Death of a Princess. The story of Princess Kaiulani is a somber tale of unfulfilled promise, dashed dreams, and a life cut tragically short.
Born 16 October 1875 during the reign of King Kalakaua, Victoria Kaiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiui Lunalilo was named for England’s Queen Victoria, a longtime friend to Hawaiian royalty. Her mother was Princess Miriam Likelike, sister to Kalakaua. It is through her mother that Kaiulani is descended from the first cousin of Kamehameha the Great. Her father was Scottish-born Archibald Cleghorn, one-time governor of Oahu.
At the age of 14, the Princess was sent to England to complete her education. After the death of King Kalakaua, his sister Queen Liliolukalani named her niece Kaiulani heir-apparent but all hope of acceding to the throne were dashed when Liliolukalani was forced to abdicate in 1893. The Princess returned to her native home in 1897 where she became a leader in social affairs and charitable enterprises.
I must have been born under an unlucky star," said Kaiulani, "as I seem to have my life planned for me in such a way that I cannot alter it." In 1898, while horseback riding in the mountains of Hawaii Island, she was caught in a rainstorm and fell ill. Finally, on 6 March 1899, Kaiulani died at her residence at Ainahau. She was only 23. Beautiful, tall, slender, and gracious, Kaiulani captured the hearts of all who met her. Her death stunned both her native people and foreigners with a deep grief and mourning that can only be compared to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
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