Kekāuluohi (the niece and former wife of Kamehameha I) became one of the wives of Kamehameha II; but when Christianity was introduced in the Islands, Kamehameha II allowed her to marry Kanaʻina (descended from Līloa of Waipiʻo, Hawaiʻi and Piʻilani of Maui.)
Reportedly Kanaʻina was named after his uncle Kanaʻina I, a name that means “The conquering;” it is said Kanaʻina I was one of the two chiefs along with Palea who may have struck to final blow, killing Captain Cook in 1779.
High Chief Charles Kanaʻina and High Chiefess Kekāuluohi “are among the most interesting of the aristocracy; and, of their claims to respect and attention, we needed no other proof, than that afforded on the present occasion.” (Stewart, 1831)
Kanaʻina was a noble of Hawaiʻi and a man of wisdom; Kekāuluohi, was a beautiful woman of large stature. After the death of Kamehameha the Great she took the name ʻAuhea, meaning “where has he gone.” Her Christian name was Miriam (during the reign of Kamehameha III she was Kuhina Nui (Premier) and known as Kaʻahumanu III.) (Galuteria)
“They both write with great readiness; and (Kanaʻina) with a freedom and command of hand that would class him among good penman anywhere.”
“The entrance (to their home) is by a large folding door—the lower pannels painted green, and the upper part of glass—into a spacious room floored with mats, and furnished, as that we had left, in its whole length on one side with an inviting lounge, and, on the opposite, with a side table and mirror.”
“A semicircle of chairs, with a centre table, occupied the middle; and at each of the further corners, stood a handsome cabinet, surmounted by a bookcase top, with glass doors and silk hangings.”
“At the one, the lady of the house was seated, and at the other her husband ; both engaged in writing, with books, slates, and papers around them.” (Stewart, 1831)
in 1834, they built an elegant two story house of rock coral, near the mission houses, at Honolulu, “received and entertained, one evening, at a well-furnished table, thirty-three missionaries, including men and women, presiding herself with the dignity of a Christian matron.” (Bingham)
They had two sons, Davida (who died quite young) and William. His mother was ambitious for William and she said others are high in rank but this is highest of all and he shall be named “Lunalilo”, that is so far up on high as to be lost out of sight – “luna” meaning above and “lilo” lost. (HHS)
Lunalilo’s parents wanted him to have the best possible education. They enrolled him in the Chiefs’ Children’s School which was being established for the children of Hawaiʻi’s aliʻi.
It was a boarding school where the children lived away from their homes. Mr. and Mrs. Amos Starr Cooke were the teachers. When the school opened its doors in 1839 Lunalilo stepped in as one of its first pupils. He was just four years old. (Galuteria)
He received “a liberal English education, and as he possessed naturally a quick mind, he became one of the best scholars in the school. For English classical literature he had great fondness, and “his familiarity with the English poets was remarkable.”
Lunalilo later served as a writer for Robert C Wyllie, the foreign minister. However, Lunalilo was never offered any employment or responsibility by the ruling king. He was never given any public office by any king. He was never asked to travel abroad officially. He was kept on a small allowance of money. His cousin, King Kamehameha V, ignored him.
Lunalilo had many fine qualities. In spite of his many fine qualities he was overcome by one weakness. He became addicted to liquor.
In 1858 Kanaʻina, out of love and concern for his son, petitioned the court to appoint guardians for him. Lunalilo agreed to this idea even though he was twenty-three years old. So the court appointed his father and two others, Dr. Richard Armstrong and James W Austin, as guardians.
The prince remained under guardianship for fourteen years. His last guardians were Kanaʻina and Charles Reed Bishop, husband of Princess Bernice Pauahi. On December 31, 1872, after the death of Kamehameha V, the Probate Court ended the guardianship when it appeared that Lunalilo would be the next king. (Galuteria)
Prince David Kalākaua and others not in the Kamehameha lineage chose to run against Prince Lunalilo. At noon on January 8, 1873, the Legislature met, as required by law, in the Courthouse to cast their official ballots of election of the next King. Lunalilo received all thirty-seven votes.
On Tuesday February 3, 1874, at 8:50 pm King Lunalilo died at thirty-nine years of age. Those present around his bed included His Highness Charles Kanaʻina, the king’s father; the Honorable Mrs Bernice Pauahi Bishop; Her Excellency Ruth Keʻelikolani; the Honorable Mrs Fanny Naʻea; Robert Stirling, minister of finance and two attending physicians, Dr George P Trousseau and Dr Richard Oliver.
Before his death Lunalilo did not name a successor to the throne. As the people had selected him, so he insisted that the choice of the next monarch should rest in the hands of the people. (Galuteria)
The featured image shows Kaʻahumanu; several claim the young attendant and kahili bearer is Kanaʻina, father of the future King of the Islands.