H.R.H. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, was the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the younger royal son, who joined the Royal Navy in 1856 at the age of twelve. He was second in the line of succession to the British throne behind his elder brother, the Prince of Wales.
By 1866 he had been promoted to captain and appointed to the command of the HMS Galatea. The following year, he embarked with the frigate on a tour of Britain’s worldwide possessions and, while not a colony, Hawaii was included in his itinerary in consideration of the close historical association between the two kingdoms.
The Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Hilo on July 18, 1869 being a guest of Captain Thomas Spencer. H.M. King Kamehameha V began to prepare for the occasion and had the house of his late father, Mataio Kekuanaoa fitted for the duke’s occupancy.
On the day of the royal arrival on July 21 on Oʻahu, the king sent his carriage to collect his guest at the wharf and in the evening the duke was presented to His Majesty King Kamehameha V who hosted him at a state dinner. The royals who helped King Kamehameha V entertain the prince and his suite were the royal beauties of the court; Queen Dowager Emma, Princess Ruth, High Chiefess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, High Chiefess Lydia Kamakaʻeha Dominis and High Chiefess Elizabeth Kekaʻaniau Laʻanui Pratt.
The next night, at a glittering ball at ʻIolani Palace, the duke was presented with leis by the ladies of the court and opened the dancing by leading the dowager queen on to the floor for a quadrille. This was followed by further expressions of hospitality—picnics, parties and more balls.
One of Honolulu’s streets was named for him, this was Edinburgh Street, which was the block of Bishop Street between Queen Street and Ala Moana Boulevard (part of Halekauwila Street at the time).