As the Royal Houses of Kamehameha and Kalakaua are now extinct, the Head of the Royal House must be elected by the Ali'i (Hawaiian nobles) from the Ali'i Nui (High chiefs). The two most prominent Houses are the House of Kawananakoa and the House of Kamakahelei.
The House of Kamakahelei descends from the High Chiefs (Kings) of Kaua'i, Hawai'i & Mau'i.
His Royal Highness Prince Darrick did not begin making a public royal claim until 2016. He and his ancestors were aware of the strength of their genealogy and their familial connection to the last sovereign, but they had not taken actions to publicize it. Genealogy is a very private affair in
the traditions of Hawai’i, and it is considered distasteful for Ali’i to share their genealogy beyond other Ali’i.
But Prince Darrick saw more junior claimants, who have a more distant connection to the last sovereign, proclaim themselves Heads of the Royal family of Hawai’i through awkward arguments about why their claim was superior. Knowing these other claims to be questionable, Prince Darrick has put forth his own royal claim to preserve the integrity and dignity of the de jure Kingdom of Hawai’i since other family branches are not taking meaningful public action.