We continue our series on Hawaiian royal hats today with a second installment presented by longtime reader Jake Short. You can find Jake on Instagram or Twitter @bestdressedmenno and can link back to any of his previous guests posts at the bottom. Welcome back, Jake!
After being the first reigning monarch to visit the U.S. in 1874-1875, King Kalākaua embarked on an ambitious world tour in 1881 and was the first monarch to circumnavigate the earth.
He began his travels with a stop in Japan, becoming the first foreign head of state to visit the previously isolationist nation. This trip included a proposal from King Kalākaua to Emperor Meiji that his young niece Victoria Ka‘iulani (daughter of his sister Miriam Likelike, seen here in a smaller Victorian hat) would have an arranged marriage with Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito, a member of a cadet branch of the Japanese Imperial Family. While nothing came of this proposal, the possibility of what could’ve been remains fascinating (the video claims Prince Yorihito was a son of Emperor Meiji, but he was instead a cousin to the main imperial line).
Kalākaua continued westward, meeting King Chulalongkorn of Siam (Thailand), Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor in Malaysia, Khedive Tewfik Pasha of Egypt, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy, and Pope Leo XIII before arriving in Great Britain. At Windsor Castle, Kalākaua was formally presented to Queen Victoria, the Prince andPrincess of Wales (future King Edward VII), and the Crown Prince andCrown Princess of Germany (future Kaiser Friedrich III). Afterwards he traveled to Belgium and met King Leopold II, then the future Kaiser Wilhelm II in Berlin, and finally King Luís I in Portugal. From Europe the King traveled to the United States where he met Thomas Edison and discussed electrifying the street lighting of Honolulu. Kalākaua returned to Hawai‘i at the end of October 1881, 281 days after he first left. The European monarchies’ elaborate styles influenced the final construction and decoration of ‘Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in America today.
Before and during Kalākaua’s reign there were ideas put forward to create a Polynesian federation to protect against further Western aggression in the region. It was proposed Hawai`i to lead the group including the Kingdoms of Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, and more (although not Aotearoa New Zealand).
In another random connection with European royalty, King Kalākaua privately entertained unknown royals in 1889 who were traveling incognito as the Count and Countess de Bardi, all wearing hats and clothing typical of the late Victorian era.Since Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma (son of duke Charles III of Parma) and Infanta Adelgundes of Portugal (daughter of King Miguel of Portugal) held subsidiary titles of Count and Countess of Bardi, they seem a strong possibility.
Six years after King Kalākaua’s world tour, his wife Queen Kapi‘olani and sister Princess Lili‘uokalani traveled to the United Kingdom to attend the events surrounding Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in June of 1887 with a plan to tour Europe afterwards. Unfortunately, their European tour was later cancelled upon hearing about the Bayonet Constitution forced upon Kalākaua, something we’ll look at in closer detail in the next post. On their way, they visited President Grover Cleveland in Washington, D.C.Embed from Getty Images
Once in the U.K., Queen Kapi‘olani was photographed in an unusually shaped, very tall hat:
while Lili‘uokalani was photographed wearing a bonnet hat (seated second from right below) typical of that time.
Queen Kapi`olani and Princess Lili`uokalani wore formal gowns with feathers and motifs representing their native land that so impressed Queen Victoria, she requests official portraits of them be taken. It’s worth noting that the Hawaiian royals were among 54 foreign monarchs, royals, and nobles represented at the Golden Jubilee, and were 2 of only 12 not from Europe.
Queen Kap’iloaniEmbed from Getty Images
Thank you Jake, for another fascinating look at a royal house and time in history that deserves our attention. If I may add another detail- the Iolani Palace in Honolulu has an excellent Alii Garment Reproduction Collection. One of their more recent additions is an incredible reproduction of Queen Kapiolani’s coronation gown and robe, painstakingly researched and recreated by Hawaiian designer Kini Zamora. If you find yourself in Honolulu, I highly recommend leisurely visits to both the Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum!
Jake returns next Wednesday with the third installment in this series. His previous guest posts at Royal Hats include:
Hawaiian Royal Hats Part I
Men’s Royal Hats
Royal Men’s Hats: Fedoras and Trilbys
Royal Men’s Hats: Caps and Berets
Royal Men’s Hats: Pork Pies, Hombergs, Boaters, Bowlers and the Rest
Recommend Hat Repeats for Queen Elizabeth
Recommend Hat Repeats for Queen Máxima Part I and Part II
Recommend Hat Repeats for Queen Margrethe
Recommend Hat Repeats for Queen Mathilde
Images from Getty and social media as indicated; The Bishop Museum;