LocalOther May 27, 2022

The Mo’olelo of a Royal Teacup

One late morning many years ago, I was visiting a kupuna very dear to my heart. We were sitting on her antique koa furniture in her living room sipping lemonade and discussing how she could reupholster her cushions without damaging the wood. After a quiet moment, my friend unexpectedly went to her china cabinet and lovingly removed a gorgeous antique yellow teacup. She carefully placed the stunning cup & saucer on the coffee table. The teacup was breathtaking. The sunlight shone through the fine porcelain illuminating the beautiful painted cherubs. We silently took in the beauty. I could see that my friend loved this teacup and the memories it brought her.

My friend’s grandfather was Abraham Kaleimahoe Fernandez. King David Kalakaua, Queen Lili’oukalani’s elder brother, was very close to Abraham’s parents and remained so until his death in 1891 whereupon Lili’uokalani was proclaimed Queen. Abraham was one of Queen Lili’uokalani’s most loyal royalists. Abraham was both a friend and a beloved counselor to the Queen. From 1891-1893 Abraham served the Kingdom of Hawai’i as a meer of the Queen’s Privy Council. My friend’s prized teacup belonged to Queen Lili’uokalani. The Queen gifted it to Abraham. Abraham gifted it to his granddaughter, my dear friend.

As you sip your Rose Lemonade tea, take a moment, and imagine … Imagine the mo’olelo this treasured royal teacup could tell.

French Connection to Hawaii

  • Queen Emma, Princess Ka’iulani, Prince Kuhio, Kamehameha IV, and King Kalakaua all visited France at various times to help establish Hawaii’s presence in Europe.
  • France gifted Kamehameha III a full-length portrait of King Louis Philippe that currently hangs in the Blue Room in ‘Iolani Palace. It’s the largest painting in the ‘Iolani Palace Collection. The huge portrait required 12 men to carry it from the ship in Honolulu Harbor to the palace.
  • Father Damien, Hawai’i’s most renowned French missionary, was actually born in Belgium. He was, however, a member of the French Congregation of the Sacred Hearts based in Paris. Father Damien was sent from France, ordained in the Honolulu Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in 1864, and assigned to Moloka’i in 1873 where he performed service he is most remembered for among the people with leprosy.
  • In 1944, our infamous 442nd Regimental Combat Team along with the 100th Infantry Battalion – both units made up mainly of second-generation Japanese-Americans from Hawai’i – suffered hundreds of casualties while freeing the French village of Bruyeres. To this day, the citizens of Bruyeres love our 442nd. Our few remaining 442nd survivors continue to try to make the annual pilgrimage to Bruyeres.