Prince Alfred, the fourth child and second son of Queen Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the Prince Consort, was born at Windsor Castle and was second in the line of succession behind his elder brother, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.
Alfred was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Howley, at the Private Chapel in Windsor Castle on 6 September 1844. He was given the names Alfred Ernest Albert, although was always known to the family as “Affie”.
Alfred expressed a wish to join the navy and in accordance with this he passed the entrance examination in August 1858, and was appointed as midshipman in HMS Euryalus at the age of fourteen.
On the abdication of King Otto of Greece, in 1862, Prince Alfred was selected to succeed him, but the British government blocked plans for him to ascend the Greek throne, largely due to the fact that the Queen strongly opposed the idea.
He therefore remained in the navy, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on February 24. 1863, serving under Count Gleichen on HMS Racoon, and captain on February 23, 1866, being then appointed to the command of the frigate HMS Galatea.
On May 24, 1866, Alfred was created Duke of Edinburgh and Earl of Ulster and Earl of Kent by his mother Queen Victoria. (English Monarchs)
“In the year 1869 the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred of England, arrived in the harbor of Honolulu [on July 21], being in command of Her Britannic Majesty’s ship-of-war Galatea. As soon as the king learned of the duke’s presence he made special preparations for his reception …”
“… and for his better accommodation on shore he assigned for his use the residence of the late Kekuanaoa, who died in November of the preceding year.” (Liliʻuokalani)
A “large number of Hawaiians men, women and children amounting to some thousands, visited H. B. H. the Duke of Edinburgh, each bringing a present, in accordance with an ancient custom among the people called hookupu.”
“Many of the presents were of value, while others were only valuable as showing the good feeling of the donors towards His Majesty’s Guest.” (Hawaiian Gazette. August 4, 1869)
“I gave a grand luau at my Waikiki residence, to which were invited all those connected with the government, indeed, all the first families of the city, whether of native or foreign birth. …”
“Major JH Wodehouse, so long the ambassador of Great Britain at Honolulu, had just arrived with Mrs. Wodehouse; and they were of the invited guests, the prince specially inviting them to drive out to my house with him. I suppose the feast would be styled a breakfast in other lands, for it was to begin at eleven o’clock in the forenoon.”
“The sailor-prince mounted the driver’s box of the carriage, and taking the reins from that official, showed himself an expert in the management of horses. … Kalama, widow of Kamehameha III, drove out to Waikiki in her own carriage of state”. (Liliʻuokalani)
“The drivers of these carriages wore the royal feather shoulder-capes, and the footmen were also clad in like royal fashion. It was considered one of the grandest occasions in the history of those days, and all passed off as becoming the high birth and commanding position of our visitor.”
“The guests were received with every mark of courtesy by my husband and myself, as well as by His Majesty Kamehameha V, who was one of the first arrivals.”
“When the prince entered, he was met by two very pretty Hawaiian ladies, who advanced and, according to the custom of our country, decorated him with leis or long pliable wreaths of flowers suspended from the neck.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“As Mrs. Bush, considered one of the most beautiful women in the Hawaiian Islands, advanced, and proceeded to tie the Bowery garland about the neck of the prince, he seemed perhaps a bit confused at the novel custom …”
“… but, submitting with the easy grace of a gentleman, he appeared to be excessively pleased with the flowers and with the expression of friendly welcome conveyed to him by the act.”
“Balls, picnics, and parties followed this day of enjoyment; and the prince gave an entertainment in return at his own house, which was attended by my husband and myself, and by most of the distinguished persons in the city.” (Lili‘uokalani)
“The day of departure for the Galatea arrived; and the prince called on me to express the pleasure he had taken during his visit, and the regrets he felt at leaving us.”
“On this occasion he presented me with an armlet emblematic of his profession; it was of solid gold, a massively wrought chain made after the pattern of a ship’s cable, with anchor as a pendant.” (Lili‘uokalani)
“On Monday last, the Galatea sailed for Japan. The Duke of Edinburgh was accompanied to the wharf by His Majesty, attended by his Staff. The parting between His Majesty and the Duke was most cordial.”
“Large numbers of people had assembled on the wharf to see the Duke embark, and as he stepped into his barge, many rushed forward with wreaths, bouquets and flowers, throwing them into the barge and over the Duke, until His Royal Highness was quite covered.” (Hawaiian Gazette. August 4, 1869)
“We have met once since those days, at the Queen’s Jubilee, during my visit to London in 1887. Our past acquaintance was cordially recognized by the prince, who was then my escort on a state occasion, my nearest neighbor on the other hand being the present Emperor of Germany.” (Lili‘uokalani)