The granddaughter of Emperor Akihito completed a Master's degree in art history at the University of Leicester

By Phil Boucher
Updated September 21, 2015 04:35 PM

Her official title is Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino, but attending college as a “commoner,” she was simply Mako.

Despite having a celebrity status to rival Princess Kate in her homeland of Japan, the 23-year-old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko has spent the past year living completely undetected on the leafy campus of the University of Leicester, England.

This meant sharing the university halls with other students, attending lectures and completing work placements on her way to attaining a Master’s degree in Art Museum and Gallery Studies. (It’s a similar degree to the one Kate earned at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.)

“We have a strong connection to the cultural profession in Japan, with many students graduating from our school taking up posts in museums and galleries there,” says Dr. Suzanne Macleod, head of the School of Museum Studies.

“It felt very natural that Mako should come and follow her interests with us,” adds Macleod. “She has been a pleasure to teach, has worked incredibly hard and should be very proud of her achievements.”

Princess Mako had been quietly studying at the university since September 2014. Her course focused on both the philosophical and practical approaches of museum management.

This included building an exhibition with other students from around the world and work placements at Coventry Museums and the New Walk Museum in Leicester.

She will officially graduate in January 2016 when the university holds its postgraduate degree ceremonies.

“We are delighted that Princess Mako chose to study with us and trust that she had a wonderful time in Leicester,” says Professor Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester.

“We will be proud to count her among our alumni and hope that she will continue to engage with our university in the future.

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