We often forget that Hawaii, prior to its abduction by the McKinley Administration, was a Royal Kingdom.
Seriously, it was.
There had been kings in the island paradise prior to 1873, but Lunalilo, who was born on January 31, 1835, was the first elected king of Hawaii, and was called “The People’s King.” His real name was William Charles Lunalilo, and he was named for King William IV of the United Kingdom. Apparently the British monarch was a “great friend” of the Hawaiian Royal Family.
There’s a lot to his story, but since February begins tomorrow, and Thursday is a six sentence story day, and I’m not sure it’s going to turn into a love story, I thought I’d talk about Lunalilo’s sad tale of love.
As the heir to the throne, marriage plans for Lunalilo were less love and more affair of state. Gotta keep the blood royal, gotta make the right alliance, you know, all that stuff.
He was bethroded to Victoria Kamamalu, is cousin, and a popular choice with the masses.
All Hawaii was happy, well, all but her brothers. Seems her marriage to the king would cause her family’s standing to drop as her children would outrank her brothers’ children, and well, we just couldn’t have that now could we?
Lunalilo didn’t cave at first, and two attempts were made to get the nuptials done.
But, alas, it wasn’t to be.
The young prince moved on – to another relative, Lili’uokaliani, who would eventually become the last queen of Hawaii, but she broke off the engagement on the advice of her uncle, King Kamehameha IV, and married and American, John Owen Dominis.
Still on the hunt for a royal bride, Lunalilo, now king, proposed to cousin, Miriam, who said, “No,” and married a German.
Yet, he persisted.
He proposed to the widow of the late king, Queen Emma, but she declined due to her “devotion” to her late husband.
Finally, the boy gave UP and took a mistress; one Eliza Meek, a “hapa-haole” daughter of Captain Meek, the harbor pilot of Honolulu.
Victoria Kamamalu died unmarried and childless at the age of 27.
The King wrote Aleaoki, a song of unrequited love, in his grief.
Take a listen, it may explain why the boy remained single.
Lunalilo, king for 1 year and 25 days, made other bad choices in his life.
An alcoholic, he caught a cold which turned into into-pulmonary tuberculosis and killed him at the age of 39.
He too, was alone and childless.