Japan’s Princess Mako made headlines when she decided to give up her royal status to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro, last year. But now, the fairy tale has hit a snag, with the couple announcing Tuesday that they are postponing their wedding due to “immaturity.”
“It is because of our immaturity and we just regret it,” the couple said in a statement, according to CNN. “I wish to think about marriage more deeply and concretely and give sufficient time to prepare our marriage and for after the marriage.”
Here are six things to know about Mako and her unconventional romance.
1. She’s a member of the Japanese Imperial Family.
Princess Mako was born on October 23, 1991. She is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and granddaughter of Emperor Akihito. The 26-year-old decided to give up her royal status after falling in love with Komuro, a commoner. The law in Japan requires a princess to “leave the imperial family upon marriage to a commoner.”
2. She met Kei Komuro at school.
The couple met while attending a study-abroad event at a restaurant in Shibuya — a district in Tokyo — about six years ago. They both were students at the International Christian University in Tokyo at the time. Mako graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art and cultural heritage. In 2014, she left for the U.K., where she studied museology at the University of Leicester for a year, receiving a master’s degree in museum studies in January 2016. She also studied art history at the University of Edinburgh.
Princess Mako is an affiliate researcher at the University Museum of the University of Tokyo. Kei Komuro works at a law firm and is currently enrolled as a graduate student. Komuro lives with his mother and grandfather in the city of Yokohama near Tokyo.
3. Mako is unable to inherit the throne.
Though Mako will be considered a commoner once she marries Komuro, her opportunity to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne is limited, as the position is only passed to male heirs. Of the 19 members of the current imperial family, only three males are left. Mako’s uncle Crown Prince Naruhito is expected to succeed Emperor Akihito — with her father and her younger brother following Naruhito in line.
The majority of the members of the royal family are female. If the six other unmarried princesses all choose to marry commoners, there is a “possibility that the imperial family will not have enough members to continue carrying out its public duties,” according to CNN. Japanese citizens has been mixed on their feelings about having a female inherit the throne in the future.
4. Her aunt also gave up her royal status for love.
Princess Mako’s aunt, Sayako Kuroda, decided to give up her royal status when she fell in love with town planner, Yoshiki Kuroda — a commoner. When the two wed in 2005, she was left without her royal title. In 2012, Sayako, formerly Princess Nori, was appointed as a high priestess of the Ise Grand Shrine. The Japan Times reported that Sayako assumed the role for a “notable event.”
5. There are rumors that their marriage has been postponed over Komuro’s student loan debt.
The sudden announcement of Mako’s marriage postponement followed weeks of tabloid reports of a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiancé over Komuro’s college tuition, which was paid for by the mother’s former partner and never paid back, according to reports.
Imperial Household Agency official Takaharu Kachi, however, denied any link between the two. “The postponement is not because of the influence of the weekly magazine reports,” Kachi said. “Their intention to get married is unchanged.”
6. The wedding is still on — for now.
The couple’s wedding, which had been set for November 2018, has been postponed until at least 2020, following Emperor Akihito’s planned abdication in April 2019. The wedding, which had been set for November 2018, has been postponed until at least 2020, following Emperor Akihito’s planned abdication in April 2019.