Japan’s princess gives up royal status for love

Princess Ayako leaves the royal family after marrying a commoner, prompting calls for a change to the law

Princess Ayako
Japanese Princess Ayako and her fiancé Kei Moriya announce their engagement in July, 2018
(Image credit: Koji Sasahara/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan’s Princess Ayako has surrendered her royal title after marrying a commoner in Tokyo yesterday.

The 28-year-old princess, the third daughter of Emperor Akihito’s late cousin Prince Takamado, lost her status after her wedding to Kei Moriya, a 32-year-old employee at a shipping company.

Under Japanese law, female members of the imperial family are forced to forfeit their title if they choose to marry someone without royal or aristocratic ties. She will now be known as Ayako Moriya.

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The private ceremony was held on Monday morning at the Meiji Shrine, where hundreds of well-wishers gathered to see the bride and groom arrive.

Ayako wore a light yellow kimono embroidered with pink flowers and green leaves and a deep purple hakama - wide-legged pleated trousers that fall to the ankles, CNN reports.

Moriya opted for a western style western-style black morning coat, grey pin-striped trousers and a silk hat that belonged to Ayako’s late father, Prince Takamodo, the news site adds.

“I’m filled with joy to get married and to have so many people visit us at the Meiji Shrine and congratulate us,” the bride told reporters after the wedding.

According to the Japan Times, Ayako will receive ¥107 million (£740,000) “in order to maintain her high standard of living even after she loses her royal status.”

With only four male heirs to the throne currently living, the shrinking size of the royal family “has raised concerns and calls for changes in the Imperial Succession Law, but conservatives are deeply resistant to allowing females to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne”, Reuters reports.

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