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Abigail Kawānanakoa
Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa a0002554.jpg
Kawānanakoa in 2012
Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa

(1926-04-23)April 23, 1926
Honolulu, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii
Died December 11, 2022(2022-12-11) (aged 96)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
  • Rancher
  • equestrian
  • philanthropist
Veronica Gail Worth
(m. 2017)
  • Lydia Liliuokalani Kawānanakoa (biological mother)
  • Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa (adoptive mother)
Family Kawānanakoa

Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa (April 23, 1926 – December 11, 2022), also known as "Princess Abigail Kawānanakoa", born during the Territorial Period of Hawaii and sometimes called Kekau, was a descendent of the Hawaiian royal family from the House of Kawānanakoa, as well as an equestrian and philanthropist of Hawaiian heritage, culture and arts.

Birth and early life

Kawānanakoa was the only child of Lydia Liliuokalani Kawānanakoa, born during her marriage to Irish-American William Jeremiah Ellerbrock. Kawānanakoa was educated at Punahou School in Honolulu, the Shanghai American School in Shanghai from 1938 to 1939, and Notre Dame High School in Belmont, California, from which she graduated in 1943. She attended Dominican College in San Rafael, California, from 1943 to 1944, and studied at the University of Hawaii in 1945.

Line of succession to the throne of Hawaii

The Kingdom of Hawaii's last two monarchs, Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani were childless. Because of this, both monarchs named family members as heirs, including Princess Kaʻiulani, the daughter of Princess Miriam Likelike, sister of the two rulers.

At the age of six, she was legally adopted by her grandmother, Princess Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa, in the Hawaiian tradition of hānai with the intention that she remain a direct heir to a possible restoration of the kingdom. She is a granddaughter of Prince David Kawānanakoa, the hānai adopted son of King Kalākaua. On February 10, 1883 David Kawānanakoa was granted the title of Prince and style of His Royal Highness by King Kalākaua through Letters Patent.

With the adoption by her grandmother, Abigail became a daughter of Prince Kawānanakoa. Her genealogy firmly establishes her as a member of the Hawaiian royal family. In 1986, she told writer Marilyn Kim that, had the kingdom continued, it was her cousin Edward A. Kawānanakoa who would have been heir to the Kawānanakoa\Kalākaua lines, as he was the first born of the oldest sibling, but joked that she would be the "power behind the throne." Senator Daniel Inouye had described Abigail as; "..a member of the family with the closest blood ties to the Kalākaua Dynasty" however, author and professor of the University of Hawaii, Jon M. Van Dyke states in his book Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai'i? that none of the Kawānanakoas have ever claimed an interest in the Crown Lands but acknowledges that they see themselves as the designated heirs of the Kalākaua line.

Equine endeavors

Kawānanakoa was an expert horsewoman and owner of ranches in Hawaii, California, and Washington State. She was a 20-year cumulative breeder of AQHA quarter horses. Her horses' many victories include the 1993 All American Futurity (G1) with A Classic Dash and the 1995 Los Alamitos Million Futurity (G1, now the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity) with Evening Snow. After winning "the richest race in the quarter horse world", she retired A Classic Dash from racing to stand at her Lakeview Quarter Horse Ranch in California. Due to her support of the equine medicine program at Colorado State University, in May 2016, she was awarded an honorary degree.

Family legacy and philanthropy

Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa a0006586
Abigail Kawānanakoa as guest of honor at the Merrie Monarch Festival, 2013

Kawānanakoa was the president of the Friends of ʻIolani Palace from 1971 to 1998, succeeding her mother, who founded the organization. The palace was built by her adopted great-granduncle, King David Kalākaua. She was active in various causes for the preservation of native Hawaiian culture, including the restoration of 'Iolani Palace.

Kawānanakoa was heiress to the largest stake in the estate of her great-grandfather, James Campbell, a 19th-century industrialist from Ireland. When the estate was converted into a corporation in 2007, her share was estimated to be about US$250 million.

In 2013, Kawānanakoa requested to be buried in a new crypt at the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii at Mauna ʻAla directly adjacent to the Wyllie Tomb. The request was approved by the State Land Board in April 2013, but the decision has become controversial in the Hawaiian community.

She was a supporter of the Thirty Meter Telescope protests aimed at preventing the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea. She also helps subsidize the annual cost of Merrie Monarch Festival.

Personal life

In 1952, Kawānanakoa was briefly engaged to Peter Perkins, a male model and star player on the Oahu polo team, although they did not marry.

In October 2017, Kawānanakoa married Veronica Gail Worth in Honolulu. The couple were married in a ceremony performed at the home of Justice Steven Levinson. In 2017 Kawānanakoa had a medical episode. In a handwritten letter by her to the media, she explained her firing of her former attorney James Wright. First Hawaiian Bank succeeded Wright as trustee in 2018.

Kawānanakoa died on December 11, 2022, at age 96. Her death was announced in the Hawaiian language at ʻIolani Palace. Governor Josh Green ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff of respect for Kawānanakoa.


Jonah Piʻikoi Kekahili Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Kinoiki Kekaulike John Maipinepine Bright Mary Kamai Hanaike
David Kahalepouli Piikoi Victoria Kūhiō Kinoiki Kekaulike James Campbell Abigail Kuaihelani Maipinepine Bright
David Kawānanakoa Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa
* Legally adopted mother of Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa
William Jeremiah Ellerbrock Lydia Liliuokalani Kawānanakoa
Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa
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