Japanese Princess Who Is Giving Up Her Royal Status to Marry a 'Commoner' Set to Announce Wedding Date

The bride-to-be will renounce her royal status to marry her law clerk love

Japanese Emperor Akihito‘s eldest granddaughter — who is sacrificing her royal status for love — will officially announce her engagement in less than two weeks.

Princess Mako of Akishino and her fiancé, law clerk Kei Komuro, are expected to marry in 2018. Both Mako and Komuro were students at Tokyo’s International Christian University at the time they met and have dated for five years. Their joint public announcement and appearance before the press will formally begin betrothal rites, under which Mako will renounce her royal status to marry Komuro, a commoner.

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AP

According to the Imperial Household, Mako and her fiancé, both 25, will meet the international press to announce their engagement on September 3. Prior to their joint appearance before the press, however, Emperor Akihito will perform an approval ceremony. Later that day, a palace staffer will formally present the couple to the press.

The September 3 announcement will set in motion a number of ceremonies, commencing with Nosai no Gi, a formal engagement ceremony in which the groom presents gifts.

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Princess Mako and Kei Komuro. Shizuo Kambayashi/AP; Fumine Tsutabayashi/Kyodo Newws/AP

Mako’s renouncement of royal status will make her the 8th member of the Imperial family to renounce status in order to marry since WWII. Her aunt Sayako, the only daughter of the current emperor, followed a similar path to marriage in 2005.

Nevertheless, her engagement arrives in the midst of unprecedented changes in Japan’s Chrysanthem Throne. In early June, Japan’s parliament enacted a one-time change in the law which will allow the 83-year old Akihito to abdicate in favor of his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito, 57.

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Akihito’s upcoming abdication, the first in more than two centuries, is widely expected to be announced by December.

Under existing Imperial Household Law, only males may inherit the throne. Following the abdication, Mako’s father, Prince Akishino, 51, will become first in line to the throne. Her 10-year old brother, Prince Hisahito, the current Emperor’s only grandson, will become second in line.

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