Pair of Rare 1860s Cabinet Cards of Queen Emma
Done by John Watkins, London, Photographer to the Queen of England, the Prince of Wales and the Ex Royal Family of France, during From her trip to London, 1860s.
Measurements: Each card measures 2 1/2″ x 4″.
Emma Kalanikaumakaʻamano Kaleleonālani Naʻea Rooke of Hawaiʻi (January 2, 1836 – April 25, 1885) was born on January 2, 1836 in Honolulu to High Chief George Naʻea and High Chiefess Fanny Kekelaokalani Young.
In 1856, Emma married the young King Kamehameha IV. During her reign, the queen tended palace affairs, including the expansion of the palace library. She was known for her humanitarian efforts and encouraged her husband to establish a public hospital to help the Native Hawaiians who were in decline due to foreign-borne diseases like smallpox. In 1859, Emma established Queen’s Hospital and visited patients there almost daily whenever she was in residence in Honolulu. It is now called the Queen’s Medical Center. Together Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV planned great improvements for their country, but in 1863 Kamehameha IV died and was succeeded by his brother. Two attempts were made to install Emma as ruler, but neither was successful. After the death of her husband and son, Queen Emma decided to visit England in 1865 and the British Government provided the ships to transport her and her party. In England she stayed at Windsor with Queen Victoria, and visited hospitals and educational establishments. The two widow queens sympathize with each other and Queen Victoria recorded in her journal on the afternoon of September 9, 1865:
“After luncheon I received Queen Emma, the widowed Queen of the Sandwich Islands or Hawaii. Met her in the Corridor & nothing could be nicer or more dignified than her manner. She is dark, but not more so than an Indian, with fine features & splendid soft eyes. She was dressed in just the same widow’s weeds as I wear. I took her into the White Drawing room, where I asked to sit down next to me on the sofa. She was moved when I spoke to her of her great misfortune in losing her only child. She was very discreet & would only remain a few minutes.”
Emma also journeyed to France where she was entertained by the Emperor Napoleon II and Empress Eugenie. After visiting Italy, Queen Emma returned home. In 1883, Emma suffered the first of several small strokes and died two years later on April 25, 1885 at the age of 49.
-Information from Wikipedia, “Emma: Hawaii’s Remarkable Queen: a Biography” by George S. Kanahele (1999) and “Mary Seacole and the Queen of Hawaii,” Jamaican Historical Society Bulletin Vol 10 No 5 April 1992.