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Princess of the Hawaiian Islands
Likelike, photograph by J. J. Williams (PP-98-9.013).jpg
Born(1851-01-13)January 13, 1851
Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaii
DiedFebruary 2, 1887(1887-02-02) (aged 36)
ʻĀinahau, Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaii
BurialFebruary 27, 1887[1]
SpouseArchibald Scott Cleghorn
IssuePrincess Victoria Kaʻiulani
Full name
Miriam Likelike Kekāuluohi Keahelapalapa Kapili
FatherCaesar Kapaʻakea
MotherAnalea Keohokālole
ReligionChurch of Hawaii

Miriam Likelike Kekāuluohi Keahelapalapa Kapili[2] (January 13, 1851 – February 2, 1887) was a Princess of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, sister of the last two ruling monarchs, mother of Princess Kaʻiulani, last heir to the throne, and mistress of the ʻĀinahau estate. She shared the same name with Likelike, an earlier Hawaiian chiefess.

Early life and family[edit]

Likelike was born on January 13, 1851, in Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu, to Analea Keohokālole and Caesar Kapaʻakea.[3] Kapaʻakea and Keohokālole were political advisors to Kamehameha III and later to his successor Kamehameha IV. Her mother was the daughter of ʻAikanaka and Kamaʻeokalani while her father was the son of Kamanawa II (half-brother of ʻAikanaka) and Kamokuiki. Their family were of the aliʻi class of the Hawaiian nobility and were collateral relations of the reigning House of Kamehameha, sharing common descent from the 18th-century aliʻi nui (supreme monarch) Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku. From her parents, she also descended from Keaweaheulu and Kameʻeiamoku, two of the five royal counselors of Kamehameha I during his conquest of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kameʻeiamoku, the grandfather of both her mother and father, was depicted, along with his royal twin Kamanawa, on the Hawaiian coat of arms.[4]

The youngest daughter and penultimate child of a large family, her biological siblings included: James Kaliokalani, David Kalākaua, Liliʻuokalani, Anna Kaʻiulani, Kaʻiminaʻauao, and William Pitt Leleiohoku II.[5] She and her siblings were hānai (informally adopted) to other family members. The Hawaiian custom of hānai is an informal form of adoption between extended families practiced by Hawaiian royals and commoners alike.[6] Because Likelike was not in the best of health as a child, she was sent to live in the dry climate of Kona on the island of Hawaii where she was hānai to a chiefly couple there. Like many of her siblings, she was most likely given in hānai to a family in Kona. According to historian Sammy Amalu, Likelike was brought up in the household of Peleuli, daughter of High Chief Kalaʻimamahu, half-brother of Kamehameha I, and was raised alongside Miriam Auhea Kekāuluohi Crowningburg.[7][8]

At the age of six, she returned to Honolulu and remained there until her marriage. Likelike was educated by Roman Catholic sisters, then by Maria Ogden and finally by Lydia Bingham at the Kawaiahaʻo Seminary.[9] Her classmates at Kawaiʻahao included Annie Palekaluhi Kaikioʻewa and Lily Auld.[10] Originally betrothed to Albert K. Kunuiakea, an illegitimate son of Kamehameha III, she broke off the engagement to marry someone else.[11]


Princess Likelike and her husband.

On September 22, 1870 Likelike married Archibald Scott Cleghorn, a businessman from Scotland almost twice her age. They were wed in an Anglican ceremony officiated by Reverend Charles George Williamson. The wedding was at her sister's house, Washington Place.[12] Cleghorn was 35 and Likelike was 19. Like her sister Lydia's marriage to John Owen Dominis, her marriage with Cleghorn did not always run smoothly. Victorian gentlemen expected to be the lord of their castle, their servants, their children, and even their wives. But Hawaiian nobility, aliʻi, male or female, were raised to rule others. Her husband could be blustery and demanding. The princess simply returned to Big Island of Hawaii and refused to come back. She even served as Governor of the island from March 1879 to September 1880.[13]

Likelike was third-in-line to the throne behind her brother William Pitt Leleiohoku II and her sister Liliʻuokalani until Leleiohoku's death which elevated her to second-in-line to the throne and her daughter as third-in-line.[14] She was baptized and confirmed into the Anglican Church of Hawaii in 1882.[15][16]

Likelike travelled abroad three times during her marriage. She visited Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne from August to December 1871 with her husband and met the different colonial governors and officials. In 1877, grieving over the death of her brother Leleiohoku, she traveled to San Francisco for her health and returned to Honolulu on the steamer Likelike on its first voyage between California and Hawaii. In 1884, she revisited San Francisco around the same time as the visit of Queen Marau, the wife of King Pōmare V of Tahiti, who was on her way to Paris. Prior to her death, she planned on traveling with Kaʻiulani to Monterey for their health.[16]

Likelike was vivacious and well-liked, and her home was opened to important people from all over the world. She had a reputation of being a kindly, gracious hostess in almost every country of Europe and almost every state of the union. She would always be up with the latest fashions, ordering dresses and clothing from Paris. Princess Likelike, Liliʻuokalani, Leleiohoku and Kalākaua were known as "Hawaii's First Family of Musicians." She could be quite imperious and quick-tempered. For example, she once smacked a groom with a whip for not keeping the carriage properly polished.[17]


The cause of the princess' death is still unknown; she is said to have simply taken to her bed and refused all food. In mid January 1887, a large school of fish called 'āweoweo was seen off the coast of the island of Hawaii. The massing of the bright red fish close to shore was considered an omen of death for members an aliʻi family. On February 2, 1887, Princess Likelike died at age 36, before her daughter reached her teenage years. Some people have asserted that she did this to appease the anger of Pele, goddess of volcanoes. It was said in her last hours she predicted that Kaʻiulani would never marry and never become Queen. This prophecy later became true. There were rumors that she was prayed to death by a powerful ʻanāʻanā.[citation needed]


Likelike Highway, historic Likelike Drive Inn and Likelike Elementary School bear the late princess' name.


Likelike and her siblings are recognized by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame as Nā Lani ʻEhā (The Heavenly Four) for their patronage and enrichment of Hawaii's musical culture and history.[18][19]




Books and journals
Newspapers and online sources

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Samuel Kipi
Royal Governor of Hawaii Island
Succeeded by
Victoria Kinoiki Kekaulike