A Real Hawaiian Princess Ka'iulani

The Princess as a child
The Princess as a child

A movie is being released called Princess Kaiulani . It is about one of Hawaii’s most revered and beloved royalty.

Victoria Kawekiu Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapala Ka'iulani was born in 1875 to Princess Miriam Likelike and Archibald Cleghorn. Her father was a prominent Honolulu businessman who was born in Edinburgh Scotland. She was in line to be the next heir to the Hawaiian thrown following Queen Lili'uokalani.

Ka'iulani was often pursued by eligible bachelors from the nobility and the upper class of the European society. She had exotic beauty that was admired by many including Robert Louis Stevenson. Ka'iulani sailed to England, was taught many languages, social graces, literature, and other subjects. She became the first member of the Hawaiian royalty to receive the kind of training traditionally given to the children of European monarchs in preparation for ascending the throne.

Hawaiians considered Ka'iulani as "Our Last Hope" when annexation seemed imminent. Ka'iulani went to Washington and spoke to the president of the United States on behalf of her people to help stop the annexation. She showed courage, diplomacy, grace, compassion, dignity and internal strength which made her an amazing role model for young women.

She lost her energy after annexation and sought to get far away from Honolulu with the arrogance of the new government and its atmosphere of swaggering American soldiers. Ka'iulani irresponsibly went horse riding too often in the chilly wind and rain. Doctors diagnosed her condition as rheumatism of the heart and she died March 6, 1899, surrounded by her heartbroken father, friends and relatives.

The movie "Princess Kaiulani" is the true story of a Hawaiian princess' attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.

I am really looking forward to watching this movie to see how well they portray the princess. There was some controversy over the name of the movie. It was supposed to be released with the name "The Barbarian Princess", but later was changed due to the negative connotation.

The actress chosen to play Princess Ka'iulani is Q'orianka Kilcher. She will be wearing replicas of original pieces worn by the princess and authentic costumes reflecting the late 19th century. Kilcher was born in Germany and moved to Hawaii with her family at age 2. She is a mixture of Peruvian, French, Spanish, German, Quechua and Huachipaeri.

Kilcher expressed her love of the movie and said "my hope is that this film will spark people's interest in wanting to learn about Hawaii's history and the overthrow of the monarchy. It seems like it's a story not too many people are aware of because it's been pushed under the rug. So, I'm excited for it to be not only seen here in the states, but around the world.

Here are some excerpts from the score performed by the incredible cast that took part in the show. "The Last Princess", book and lyrics by Larry Johnson, music

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Comments 30 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you Pamela. I will have to use the tracker too. I appreciate your posting it.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Hello, Elayne001, I haven't used a tracker before, so I tried it out just now by posting this hub of yours to my blog elsewhere. I already made a comment above months ago. This was a great hub you did.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks raisingme for your fine comments about the Princess Ka'iulani movie. I do try to watch my spelling.


raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

It sounds like a must see. Thank you for giving this movie your attention and for bringing to the attention of others. And well done on the spelling, my goodness!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

glad you like the movie Pamela. My husband even liked it.

thanks for your comments dashingclaire. I'm am also glad hey still speak Hawaiian and English. It is very sad when a language is lost.


dashingclaire profile image

dashingclaire 6 years ago from United States

English and Hawaiian are both the official languages of Hawaii. So happy the indigenous people got to keep the language. Wonderful hub got me interested in the movie.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

I really enjoyed the movie. I saw it three days ago. It was so artistically done. For instance, the way the writer weaved the seashells into the story was very romantic. What little girl doesn't love to gather seashells? So I know my granddaughter will love the show when she's just a little older.

Thank you for a great article. And that photo you have posted of the princess as a little girl, I really like that, too. The actress is wearing clothes just like that in the movie when she is depicting the princess at the age of a ten or eleven-year-old.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks so much Ixxy. I can't hardly say her name once, let alone five times and fast. But I'd love to hear you do it!

I appreciate your comments. Aloha!


lxxy profile image

lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

"Victoria Kawekiu Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapala Ka'iulani"

Say that five times fast! And I thought the volcano's name was hard. ;)

I am unaware of this history, but I am glad you have brought it to my attention. I suppose Hawaii would definitely be another state that was added to the Union under difficult circumstances.

Great use of media, and great writing.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I'd love to hear what you think about it FrankiesGirl. I especially liked the costumes and scenery in the movie, Princess Ka'iulani.


FrankiesGirl6Yr profile image

FrankiesGirl6Yr 6 years ago from South Carolina

Fantastic Hub!!Can't wait to see the movie!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

You are so kind HealthyHanna. Thanks for your comments. I would love to hear what you think of the movie Princess Ka'iulani too.


