ALEXANDER LIHOLIHO & JOHN JACOB
The Tale of Two IVs
By Jon Letman
egacy, by its very nature, is selective. Often
abbreviated to a single line—“she helped millions”
or “he revolutionized travel”—a person’s legacy tells
only a part of the story. Legacy is the cream that rises
to the surface to be skimmed off the fatty contents
below, savored as the tastiest bits of a person’s time
on Earth. But beneath every legacy is the dense, rich, sometimes heavy
stuff of life, that is equally important, if not more so, than the prized
legacy that survives long after a person is gone.
Princeville, in particular The St. Regis Princeville Resort, is the
setting for a scarcely recognized link between two men, born half a
world and a generation apart, whose achievements, and their legacies,
In 1854 when Kamehameha III died after a 30-year reign, he was
succeeded by his nephew Alexander ‘Iolani Liholiho Keawenui, who
he had adopted as a son. Alexander Liholiho was only 20-years-old
when he ascended to the throne as Kamehameha IV, but his youth
belied all he would achieve during his 29 years of life.
Alexander Liholiho received a Calvinist missionaries’ education
and, while still in his teens, traveled to the United States, Panama,
England, France, and later to Jamaica and back to Europe. While in
France, the young king impressed his host President Louis-Napoleon
with his French speaking abilities.
Less than two years after assuming the throne, Kamehameha IV
married Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonälani Na‘ea Rooke
(popularly known as Queen Emma). Together they bore one son,
Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa a Kamehameha, in May
of 1858. Because of the friendship between Queen Emma and Queen
Victoria, he was named Albert Edward in honor of Albert Edward,
Prince of Wales. The area of Princeville was named in reverence of this
young Crown Prince in 1860.
During his reign, Kamehameha IV witnessed the drastic decline in
Hawai‘i’s native population resulting largely from foreign-introduced
diseases. Together, with Queen Emma, the king founded the Queen’s
Hospital in 1859 (today called the Queen’s Medical Center), which
more than a century and a half later, plays an integral role in serving
the people of Hawai‘i.
Tragedy marred the royal family when, shortly after his fourth
birthday, Prince Albert fell ill and died from what remains inconclusive
causes. Following Prince Albert’s death, Kamehameha IV and Queen
Emma withdrew to a secluded home removed from Honolulu where
the king spent part of his time translating the English Book of Common
Prayer into Hawaiian.
Even during this dark period, Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma
did not retreat from their philanthropic endeavors. It was in 1862, the
final year of the young king’s life, that the Diocese of Honolulu was