Lili‘uokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawai‘i in January 1891 upon the death of her brother, King Kalakaua, and, during the following summer, she visited each of the islands of her realm, including Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.
William Hyde Rice made such an impression hosting the queen that, upon her arrival back in Honolulu after several days on Kaua‘i and a day on Ni‘ihau, she named Rice governor of Kaua‘i.
There were nonstop parties, presentation of hundreds of keiki to the queen, gift-giving, and more during her first visit as queen, according to Hank Soboleski in his book “History Makers of Kauai.” She stayed on Kaua‘i for 11 days, with Rice’s Lihu‘e residence, Hale Nani, serving as monarch central. The estate’s entrance lane was off Rice Street, where ‘Ewalu Street (near Kauai Toyota) is located.
During the lu‘au and all-day celebration at Hale Nani, people brought pigs, calabashes, and other ho‘okupu to the queen, which she graciously received.
Present at her side for an evening gala was 20-year old Prince Kuhio, who would accompany the queen on her Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau tour.
During their stay on Kaua‘i, Lili‘uokalani and members of her entourage traveled to Hule‘ia, Wailua Falls, Kapa‘a, Kealia, Hanalei, Waimea, Koloa, and Ni‘ihau.
Lavish parties befitting a queen were held in her honor at nearly every stop.