Princess Mako of Japan Marries Commoner in Subdued Ceremony, Officially Giving Up Her Royal Status

The niece of the Emperor Naruhito and Kei Komuro's relationship has been met with backlash from the public and media

princess Mako, Kei Komuro
Princess Mako and Kei Komuro. Photo: STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty

Japan's Princess Mako has married her college sweetheart — without the fanfare that usually accompanies a royal wedding.

The niece of the Emperor Naruhito wed commoner Kei Komuro on Tuesday by submitting the registration at the local ward office. Because the law in Japan requires a princess to "leave the imperial family upon marriage to a commoner," Princess Mako gave up her royal titles to marry Komuro. She also turned down a $1.3 million payout from the Japanese government that is traditionally paid to royal women who lose their royal status when they marry.

At a press event in the afternoon, the couple appeared in front of journalists. Princess Mako wore a pastel blue dress with matching jacket and a pearl necklace, while Komuro wore a striped suit.

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"I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused and I am grateful for those ... who have continued to support me," she said, according to the BBC. "For me, Kei is irreplaceable — marriage was a necessary choice for us."

Princess Mako Of Japan, Kei Komuro
Kei Komuro and Princess Mako. SIPA Press/Nicolas Datiche/Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The relationship was met with pushback from the public and local media. The palace announced earlier this month that Mako, 30, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of media coverage.

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

Princess Mako
Kei Komuro and Princess Mako. SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/AFP via Getty Images

The couple first announced their plans to wed in September 2017, but the event was ultimately pushed off following a dispute over money between Komuro's mother and her former fiancé concerning his having financed Komuro's education.

Princess Mako and Komuro met while attending a study-abroad event at a restaurant in Shibuya, a district in Tokyo. They were both students at the International Christian University in Tokyo at the time.

"First I was attracted by his bright smile," Mako previously said, according to The Telegraph.

Princess Mako
Princess Mako in 2019. AFP/ KAZUHIRO NOGI / POOL/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Komuro proposed over dinner in December 2013, and their long-distance relationship quietly continued while Mako studied for her master's degree overseas, graduating in Art Museum and Gallery Studies in January 2016 from England's Leicester University.

Komuro graduated from Fordham Law in New York this year and currently works for law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP. He recently completed the state bar exam for New York and is awaiting his results.

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