Hawaiian Royal Hats Part IV: After the Monarchy and Into the 20th Century

We continue with a series on Hawaiian royal history and hats, researched and written 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, Jake!

After the death of Queen Lili‘uokalani in 1917 at age 79, plans to try to restore the monarchy waned and legal disputes for restoration and/or compensation offered no results. Prince Kūhiō, who has a Hawaiian state holiday named after him now, eventually became the Hawaiian Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, the only person of royal birth to serve in the U.S. Congress. 

He wore many hats over the years including this brushed felt fedora

these top hats

and this western-style, flat-brimmed fedora.

Even when he was in jail after participating  in the 1895 Wilcox Rebellion to take back Hawai`i after the illegal overthrow of the monarchy, he was photographed in a hat!. Kūhiō’s wife, Elizabeth Kahanu Kalanianaʻole, also wore many hats as the wife of a government official in the early part of the 20th Century. Prior to serving as Delegate, Kūhiō and Elizabeth visited Europe, where they were treated as visiting royalty, and he served in the Second Boer War with the British Army.

Prince David Kawānanakoa, considered heir to the Hawaiian throne after the death of Crown Princess Ka‘iulani based on King Kalākaua’s order of succession, supported the monarchy’s restoration. He was also arrested for treason after the Wilcox Rebellion but released as there was no evidence against him. You will recall that Princess Ka‘iulani tragically died during their engagement; David later married Abigail Campbell.


Abigail Campbell’s mother, Abigail Kuaihelani Bright was part of the Hawaiian nobility.  

Interestingly, while Prince David Kawānanakoa helped found the Hawaiian Democratic Party, his wife Princess Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa was a leader in the Republican Party. In 1920, Abigail met the Prince of Wales (future Edward VIII) and the future Earl Mountbatten of Burma when they visited Hawai‘i in a portrait hat that wouldn’t look completely out of place today. 

David and Abigail’s eldest child Abigail Kapi‘olani Kawānanakoa can be seen here at Prince Kūhiō’s funeral in a wide-brimmed white portrait hat.

Thanks Jake. I find it fascinating when royals continue serving their country in governing roles after their monarchy is abolished – is that choice to run for public office fueled by loyal commitment to service? Desire to hold onto power? Maybe leadership is simply in their DNA? Politics aside, Prince Kūhiō’s hats were very handsome!

Jake returns next Wednesday with the fifth and final installment in this series. His previous guest posts at Royal Hats include: 

Hawaiian Royal Hats Part I   
Hawaiian Royal Hats Part II: World Tour and Golden Jubilee
Hawaiian Royal Hats Part III: Bayonet Constitution and Illegal Overthrow
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 

5 thoughts on “Hawaiian Royal Hats Part IV: After the Monarchy and Into the 20th Century

  1. “The only person of royal birth to serve in the U.S. Congress” — an amazing bit of U.S. history. Prince Kūhiō “cut a fine dash,” as they might have said then. Look at the gloss on his top hat. And what a splendid boater on Abigail in the portrait with her children.

  2. I imagine the Kawānanakoa family’s political involvement stemmed from trying to provide the best outcomes for the Hawaiian people under the new system, which they realized would not be changing in the near future. Not to bring too much politics into this, but as a DC citizen, I can say having a Delegate in the US House of Representatives does not offer one full representation unfortunately (a Delegate can speak and sit on committees, but ultimately can’t vote on legislation), so pre-1959 the Hawaiians were like the people of DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. today.

    I’m glad this post could offer up more hats, and hats that are more familiar (in terms of styles, etc.) to us today, and I loved finding that photo of Prince Kūhiō in a prison hat! (although not a fan of him being in prison haha)

    • I was just going to comment, Jake, that while I’ve come to expect anything in the world of royal hats, I think it’s a safe assumption that we’ll never see a prison outfit hat on a royal head again! Jokes aside, I can’t imagine how difficult this period was for the Hawaiian royal family.

  3. Wow. Serving in the House of Representatives isn’t exactly a powerful position so it must have been motivated by service! I really respect that. These posts are so interesting Jake. I’m sorry they will be ending!

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