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Rest in Peace

'Last Hawaiian princess' Abigail Kawānanakoa dies at 96

Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, the last "Hawaiian princess" and one of the final living descendants of Hawaii's bygone royal family, has died, The Associated Press reported. She was 96. 

Her death was announced on Monday outside of the ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu. The only royal palace on American soil, the mansion was once home to the Hawaiian monarchs but is now a museum. 

In a news release shared by Hawaii News Nowpalace officials said Kawānanakoa had passed away on Sunday. Her wife, Veronica Gail Kawānanakoa, was by her side when she died. "Abigail will be remembered for her love of Hawai'i and its people," her wife said. "I will miss her with all of my heart."

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) released a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by Kawānanakoa's death. "Abigail bore the weight of her position with dignity and humility," Green added. "She has left a legacy dedicated to her people in perpetuity."

While Kawānanakoa did not hold an official title, The Washington Post reported that she was "widely referred to in Hawaii as a princess, as she was considered by historians to be one of the few surviving heirs with a claim to the abolished Hawaiian throne" and was seen as a symbol of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Hawaii's royal family ruled over the islands for nearly a century, until the last monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani, was overthrown in 1893. The United States would annex the Hawaiian islands soon after, and incorporated the territory as the 50th state in 1959.