HONOLULU (March 22, 2024)—Escorted by female members of the State’s Sheriff’s Office and protocol by members of the Hawaiian Royal Societies, the iconic portrait of Queen Liliʻuokalani was welcomed back and reinstalled at ʻIolani Palace.

The official portrait of the queen returns more than 16 months after she departed for Washington, D.C. to be the centerpiece of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery.  The “1898: Visual Culture and U.S. Imperialism in the Caribbean and the Pacific” exhibit focused on the United States’ military and congressional expansion to the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Before going on display in late April 2023, the Queen’s portrait underwent restoration work by the Smithsonian team, including strengthening the frame, regilding the gold paint, and light cleaning of the painting.

The portrait arrived at ‘Iolani Palace on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, and was reinstalled on Wednesday, March 20, in the Blue Room, where she had been displayed for more than 30 years.

“It brings us great joy to have the portrait of Queen Liliʻuokalani returned to ʻIolani Palace, where we can continue to tell her story,” said ʻIolani Palace Curator Leona Hamano. “She’s very much a living person in our hearts and it’s a blessing to have her back.”

“We also want to mahalo the wāhine sheriffs who accompanied the Queen back to the Palace,” added Paula Akana, president and CEO of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace. “The sheriff’s department was established by King Kamehameha III, so their participation demonstrated their part in our royal history.”

Painted in 1892 by American artist William Cogswell, the portrait features Liliʻuokalani in her famed ribbon gown, which she wore during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. She also wears the Royal Order of Kalākaua and has the diamond butterfly brooch in her hair, which she purchased upon her arrival in London. Cogswell also painted the portrait of King Kalākaua; Queen Liliʻuokalani purchased both portraits for $5,000. Over his career, Cogswell also painted portraits of U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William McKinley.

The Queen Liliʻuokalani portrait is held in the Public Trust with the Hawaii State Archives as the custodian and is proudly on display by the Friends of ʻIolani Palace for the public to enjoy.

About the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace:

‘Iolani Palace is a living restoration of a proud Hawaiian national identity and is recognize as the spiritual and physical multicultural epicenter of Hawai‘i. Built in 1882 by King Kalākaua. ‘Iolani Palace was the home of Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarchs and served as the official royal residence and the residence of the Kingdom’s political and social life until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. A National Historic Landmark, ‘Iolani Palace has been meticulously restored to its former grandeur to tell of a time when King Kalākaua and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked the grand halls. Since 1966, The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace focus on preserving, sharing, and celebrating the culture and history of ‘Iolani Palace and its grounds for the benefit of native Hawaiians, the people of Hawaiʻi, and the world. For more information please visit www.iolanipalace.org or call (808) 522-0822.