Who is Mary on Queen Liliuokalani's quilt? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Who is Mary on Queen Liliuokalani's quilt?

Queen Liliuokalani's quilt under plexiglass Queen Liliuokalani's quilt under plexiglass
Loretta Woodard Loretta Woodard
Lita Domingo Lita Domingo
Queen Liliuokalani (left) and Mary Kilioe McGuire (right) Queen Liliuokalani (left) and Mary Kilioe McGuire (right)

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Behind the covered windows of the upstairs room in Iolani Palace, a royal artifact is preserved under Plexiglas.

The queen's quilt was sewn by Queen Liliuokalani and her companions, during her house arrest in the palace.

"It just has incredible embroidery and some absolutely gorgeous silks," said Loretta Woodard, a quilt historian and author.

Stitched into the fabric are symbols of the Hawaiian Kingdom, references to its overthrow, and names of the queen's acquaintances.

Mary is one of the names.

That's where Lita Domingo comes in.

"It's our thought that Mary is grandma," she said.

Domingo is convinced that Mary is her grandmother Mary Kilioe McGuire.

Growing up, she heard many stories of Mary's trips to Iolani Palace to see the queen.

"It's very humbling to know that she visited the queen and had that tie," Domingo said.

Woodard co-authored a book on the queen's quilt. She said it's very possible the Mary is Mary McGuire, but she'd like more proof.

"It would be really exciting if someone had some kind of paperwork that had Mary's name on it that might be compared with the embroidered ribbon on the quilt," she said.

A document does exist that shows Mary McGuire's name on a palace ledger. It was written when Mary presented the queen with plants for her royal garden.

"My grandma was close friends so she visited a lot and brought gifts," Domingo said.

Her conviction is bolstered even more by the fact that Mary's name is in the same panel on the quilt as the name of another of her relatives - Eugenia Kilioe McGuire.

Mary McGuire died before her granddaughter was born. Domingo visits her grave nearly every holiday. She has one photograph of Mary.

"When my son found that in the archives, oh, my gosh! I was so happy," she said.

Lita's a quilter herself, so she admires the handiwork of the queen's quilt.

Now that she's learned the Mary sewn into the fabric may be her grandmother, she admires it even more.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved

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