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‘Last Hawaiian princess’ Abigail Kawānanakoa dies at 96

via Star Advisor
  • Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, who was referred to by locals as the "last princess" of Hawaii, died on Sunday night at the age of 96.

  • Kawānanakoa’s death was announced by Hailama Farden of Hale O Nā Aliʻi O Hawaiʻi, a royal Hawaiian society, at the front gate of Iolani Palace Monday morning.

  • While Kawānanakoa held no formal title, many Hawaiians regard her as a living reminder of the monarchy and a part of their cultural identity.

  • She earned a reputation for being a philanthropist, generously donating to causes important to her, including the restoration and preservation of the 'Iolani Palace.

  • She also established the $100 million Abigail KK Kawānanakoa Foundation before she died so she could continue helping others upon her death.

  • Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, who ordered the U.S. and Hawaii state flags be flown at half-staff until Sunday, expressed grief toward Kawānanakoa’s passing via a Facebook post.

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Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, who was referred to by locals as the “last princess” of Hawaii, died on Sunday night at the age of 96.

One of the last descendants of its royal house, Kawānanakoa died peacefully with her wife Veronica by her side at her Nu’uanu home, reported the Associated Press.

“Abigail will be remembered for her love of Hawai’i and its people,” Veronica said in a statement. “I will miss her with all of my heart.”

Kawānanakoa’s death was announced by Hailama Farden of Hale O Nā Aliʻi O Hawaiʻi, a royal Hawaiian society, at the front gate of Iolani Palace Monday morning.

“With profound sadness, the Kawānanakoa family, the Hale O Nā Aliʻi O Hawaiʻi and the Iolani Palace announce the passing of Her Royal Highness, Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa at 6:45 p.m. last night,” said Farden. “We join each other in a period of mourning.”

While Kawānanakoa held no formal title, many Hawaiians regard her as a living reminder of the monarchy and a part of their cultural identity.

Kawānanakoa was born in Honolulu on April 23, 1926, to Princess Lydia Kamaka’eha Liliu’okulani Kawānanakoa Morris and William Jeremiah Ellerbrock. At age 5, she was adopted by her maternal grandmother, Her Royal Highness Abigail Wahiika’ahu’ula Campbell Kawānanakoa. She later attended school in Shanghai and California.

Her great-grandfather, Irish businessman James Campbell, left her a trust with an estimated value of $215 million. She earned a reputation for being a philanthropist, generously donating to causes important to her, including the restoration and preservation of the ‘Iolani Palace. 

Kawānanakoa’s foundations have also been instrumental in the revival of the Hawaiian language, providing scholarships for children and paying for the poor’s medical bills. She also established the $100 million Abigail KK Kawānanakoa Foundation before she died so she could continue helping others upon her death.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, who ordered the U.S. and Hawaii state flags be flown at half-staff until Sunday, expressed grief toward Kawānanakoa’s passing via a Facebook post

“Jaime and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa,” Green wrote. “Abigail bore the weight of her position with dignity and humility, enriched the lives of everyone she touched, and like so many Aliʻi who came before her, she has left a legacy dedicated to her people in perpetuity. Hawaiʻi mourns this great loss, and our aloha and heartfelt condolences go out to her entire ʻohana and all who had the privilege of knowing Princess Abigail Kawānanakoa.”

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