The Daughters of Hawai‘i and Calabash Cousins present Afternoon at the Palace at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21 at Hulihe‘e Palace to remember the late King Kamehameha IV. Enjoy the voices of the merrie monarchs and performing arts by Kumu Hula Etua Lopes and his Hālau Na Pua U‘i O Hawai‘i. Afternoon at the Palace is part of the palace’s series of free monthly mele in honor of Hawai‘i’s past monarchs and historical figures; donations are appreciated. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair as seating is not provided.
King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) was 21 years old when he inherited the throne in 1855. He agonized over the dwindling native population, reduced from 300,000 people in 1778 to 70,000 people in 1855. Having no resistance to the diseases of foreigners, in 1853 over 6,000 Hawaiians caught smallpox. The King and his Queen Emma pushed for the building of a hospital for Hawaiians, so their people could receive adequate medical care.
Raised by a physician, Queen Emma shared her husband’s values regarding health. Liholiho married Emma Na‘ea Rooke in 1856. She was the granddaughter of John Young, Kamehameha’s British advisor. As was the custom for children in Hawai‘i to be given to relatives for upbringing, Emma was the hānai (adopted) daughter of her aunt and Dr. T. C. Rooke, an English physician practicing in Honolulu. Besides providing funds, the royal couple earnestly solicited donations from others. In 1860, Kamehameha IV laid the cornerstone for the Queen’s Hospital, which he named to honor his wife. Today, it is the prestigious Queen’s Medical Center in downtown Honolulu. The King died when he was 29, a short time after his four-year-old Prince Albert became fatally ill. A crib used by the Prince, during a visit to Kona, is on display at Hulihe‘e Palace.