
Reign February 12, 1874 –
January 20, 1891
Coronation February 12, 1883, ʻIolani Palace[1][2]
Born (1834-12-31)December 31, 1834
Hilo, Hawaiʻi
Died June 24, 1899(1899-06-24) (aged 64)
Waikīkī, Hawaiʻi
Burial (1899-07-02)July 2, 1899[3]
Mauna ʻAla Royal Mausoleum
Spouse Benjamin Nāmākēhā
Full name
Julia Kapiʻolani Napelakapuokakaʻe
House House of Kalākaua
Father Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole
Mother Kinoiki Kekaulike
Religion Church of Hawaii[4][5]
Signature Kapiʻolani's signature

Queen Kapiʻolani (1834–1899) was married to King Kalākaua and reigned as Queen Consort of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Her full name was Kapiʻolani Napelakapuokakaʻe.[6][7]


Queen Kapiʻolani.

Kapiʻolani was born December 31, 1834 in Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island to High Chief Kuhio Kalanianaʻole of Hilo and High Chiefess Kinoiki Kekaulike of Kauaʻi, the daughter of King Kaumualiʻi, last King of an independent Kauaʻi before its amicable cession to Kamehameha the Great. She was named Kapiʻolani, after her great-aunt High Chiefess Kapiʻolani, who defied the goddess Pele in the name of Christianity.[4][8] Her name, Kapiʻolani, is composed of three words (ka pi'o lani) and means "The Heavenly Arch" or "The Royal Arch"[9]

Kapiʻolani's first marriage was to High Chief Bennett Nāmākēhā, who was more than thirty years older than Kapiʻolani. He was an uncle of Queen Emma on her father George Naʻea's side. This made her aunt by marriage to Queen Emma, who she served as her highest lady-in-waiting.[10] Kapiʻolani was the caretaker of Haku O Hawaiʻi, Prince Albert Kamehameha. Although it had been said that Queen Emma blamed Kapiʻolani for the child's death as he was under Kapiʻolani's care at the time, Queen Emma wrote Kapiʻolani a very kind reply in March 1863 to her letter, "Dear Kapiʻolani, my companion in the caring of my son. You were my son's favorite, your chest must be filled with hurt. You were our third companion... ."[11][12]

On December 8, 1863, Kapiʻolani remarried to Kalākaua in a quiet ceremony conducted by an Episcopal minister. Their wedding was heavily criticized since it fell during the time of mourning for King Kamehameha IV.[4][13] She and Kalākaua were childless so she and her sister Poʻomaikelani adopted, in the tradition of hānai, their sister Victoria Kinoiki Kekaulike's three sons. Kapiʻolani took David Kawānanakoa and Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole and Poʻomaikelani adopted Edward Abnel Keliʻiahonui.[14] In 1883, Kalākaua made Kapiʻolani's nephews princes of Hawaii with the style of Highness in honor of his coronation.[15][16]

Queen Kapiʻolani wearing Niʻihau necklace at Queen Victoria's 50th Jubilee celebration

In 1887, Queen Kapiʻolani traveled to London to attend Queen Victoria's 50th Jubilee celebration. Crown Princess Liliʻuokalani, King Kalākaua's sister, traveled with Kapiʻolani as her interpreter since though Kapiʻolani was brought up understanding English, she refused to speak anything but Hawaiian. The Hawaiian Royal family were treated as dignitaries, and were seated with the British Royal family in the front of Westminster Abbey.[17]

Queen Kapiʻolani established the Kapiʻolani Maternity Home, where Hawaiian mothers could receive care, as well as their newborn babies. It survives today as the Kapiʻolani Medical Center. Kapiʻolani Park in Waikīkī was named after the Queen by her husband Kalākaua. One of her noted compositions to Hawaiian music was a love song she wrote for her husband, Ka Ipo Lei Manu. Kalākaua died in San Francisco before he could hear the musical composition from his Queen.[citation needed]


After the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai`i's government and her eviction from ʻIolani Palace, Queen Kapiʻolani retired to her private residence Pualeilani in Waikīkī, dying there June 24, 1899 at age sixty-four.[13] She was interred in the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii along with her husband and the rest of the House of Kalākaua.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Liliuokalani 1898, pp. 100-105.
  2. ^ Bailey 1975, pp. 291-293.
  3. ^ Roger G. Rose, Sheila Conant and Eric P. Kjellgren. "Hawaiian standing kahili in the Bishop museum: An ethnological and biological analysis". Journal of the Polynesian Society. Polynesian Society: 273–304. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
  4. ^ a b c Allen 1995, p. 33.
  5. ^ Zambucka 2003, pp. 17-18.
  6. ^ Reed 1962, p. 1.
  7. ^ Some later sources call her Julia Kapiʻolani (Bailey 1975, p. 267; Kamae 1980, p. 39; Allen 1995, p. 33; Kanahele 1999, p. 130).
  8. ^ Liliuokalani 1898, p. 72.
  9. ^ Finding Fine Heart[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Kanahele 1999, pp. 130-131.
  11. ^ Kanahele 1999, p. 169.
  12. ^ Liliuokalani 1898, p. 50.
  13. ^ a b Peterson 1984, p. 204.
  14. ^ Webb & Webb 1962, p. 25.
  15. ^ Kamae 1980, pp. 53-54.
  16. ^ Honolulu Almanac and Directory. 1884. p. 18. Archived from the original on 2014-07-09.
  17. ^ Liliuokalani 1898, pp. 142-145.
  18. ^ Parker 2008, pp. 30-31.


Royal titles
Preceded by
Queen Emma
Consort of Hawaiʻi
Succeeded by
Prince John Owen Dominis
Preceded by
Queen Emma
Queen Dowager of Hawaiʻi
Succeeded by
Monarchy abolished