She was the sister of a King and Queen – and the daughter of High Chief Kapaʻakea and Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole – her sister became Queen Liliʻuokalani and her brothers were King Kalākaua and William Pitt Leleiōhoku.
Miriam Kapili Kekāuluohi Likelike was born on January 13, 1851. Unlike her brothers and sister, Princess Likelike’s early years were spent on the Island of Hawaiʻi.
On returning to Honolulu, “Her first course of instruction was at the school of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and she finished her education at Kawaiahaʻo Seminary.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, February 4, 1887)
Then her musical endeavors began in earnest; encouraged by her siblings she wrote music. With her sister, she led one of the three royal music clubs that held regular friendly competitions to outdo each other in song and poetry.
Like her sister, Princess Likelike sponsored many concerts and musical pageants in and around Honolulu, and played an important role in the development and perpetuation of Hawaiian music by the encouragement and patronage she gave to young musicians and composers. (HMHOF)
On September 22, 1870, Princess Likelike was married to Honolulu businessman Archibald Scott Cleghorn. The wedding was held at Washington Place, the residence of Governor Dominis and Princess Liliʻuokalani.
Cleghorn, born November 15th 1835 in Edinburgh, Scotland, was brought to Hawaii by his parents, Mr and Mrs Thomas Cleghorn by way of New Zealand.
After arriving to Honolulu in 1851, Thomas set up a dry goods store in Chinatown, but within the year, at the age of 54, Thomas suffered a fatal heart attack while on his way home from church. Archibald took over his father’s business and turned it into one of the most successful mercantile chains in the islands. (Kaʻiulani Project)
“Princess Likelike visited New Zealand and Australia with her husband, Hon AS (Archibald Scott) Cleghorn, soon after her marriage and was very favorably impressed with what she saw, more especially the city of Melbourne.”
“She also twice visited San Francisco. Her mind, expanded by travel and intercourse with the world, was bent upon the moral and physical elevation of her own race, and she therefore lent herself heartily to every educational scheme looking to that end.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, February 3, 1887)
When her brother David Kalākaua became King in 1874, Miriam was given the title ‘Princess Likelike’ and she was appointed governess of Oʻahu.
The Cleghorns had one child Kaʻiulani (born on October 16, 1875) – “the only member of the Royal Family having issue.” (Daily Herald, February 3, 1887)
ʻĀinahau, Princess Likelike’s Waikiki home was said to have been the most beautiful private estate in the Hawaiian Islands. A driveway between rows of stately palms led to the gracious pillared mansion set in a grove of 500 coco palms. Artificial lakes dotted with pink water lilies, and statues found here and there, added to the charming grounds.
Mango trees were plentiful, and everywhere one could catch the scent of sweet smelling pīkake and gardenias. Proud peacocks strutted through the grounds displaying their beautiful feathers. Thousands of trees, shrubs and vines grew in this huge garden estate.
Today, ʻĀinahau is no more. The Governor Cleghorn Condominium stands at the entrance to the driveway which led to the house. (Likelike ES)
‘ʻĀinahau,’ the most famous of Likelike’s compositions, was written about the Cleghorn residence in Waikiki, the gathering place for Sunday afternoon musical gettogethers. She wrote most of her compositions there, and supported the musical education of her daughter, Princess Kaʻiulani. (HMHOF)
Not in very good health, Princess Likelike died at the early age of 36 on February 2, 1887. She will be long be remembered for her kindness to children, her pleasing manners, her many charities, her never failing hospitality, and her beautiful songs. (Likelike ES)
“Princess Likelike was generally beloved for her amiable and kindly disposition her cordial and gracious manners. Her late Royal Highness will long be remembered for the deep interest she took in the welfare of her race and in many worthy objects of a religious and benevolent nature.”
“Although a leading member of St Andrews Cathedral she held a lively concern for the prosperity of native churches outside of the Anglican communion. This was strikingly manifested in her attendance on last Saturday week although in a weak physical condition at a festival in aid of the Kaumakapili Church building fund.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, February 4, 1887)