Japan’s Princess Mako loses royal status after marrying commoner

Bride declines $1.2 million dowry after leaving imperial family

Japanese Princess Mako has married a commoner and lost her royal status.

The newlywed declined a 140 million yen ($1.23 million) dowry she was entitled to for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said.

The marriage document for Mako and Kei Komuro was submitted by the palace on Tuesday morning and is now official, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The union, which has split public opinion, was delayed for more than three years due to a financial dispute involving her new mother-in-law.

The agency will make statements at a press conference but will not take questions because Mako showed fear and unease at the questions that would be posed, it said.

Mako is recovering from what palace doctors described as a form of traumatic stress disorder that she developed after seeing negative media coverage about her marriage, especially attacks on Komuro.

There will be no wedding banquet and there have been no other rituals for the couple. Their marriage is not celebrated by many people, the agency said.

Mako, who turned 30 three days before the wedding, is a niece of Emperor Naruhito. She and Komuro were classmates at Tokyo’s International Christian University when they announced in September 2017 they intended to marry the following year. The financial dispute surfaced two months later and the wedding was suspended.

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

Komuro, 30, left for New York in 2018 to study law and only returned to Japan last month. His hair, tied in a ponytail, captured attention as a bold statement for someone marrying a princess in the tradition-bound imperial family and only added to the criticism.

No longer a royal, Mako has now taken the surname of her husband.

Mako is the first imperial family member since the Second World War to not receive the dowry. She turned it down because of criticism over her marriage to a man some consider unfit for a princess.

She left the palace wearing a pale blue dress and holding a bouquet on Tuesday morning. She bowed outside the residence to her parents Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, and hugged her sister Kako.

The Imperial House Law allows only male succession. Female members of the royal family must renounce their royal status when they marry a commoner, a practice that has resulted in a decline in the size of the royal family and a shortage of successors to the throne.

After Naruhito, there are only Akishino and his son, Prince Hisahito, in the line of succession. A panel of government-appointed experts are discussing a stable succession of the Japanese monarchy, but conservatives still reject female succession or allow female members to head the imperial family.

Updated: October 26th 2021, 8:16 AM
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