Japan's Former Princess Mako Arrives in New York City with Husband After Giving Up Royal Title
Japan's former Princess Mako is starting a new life in America.
Just weeks after the niece of Emperor Naruhito gave up her royal title to marry commoner Kei Komuro, the couple relocated to New York City. They were spotted arriving at Tokyo's Haneda International Airport on Sunday, arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport following the 12-hour flight.
The pair, who dressed casually and wore face masks, was surrounded by security as they made their way through the airport and got into a car. They are renting an apartment in N.Y.C., according to the BBC, where Komuro works at a law firm after graduating from Fordham University's law school. According to reports earlier this month, Komuro failed the bar exam but plans to retake the test.
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.
Princess Mako and Komuro, both 30, 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.
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.
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.
They tied the knot on October 26 without the fanfare that usually accompanies a royal wedding. The Imperial Household Agency (IHA) explained that Mako and her now-husband did not want to have a big wedding "because their marriage is not celebrated by many people."
At a press event in the afternoon, the couple appeared in front of journalists. Princess Mako wore a pastel blue dress with a matching jacket and a pearl necklace, while Komuro wore a striped suit.
"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."
The palace announced ahead of the nuptials that Mako was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of negative media coverage.
"I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love," said Komuro. "I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations."