Princess Likelike, photographed circa 1868 by Menzies Dickson

Origin: Hawaiian
Gender: Female
Meaning: Unknown
Pronunciation: lee-KAY-lee-KAY
Other Forms: Rikériki

(Note: As with all of my names, if you are a native speaker or know more information about this name, please don't feel shy with correcting me in the comments!)

I've recently decided I need to make a more concerted effort towards showing more Royal names outside of the usual European suspects, and today I've chosen to profile the name of a fascinating Hawaiian Princess.

Princess Likelike was born Miriam Likelike Kekāuluohi Keahelapalapa Kapili on January 13th, 1850, in Honolulu on the island of O'ahu, to Hawaiian Chieftess and Chief Analea Keohokālole and Caesar Kapaʻakea. Her parents were political advisors to the then King Kamehameha III (and the next one, Kamehameha IV). Analea was the daughter of ʻAikanaka, High Chief of Hawaii and the Grandfather of two of its monarchs, and Caesar was the son of Kamanawa II (half-brother of ʻAikanaka) and Kamokuiki, who herself was Grandmother to two monarchs. 

Likelike was the youngest daughter of her family, and because she was sickly as a child she was sent to live in the dryer climate of Kona, on Hawaii island. She was raised by her hānai (hānai is the Hawaiian word for an informal adoption; Likelike's were likely extended family) parents, and little is known of her early life. At age six, she returned to Honolulu, where she was educated firstly at the Sacred Hearts Convent and School, and later, by American missionary Maria Ogden, and a seminary where American proestant missonary Lydia Bingham was her teacher.

Though betrothed at one point to Albert Kūnuiākea, King Kamehameha III's illegitmate son and hānai son of Queen Dowager Kalama, she would go on to marry a Scottish businessman, Archibald Scott Cleghorne, who was almost twice her age. Living in a mansion on Emma Street, Honolulu, Likelike blossomed in her new home, was well liked by almost everyone, and said to be a gracious host. However, she was also quick-tempered, having once struck a groom with a whip for not keeping a carriage properly cleaned. She gave birth to the couple's only child, the famous Princess Kaʻiulani, who would go on to be the last heir apparent to the Hawaiian throne. 

Marriage to Cleghorn was tempestuous. He was a man of his time, believing himself to the master of the household, and of course, his wife. But Likelike wasn't just some Victorian woman -- she was a member of the Royal Hawaiian family, and was brought up to rule. Several times they fought, with Likelike running off to Hawaii and refusing to come home until they reconciled.

Likelike was a entrancing figure; she traveled to Australia and the United States and was involved in several philanthropic ventures, showing she was more than worthy of her title. Sadly, Likelike died suddenly at the age of thirty-six from an unknown illness. There were two interesting legends attributed to her death -- one says that in Mid-January of 1887, a large school of red āweoweo fish were seen off the coast of Hawaii. In Native Hawaiian beliefs, to see them is an omen which foretells the death of a member of the Royal family. Likelike died on February 2nd of that year. 

Another claims that Likelike called Kaʻiulani to her bedside, and prophesized that she would leave Hawaii for a long time, would never marry, and would never become Queen, all things which eventually did come to pass.

I wish I could find more information about this name. I would absolutely love to know the meaning behind it, if anyone knows. It's beautiful, like many Hawaiian names are, and would be lovely and strong choice for someone with ties to the island.


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