Updated: September 30, 2023
The Royal Standard of Queen Lili‘uokalani, Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, was returned to her home, Washington Place, and placed on public view for the first time in 130 years.
The Queen’s Royal Standard flew over Washington Place when Queen Lili‘uokalani was at home, until it was illegally seized in 1893.
Governor Josh Green, M.D., and Hawai‘i’s first native Hawaiian First Lady, Jaime Kanani Green, formally received the Queen’s Royal Standard from Royal Guard and Sheriff bearers, who carried it in a procession, which included members from the Royal Societies and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, from ‘Iolani Palace grounds to Washington Place.
Joining Governor Green and the First Lady in receiving the Queen’s Royal Standard were Gussie Schubert, a descendant of the Dominis family and president of the Washington Place Foundation board of directors; Senator Jarrett Keohokālole, ‘ohana (family) of the Queen and Chair of the Native Hawaiian Caucus in the Senate; and Representative Daniel Holt, a Dominis family relative and royal family descendant, as well as the Chair of the Native Hawaiian Caucus in the House. Captain John Dominis undertook construction of the royal home in 1842.
“This is a significant day in the history of Hawai‘i. It is an occasion of great pride for our people,” said Governor Green. “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. Every Hawai‘i resident can be proud of the dedication and hard work of so many people, including my wife, First Lady Jaime Kanani Green, to ensure the proper return of the Royal Standard.”
“Queen Lili‘uokalani was a prime example of peace, prosperity, and servant leadership,” said First Lady Green. “She put 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. It has been a humbling honor to welcome the standard home, where it belongs.”
“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, Dominis family descendant and Washington Place Foundation board of directors president.
“The standard is a powerful symbol of the Queen’s commitment to her people, and I am grateful to the Governor and First Lady for embracing that same obligation by honoring our ancestors in this way,” said Senator Jarrett Keohokālole.
“When a wrong is righted, we all can rejoice,” said Representative Daniel Holt. “The return of the Queen’s Royal Standard in this way, is pono, and I join Governor and First Lady Green in feeling gratitude for the hearts and hands that made this day possible.”
The State Archives were alerted that the standard was listed for auction and the process to bring the standard and related items home, began immediately.
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.”
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.
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.