‘Iolani Palace is the only royal palace that was used as an official home by a reigning monarch in the United States. Both King David Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani lived there. A couple years ago I read a book about Liliu’okalani, who was the last Queen of Hawaii. .. the last reigning monarch, in fact. Since then I have been interested in her life and wanted to go see where she lived.
Dallas wasn’t interested in going to Iolani Palace because he had gone on class trips. He decided instead to drop me off and then go shopping at HIC. I didn’t mind at all. I’d just call him when it was time for him to come pick me up. When he dropped me off in downtown Honolulu he accidentally dropped me in front of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. They were both regal buildings, easy mistake, but I didn’t realize it until Dallas had already driven off. Luckily he was able to look it up on his phone and tell me where to go. ‘Iolani Palace was just around the corner.
The first thing I saw were the barracks behind Iolani Palace.
You can see the palace just a bit taller off to the side in front of the barracks. I walked through the palace grounds, which were kind of like a park with people sitting around and enjoying the day, and finally arrived at the front of the palace. Below is the view from across the street.
And inside the gates.
Oh, but I had to walk back through the grounds because the barracks are where you buy tickets.
I’d missed the guided tour, so I got a ticket for the 90-minute audio tour.
The entrance to ‘Iolani Palace is at the back of the building.
Everyone had to put booties on over their shoes. These were kind of hard to keep on when I was wearing slippers!
The brochure we had showed a map of the 2-story palace and was numbered. Basically you just pressed the number on the audio device when you were in that area and it told you where to look and what you were looking at. You held the device right to your ear.
Photos were not allowed inside the palace. It’s a shame because it’s gorgeous inside, but that is usually how it is when you tour historic homes. I love touring places like this and seeing how people used to live. Like I said earlier, this one was especially cool since I’d read a lot about Queen Lili’uokalani. From the rooms where she entertained heads of states from around the world to the upstairs bedroom where she was eventually imprisoned, it was all pretty amazing. A quilt that Lili’uokalani made while she was held captive is still in the room.
After the audio tour everyone got to go into the palace basement where there are galleries of historic photographic displays, Hawaiian crown jewels, and all sorts of ancient Hawaiian regalia.