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

I have a nephew living in Hawaii and I have known the political undercurrent and I haven't known why. I am looking forward to seeing the movie. I'm glad to know you like the presentation of the film.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I saw the movie last night - it's first night in Hawaii. I loved the movie - it was beautifully done. I felt a bit uncomfortable in a few scenes, especially when the princess and her friend had very passionate kisses for a bit too long I thought. It was a bit too personal to show for a Princess. The actress was very good who played Princess Ka'iulani. In fact, she was amazing. I wss left with a feeling of remorse that Hawaii was taken over in such a fashion. It is good that President Clinton apologized to Hawaii for what happened, but it was a bit late to be really effective. It seems that more needs to be done to make up for the injustice. The film was very revealing about who was to blame for much of the takeover. They were the children of the missionaries who brought Christianity to Hawaii. They only the money to be made and disregarded the feelings and rights of the Hawaiian people. I hope this film will educate more on this important story in our history. Aloha!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

What a fascinating story! I wonder if the movie will ever be shown here?

I enjoyed reading Michener's Hawaii. Princess Ka'iulani's story is even more fascinating because it's a true story.

Thank you for sharing Elayne!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Hi LianaK. Wish you were here - we could go to the movie, Princess Ka'iulani together. I'm sure we would have a good time.


LianaK profile image

LianaK 6 years ago

What a beautiful princess. I'm excited to see the movie. More to learn about the annexation. Great hub.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Alright JannyC. I'd love to see you do the hula. I took lessons for a while and got pretty good, but it has been a while!


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

Fascinating. I have always been drawn to hawaii and its native culture. I am a secret hula dancer shhh


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

That is so true reddog1027 and unfortunate. I appreciate your comments and we can share notes after we have seen the movie.

@Kendall - So right about that. People can be very judgemental without knowing all the facts.


Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA

I enjoyed this hub! I remember reading about the annexation of Hawaii a few years ago. I wish that school taught more American history. It would be valuable knowledge for school kids to know when and why states were added and if that state had a history that separated them from the others.


reddog1027 profile image

reddog1027 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Thanks for a slice of history I knew nothing about. The gobbling up of indigenous people and their land by Western Civilization has left scars around the globe. I look forward to the movie's release.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

@Nellieanna - I too was shocked when I found out about the annexation of Hawaii and now that I live here, I feel it every day. Some people are very bitter about it even to this day and want their land back. I hardly blame them.

@drbj - She was a beautiful girl with much potential but who knows what might have become of Hawaii had USA not acquired it. Surely some other country would have. It is truly a sad story and one all Americans should be aware of.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Mahalo, Ruth Elayne, for a beautiful and well-written hub about Princess Ka'iulani, her beauty and determination.

Mahalo as well for the expose of the shameful way in which your beautiful country was annexed. Seems like the lack of transparency by our government is not something brand new. Hope to visit Hawaii again soon. Aloha.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Elayne - thank you for bringing this to light!

I had no idea of this history. I'm shocked at my ignorance. As I started to read your hub, I went to Google and looked it up - I was so unaware of the timing that I thought it must be an error. I couldn't believe that the princess who died in 1899 could possibly have been alive when Hawaii became a state - and I was unaware that it had been a colony all that time! WOW!! I'm usually pretty well informed! Well - I grew up in Texas and our early history lessons were about Texas' rocky past and loss of sovereignty. But just think how many Americans really don't have a ghost of an idea of this Hawaiian history!

Isileli Tupou, I'm with you on what one might fairly expect in accuracy about actual history from the movie - or of any account, I suppose, though I would hope it might awaken some to dig more deeply and I certainly want to see it now!

In the article I read on Google, which was publishied in 1998, the centennial of the events, the description was not too favorable to American motives. (http://www.hawaii-nation.org/hawaiis-own1.html) It did mention that President Grover Cleveland was opposed to it as a wrongful unauthorized act of war, but his successor, Wm. McKinley was in favor of it and pushed it through using the annexation of Texas as a precedent. But guess who was behind it in Hawaii? Sanford Dole of Dole Pineapple Company! Wonder why. There were military advantages as well.

It is definitely something to study seriously. I love my country too much to casually and knowingly excuse it from taking responsibility for its actions, in spite of its youthfulness at the time.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Right On 'Isi. We will see how well it portrays her and Hawaii.

Yes Hello, hello, I think it is good to understand history so we do not repeat it. Aloha!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

That is a magnificient piece of history of which I never knew anything about. It sounds a great film and thank you for your great review.


Isileli Tupou 6 years ago

I have a little royal blood flowing in my fat body. I do hope that the movie will do justice to this important icon in Hawaiian history. I am sorry to be skeptic because in my opinion, no movie production has ever portrayed history and culture authentically. On the other hand history is also full of bias of the historian. I believe that for the most part movies are design to entertain as well as convey a propaganda. I am anxious to see how it all turn out. ALOHA


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Magnificent BkCreative. Not sure if it is in all theaters yet, but should be available soon.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Sounds intriguing. I'll certainly look for it. Thanks so much for all the information. It is much appreciated!

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