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I was thinking about King Kamehameha V or as Hawaiians of an earlier generation began to call him later, "Good King Lot" or "Good Prince Lot". King Kamehameha V began a lot of the projects that King Kalākaua would complete including Aliʻiōlani Hale. One of the stories I always remember about him was his annoyance at ceremonies. It was the custom of Kamehameha III to have a band (complete with trumpets) and the troops march around ʻIolani Palace twice a day--for the raising and lowering of the Hawaiian flag. Kamehameha III and his court would stand in attention in full Prussian military uniforms while this daily 30 minutes ceremony was carried out. When Kamehameha V was appointed as King and he moved into ʻIolani Palace, he attended his flag ceremony the following day. Unlike his predecessors, he wore only a simple black suit and hat. After the ceremony was over, he announced that such displays would only be limited to national holidays because in his view, the Monarch was a public employee and as such should be focused on the actual work of government and not merely the display of governance.

When he went on his first royal tour as king, an old Hawaiian man in the crowd dropped to his knees in the traditional moe kapu or kowtow style in front of the King. The King got off his horse, reached for the man to help him up and said that while he appreciated the respect, such customs were no longer necessary because gone are the day when aliʻi were thought of as descendants of gods and then he spoke that it was his task as king to ensure that Hawaiians would never kowtow to any man.

It is of little wonder then that the author Mark Twain used King Kamehameha V as one of his inspirations of King Arthur in  "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"


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