Part II: Queen Kapiolani and Princess Liliuokalani at the White House
Part II of II – At the White House (Continuing from Part I)
After their journey through America, Queen Kapiolani and Princess Liliuokalani finally reached Washington D.C.
When the royal entourage arrived at Arlington Hotel at Washington D.C. on the evening of May 3, the first queen to visit Washington D.C. already had a crowd waiting for her:
“There were scores of people at the station and hotel when her Majesty and suite arrived, and the crowd pushed hither and thither to get a glimpse of the company. Never before in the history of the Republic has a genuine Queen of a foreign power visited the United States.”
A delegation of the Boston Common Council (now the Boston City Council) met with the entourage and requested an interview with them, which was granted. Boston Common Council President Barry invited them to attend a banquet and reception in the city.
The next day at noon, the entourage arrived at the White House by carriage and met the Secretary of State on the portico. Minister Carter escorted the royal dignitaries to the Blue Parlor, where they met U.S. President Grover Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland. In the ten-minute reception, they pleasantly welcomed the Hawaiian monarchs.
Accompanied by the representatives of the State, War, and Navy Departments, the entourage visited the Washington barracks and attended a luncheon by General Gibson the next day. In the afternoon, Kapiolani met the representatives of foreign governments in Washington D.C. In the evening, the royal dignitaries and their escorts rode in their carriages to Ivy City, where they watched the races of the National Jockey Club.
In the next evening, the entourage attended a state dinner in the White House honoring them, the first ever honoring a reigning sovereign. Flowers with prominent Hawaiian colors, palms, and potted plants decorated the room, and Mrs. Cleveland greeted the royal entourage.
As the U.S. Marine Band started playing a march, President Cleveland escorted Kapiolani to the dining room, Chief Justice Waite escorted Liliuokalani, and other dignitaries followed them. President Cleveland sat between the two women, and the newspaper remarked, “For one the Chief Executive sat next to a lady who could not talk back.”
The next day, U.S. Treasury Secretary Charles Fairchild gave the entourage a tour of the cash vaults at the U.S. Treasury Department. The mountains of gold and silver captivated the queen. But she focused on the life-saving service (a predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard) and considered introducing a similar system in Hawaii.
The entourage sailed to England to attend Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and tried to help King Kalakaua mortgage his kingdom for $2,000,000.
– Alice Kim
For more information: Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani
“A Royal Curiosity: Queen Kapiolani’s Arrival Creates a Sensation in the East”
Sacramento daily record-union, May 4, 1887, Image 1
“The Visit of Royalty: Queen Kapiolani Received by the President”
The Washington critic, May 4, 1887, Image 1
“Washington Notes” (visiting the barracks)
Fort Worth daily gazette, May 6, 1887, Page 4
“Washington: Queen Kapiolani and Suite Shown Through the Treasury Department by Secretary Fairchild”
Fort Worth daily gazette, May 8, 1887, Page 4