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The House of Kawānanakoa, or the Kawānanakoa Dynasty in Waiting, is the historically recognized presumptive heirs to the throne of the now defunct Kingdom of Hawai i.


A collateral branch of the reigning House of Kalākaua (from Kaua i island) and descendants of e.g. chiefs of Waimeamarker (on Hawai i island), the dynastic line was established by Prince David Kawānanakoa who was declared to be in the line of royal succession through a proclamation of King David Kalākaua. He was the son of Ali i nui David Kahalepouli Pi ikoi and Ali i nui Victoria Kinoiki Kekaulike. Kawānanakoa was affianced to Princess Victoria Ka iulani on February 3, 1898, , who would have become a monarch in her own right upon the death of Queen Lili uokalani had she not predeceased her.

David Kawānanakoa's paternal ancestry comes from a cadet branch of the Kaua imarker royal family. His paternal grandmother High Chiefess Kekahili was a half-sister of High Chief Caesar Kapa akea, the father of Kalakaua, both being children of the Chiefess Kamokuiki. This making her an aunt of King Kalākaua and Queen Lili uokalani, which makes the Kawānanakoas the closest surviving collateral relatives of the Kalākaua reigning house. The said grandmother descended, besides from the ancient line of chiefs of Kaua i, also from the chief of Ka ū, a great-uncle of King Kamehameha I.

However, the more illustrious ancestry of David Kawānanakoa actually is that through his mother. His High Chiefess Kekaulike Kinoiki maternal grandmother was the daughter of the last king of Kaua i and Ni ihau Kaumuali i. She was the granddaughter of Kaneoneo the last king of O ahu before being conquered by Maui. She descended from the lines of high chiefs of Ni ihaumarker, Koloamarker, O ahumarker, Kaua imarker and Mauimarker. High Chief Kūhiō Kalaniana ole the maternal grandfather, on his part, was a descendant of several moiety chiefdoms of the island of Hawai i (such as Waimea, Kona and Hilomarker) and descended directly from the chief of Waimea, an uncle of King Kamehameha I who himself was originally a chief of Kona. Being descendants of a first cousin of that first king, the Kawānanakoas are next closest of the surviving relatives of the Kamehameha dynasty after the Laanui issue who descend from the king's brother and now is headed by Owana Salazar.

The House of Kawānanakoa survives today and is the only recognized royal family of the United Statesmarker. Members of the family retain the titles of prince and princess, honorifics that have been bestowed upon them by the residents of Hawai i as a matter of tradition and respect of their status as ali i or chiefs of the native Hawaiians, being lines of ancient ancestry.

The House of Kawānanakoa in contemporary Hawaiian politics is closely aligned with the Hawaii Republican Party, a political party it helped organize since the creation of the Territory of Hawai i. Its matriarch, Abigail Kawānanakoa, became a national party leader in the early years of the twentieth century.

While many historians, individual members of the government of Hawai i (as a matter of opinion and not policy), and a majority of Hawai i residents have considered the House of Kawānanakoa the rightful heirs to the throne, smaller factions of native Hawaiians with objections to the family's ties to the Hawai i Republican Party have chosen instead to support various other branches of ali i lines, such as descendants of collateral branches of the extended House of Kamehameha (to which both the Kalākaua and Kawānanakoa dynasties are distantly related, too) as having rights to the throne. An even smaller group would like to maintain the abolition of the monarchy and organize a democratic republic should native Hawaiians achieve independence.

Heirs Presumptive

Should the Hawaiian sovereignty movement succeed in the reinstitution of the Hawaiian monarchy, the heir presumptive would be declared monarch with the mandate of a plebiscite and constitution. The line split with the childless death of Edward D. Kawānanakoa in 1953. His sisters (in birth order) Abigail Kapi olani Kawānanakoa and Lydia Lili uokalani Kawānanakoa each had children. Abigail Kapi olani Kawānanakoa had three children (in birth order): Edward Keli iahonui Kawānanakoa (1924-1997), Virginia Po omaikelani Kawānanakoa (1926-1998) and Esther Kapi olani Kawānanakoa (1928-present). Edward Keli iahonui Kawānanakoa is survived by five children. Virginia Po omaikelani Kawānanakoa died childless. Esther Kapi olani Kawānanakoa married the Marchese Filippo Marignoli and has three children.

Lydia Lili uokalani Kawānanakoa has one daughter, Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, who has been active in various causes for the preservation of native Hawaiian culture, most especially the restoration of Iolani Palacemarker; she created a bit of a stir when she allowed LIFE magazine to publish a photograph of herself sitting on the throne--essentially, claiming to be Queen. However, as she never married and is beyond childbearing years, her claim is hardly viable, and would pass in any case to her cousin, Prince Quentin.


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