Liliuokalani, the last monarch of Hawaii, was born on September 2, 1838, as Lydia Lili‘u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka‘eha. She studied music from a young age, learned to sing and play several instruments, and would eventually write more than 160 songs, mostly about Hawaiian life and culture. The most popular is Aloha Oe, the story of two lovers parting reluctantly.
She became Queen in 1890 following the death of her brother Kalakaua. He had been forced by powerful business interests from the mainland to accept a new constitution that greatly reduced his power and effectively disenfranchised the native Hawaiians. Liliuokalani attempted to replace that constitution with another, fairer one, but instead, in a shocking coup, a group of businessmen, assisted by US Marines not acting under orders from Washington, forced her at gunpoint to surrender her country into the "protection" of the United States.
Later, she was placed under arrest for allegedly taking part in a plot to regain power. During her imprisonment, she wrote ’O kou aloha nö' (The Lord's Mercy), commonly known as The Queen's Prayer, which has since been sung as a hymn.