Kamehameha IV, Emma and the Anglican Church: Hawaiian ties with Britain

#189 in the Moʻolelo series

Kamehameha IV and V strengthened monarchy and national independence by  means of achieving closer ties with Great Britain. This was because Britain was a constitutional monarchy (as was Hawaiʻi) and would thus likely support the same type of government in Hawai‘i. Increased ties with Britain would also diminish the possibility of annexation to the US.

St. Andrews Cathedral, Honolulu

Increased ties with Britain included personal, religious and personal ties. In terms of personal ties,  Queen Victoria was asked and agreed to be the godmother of Prince Edward Albert Leiopapa A. Kamehameha, son of Kamehameha IV and Emma. 

Prince Albert Edward Leiopapa-a-Kamehameha

The royal couple invited the Anglican Church to Hawai‘i and gave that church much support. The Royal couple’s support of Anglican Church included giving land to church and helping to build the first church on this land, Saint Andrew’s Cathedral. Alexander Liholiho also translated the Book of Common Prayer, an Anglican prayer book, into Hawaiian. The royal couple made Saint Andrew’s the official place of worship of the ruling family. Evidence of high regard given to the Hawaiian Kingdom by Great Britain is seen in the fact that when asked to send an Anglican church official here to establish the Anglican faith in Hawai‘i, the British sent a Bishop (rather than a parish priest) – Bishop Thomas Staley.

Politically, they nurtured ongoing friendly relations with Britain. After the death of Alexander Liholiho, in 1867, Dowager Queen Emma Kaleleonālani founded St. Andrews Priory, and Anglican School that still exists today in Honolulu.

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