Hawaiian Royal Hats Part II: World Tour and Golden Jubilee

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 and can link back to any of his previous guests posts at the bottom. Welcome back, Jake!

World Tour

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.

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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.

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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.

Golden Jubilee

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.

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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’iloani

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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;  

11 thoughts on “Hawaiian Royal Hats Part II: World Tour and Golden Jubilee

  1. Thanks to reader Arianna for pointing out that while Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma was the sister of Empress Zita of Austria, he was not an Austrian prince himself. Correction made!

  2. Chiming in late since I’d set this post aside until I could give it some careful attention. Wow, what an amazing history — first monarch to circumnavigate the globe! The photos are fascinating. Like Jimbo, I have Hawaii on my bucket list, and I’d rather go to the Iolani Palace and Bishop Museum than bake on a beach.

    • I haven’t been to Hawai’i yet either, and while I wouldn’t mind visiting a beach or two (although with good sunscreen since I burn easily haha), ‘Iolani Palace is top of my list of places to visit, along with the Bishop Museum and other similar historical and cultural places.

  3. I am planning to go to Hawaii this Christmas if Covid-19 allows and now I want to include Iolani Palace in my itinerary! I would like to add my thanks to you, Jake, and HQ for this interesting series!

  4. This has been very interesting and informative – thank you.

    I remember reading that the future Kaiser Wilhelm II was angered because he was to be placed below the Queen of Hawaii in the Golden Jubilee procession. She was, of course, a queen consort and he wasn’t yet even a crown prince.

  5. Incredible post again, Jake. Thanks so much for this time-intensive and fascinating history lesson, along with the headgear! Having never been to Hawai’i, (which is bucket list #5 for me) I have been totally ignorant of its rich history. It is certainly much more than palm trees, leis, and surf boards!
    I was afraid your Wednesday post would be delayed, due to Queens Maxima and Elizabeth’s outings earlier this week, but was not disappointed! I’m looking forward to your next installment!

  6. Thanks Jake! I look forward to these posts on the Hawaiian Royals now. This one was very interesting and I’m glad you added the Instagram photos and videos. The re-creation of Queen Kapiolani’s gown and robe are exquisite.

    • I’ll admit at least half the photos on this particular post are additional finds thanks to HatQueen! Many of the photos that will featured in the following posts come from the ‘Iolani Palace Instagram account, so go check them out for more information.

      And while not hat related (although I think is permissible since we talked about clothes otherwise with this post haha), in the last post I mentioned King Kamehameha II visited Brazil on his way to the UK. While in Brazil he gave Emperor Pedro the gift of an exquisite feather cloak, or ʻahu ʻula; unfortunately that cloak was lost during the fire that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro back in 2018: https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/post/royal-hawaiian-feather-cloak-feared-lost-brazil-museum-fire#stream/0

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