FEBRUARY 3, 1874


Born on January 31, 1835, in Honolulu, his parents were a High Chief & Chiefess. A grandnephew of Kamehameha I, his cousins were Kings Kamehameha IV & V, and Princess Victoria Kamāmalu. The name Lunalilo meant “So High Up as to be Lost to Sight.” At Chief’s Children’s School, he mastered English literature. “Prince Bill” composed Hawaii’s first national anthem, E Ola Ke Aliʻi Ke Akua. Lunalilo initially served on the Privy Council of State (1863-65) & in the House of Nobles (1863-72). When Kamehameha V died on December 11, 1872, without naming a successor, the legislature chose Lunalilo over David Kalākaua based his popularity & being a closer relative to the late king. While his predecessor tried to restore the absolute monarchy, Lunalilo, tried to make government more democratic and recommended amendments to the 1864 Constitution to encourage accountability. Lunalilo developed pulmonary tuberculosis in August 1873 and died in Honolulu also without designating an heir to the throne.

“William Charles Lunalilo’s Genealogy,” Lunalilo Home.  Retrieved 3/18/2021, Life of Lunalilo - Lunalilo Home
Photo: Menzies Dickson (1840-91), circa 1870. Public Domain.  Source:  Hawaii State Archives. Call Number: PP-98-15-018

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