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The Only Royal Palace in America

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If, like me, you need at least one museum visit to feel truly satisfied with a vacation, take a break from the beach and visit 'Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. The only royal palace in the United States, it has plenty of lavish decor to ooh and ahh over: royal portraits, a throne room full of gilded chairs, opulent furnishings and crown jewels. But there's also some very sad history here about the coup that overthrew Hawaii's monarchy, imprisoning the queen until she reluctantly abdicated. You'll see the room where Queen Lili`uokalani was imprisoned and the large embroidered quilt that she and her maid worked on to pass the time and remember loved ones. The self-guided audio tour is informative and easy to use, but guided tours are also offered. Better yet, make a day of it and visit the Mission House Museum just down the street, too.

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