#Japanese Princess Mako Denounces Royal Family, Forfeits $1.2m As She Marries Commoner In A Typical Cinderella Story


Princess Mako of Japan has given up her royal title to marry her commoner boyfriend in a move that has sharply divided public opinion.

Mako, 30, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, tied the knot with university sweetheart Kei Komuro, a commoner, in Tokyo on Tuesday after an eight-year engagement.

Japan’s strict laws of succession forbid women from ascending to the Chrysanthemum Throne and force them to give up their titles if they marry commoners.

The low-key ceremony, which was met with protests, was held behind closed doors without any of the pomp and pageantry of other Japanese royal weddings, which traditionally include a reception and banquet. Her aunt and uncle, the reigning Emperor and his wife, also enjoyed a parade through the streets of Tokyo on their wedding day.

Mako’s nuptials were a far more solitary affair. The princess, simply dressed in a blue frock with a bunch of white flowers, bade farewell to her parents, Crown Prince Akishino and mother Crown Princess Kiko, with a bow outside their residence at Akasaka Estate early Tuesday, before sharing a hug with sister Princess Kako, 26.

She then went alone by car to marry Kei at a registry office, away from cameras and a public who are divided over the relationship. Afterwards, the newlyweds held a press conference in a somberly-decorated hotel function room which they paid for, in which they apologised for any distress that their union has caused.

Reading out a prepared statement, Mako defended her decision to marry while describing Kei as ‘irreplaceable’ and adding that ‘our marriage is a necessary step for us to be able to protect our hearts.’ She also criticised news reports written during their engagement which she accused of spreading false information and ‘one-sided rumours’, which she said had left her ‘feeling sadness and pain.’

The royal household previously revealed she is suffering PTSD.

They then bowed for the cameras before departing to start their new life, which is likely to be based in the US where Kei is working for a law firm.

The decision has led to comparisons with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who also turned their backs on royal duties to live privately in the US.

Formerly the Princess of Akishino, Mako, who previously held a high profile position within the royal family, has now taken her husband’s name and will go by Mako Komuro – the first time in her life that she has had a surname.

In his pre-prepared statement, Kei apologised for any distress caused but said that he loved Mako and would support her throughout their life together.

‘I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love,’ he said. ‘I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations.’

The couple did not answer questions to make the experience easier for Mako, but did issue a page of written responses to five pre-selected questions.

One asked about Mako’s condition, to which she responded: ‘Not good’.

Mako and Komuro met at Tokyo’s International Christian University in 2013 and became engaged in secret, before announcing their intention to marry in September 2017.

But the wedding was delayed following a financial scandal involving an unpaid debt allegedly owed by Kei’s mother and suggestions he was marrying for money.

The dispute involves whether money his mother received from her former fiancé was a loan or a gift. Mako´s father asked Komuro to clarify, and he wrote a statement defending himself, but it is still unclear if the dispute has been fully resolved.

In the wake of the scandal, he moved to the US to study law and recently graduated from Fordham University in New York, where he now works for a law firm.

He returned to Tokyo last month before it was announced that the pair would finally wed.

As part of the announcement, the royal household said Mako would forgo all traditional ceremonies and surrender a £1million payment she was entitled to according to Japanese tradition.

She is the first imperial family member since World War II to not receive the payment while marrying a commoner and chose to do so because of the criticism over her marrying a man some consider unfit for the princess.

The pair are now expected to move to the US to start a new life together.

‘There will be different kinds of difficulties as we start our new life, but we’ll walk together as we have done so in the past,’ Mako said, thanking everyone who supported the couple.

Mako, apparently referring to mental health issues, noted ‘many people have difficulty and hurt feelings while trying to protect their hearts’.

She said: ‘I sincerely hope that our society will be a place where more people can live and protect their hearts with the help of warm help and support from others.’


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