Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ka'iulani aspired to he a model queen, with modern ideas...

Research continues; this interview of a friend of the Cleghorn family states the Princess's situation clearly. Colonel MacFarlane speaks about Ka'iulani's weak heart and strong convictions:

After being asked if Princess Ka'iulani's heart condition was hereditary:
"The heart weakness," said the colonel, slowly, "was the result of shock; the direct consequence of the blow that struck the young girl of scarce 19 when a cablegram announced that her promised kingdom had been wrenched away from her. It was utterly unanticipated and she never got over it. Till then she had taken little notice of the politics of the hour; all her energies had been concentrated on study, on qualifying for the queenly role she was to assume upon her aunt's demise.
She aspired to he a model queen, with modern ideas; to rule her people for their happiness, welfare and progress; to convert her small kingdom into a worthy little sister of the more advanced kingdoms of our day. Her whole life had been devoted to this end."


  1. This is just part of a lengthy interview with a man who clearly was close to the Cleghorn family as well as Ka'iulani herself. It will be a part of the next Ka'iulani Project presentation.

  2. Aloha kakou - some additional mana'o:

    Colonel MacFarlane was certainly a witness
    (literally) to Ka'iulani's "heart trouble",
    as there are accounts of his observing her have severe palpitations. Modern medicine would
    probably have put an additional spin on the idea that "shock" precipitated her condition: a number of people have noted it was probable from the various symptoms she exhibited that she suffered underlying thyroid disease, and ultimately the heart damage associated with it. Unrelieved stress is a very serious matter for thyroid patients, and the horrific shock/stress Ka'iulani endured from the overthrow onward without doubt affected her heart and health. However, if she'd lived in an age during which the disease could be diagnosed and treated, she very well might have lived to find new ways to carry on
    in the service of her people. I suspect that ignorance of thyroid disease may have helped create the myth of Ka'iulani being basically "frail", when in truth she was a strong and active woman by inclination. (She was surfing, canoeing and jumping "pig holes" on horseback just a few months before she died...activities which in themselves might have hastened the demise of someone with an already damaged heart.)

    All insights and recollections from those who knew/observed Ka'iulani during her lifetime are, of course, utter treasures. Those with family connections to Ka'iulani or her friends help preserve the complex understanding of the Princess that we so need to counteract simplistic or trivialized accounts of her life.
    Gratitude goes out to them.