Hawai'i State News

Queen Liliʻuokalani’s illegally seized Royal Standard back at her Honolulu home after 130 years

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The Royal Standard of Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, was returned July 24, 2023 to her Washington Place home and placed on public view for the first time in 130 years, since it was illegally seized in 1893. (State of Hawai’i)

The Royal Standard of Queen Lili‘uokalani was illegally seized in 1893 by the provisional government during the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. But on Monday, the flag of Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch was returned to her Honolulu home Washington Place — and placed on public view for the first time in 130 years.

Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green and the state’s first Native Hawaiian First Lady, Jaime Kanani Green, formally received the Queen’s Royal Standard (flag) from Royal Guard and Sheriff bearers. They had carried it in a procession from ‘Iolani Palace grounds to Washington Place that included members from the Royal Societies and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.  

The Royal Standard flew over Washington Place when Queen Lili‘uokalani was at home. Washington Place is a National Historic Landmark that is the only official residence of a state governor that also served as the home of a monarch. Queen Lili‘uokalani first took residence at Washington Place in 1862 as Lydia Pākī, wife of John Owen Dominis, who was the son of John and Mary Dominis. It remained her private residence for 55 years, until her death in 1917. 

The late Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa contributed $30,000 to acquire Queen Lili’uokalani’s Royal Standard.

In 1893, the Royal Standard was illegally seized.


The Hawaiʻi State Archives was alerted that the standard was listed for auction and immediately began efforts to bring the standard and related items home. 

In order to prevent a long legal battle, State Archivist Adam Jansen, Ph.D. said: “Princess Abigail Kawānanakoa stepped forward to purchase the Queen’s Royal Standard, and Brendan Damon Ethington purchased the ‘Soper letters,’ which included official reports and troop dispositions regarding the overthrow and subsequent counterrevolution.”  

Kawananakoa paid $30,000 to acquire the flag and Ethington contributed $30,000 for the archives of Col. John Soper, commander-in-chief of the provisional government’s military forces.

A photo of Lili‘uokalani, Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, in her home at Washington Place in Honolulu. (State of Hawai’i)

“When the standard was illegally seized, part of Queen Lili‘uokalani was taken, and as it is returned, it is as if she has returned with it, providing all of us, as well as the coming generations, a new opportunity to learn about her, and about the meaning of leadership and sacrifice,” said Gussie Schubert, president of the board of directors for the Washington Place Foundation and a Dominis family descendant.


Capt. John Dominis undertook construction of the royal home in 1842.  

Also receiving the Queen’s Royal Standard were Schubert; Sen. Jarrett Keohokālole, ‘ohana (family) of the Queen and chair of the Native Hawaiian Caucus in the Senate; and Rep. Daniel Holt, a Dominis family relative, royal family descendant and chair of the Native Hawaiian Caucus in the House.

“This is a significant day in the history of Hawai‘i. It is an occasion of great pride for our people,” Josh Green said in a press release. “We are deeply grateful for the watchful eyes and generous hearts of those who took the first steps to bring home this rare and meaningful treasure of the Hawaiian monarchy.”

Jaime Kanani Green said Queen Lili‘uokalani was a prime example of peace, prosperity and servant leadership, putting the well-being of her people first and provided resources in perpetuity for future generations of Hawai‘i.


“The Royal Standard carries the Queen’s mana, including her legacy of leadership that allows Hawaiʻi to move forward in unity toward a brighter future for our keiki,” she said. “It has been a humbling honor to welcome the standard home, where it belongs.” 

After public viewing Monday afternoon, the standard will join other Hawaiian Kingdom standards in the State Archives. All are in need of restoration “and there is hope that sufficient funds can be raised to have these rare pieces of Hawai‘i history undergo full conservation treatment,” Jansen said.   

To see more photos, click here.

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