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prince charming

Japanese princess forfeits her royalty to marry a commoner

Japan's Princess Mako has decided to give up her royal status to marry law firm worker Kei Komuro, BBC reports. Princess Mako and Komuro are both 25 and met in college.

"Now we all know that an important imperial family member will be lost with the engagement of Princess Mako," legal history professor Isao Tokoro told The New York Times. "It is urgent that the system should be reformed so that female members can remain in the imperial family. Otherwise, we will lose more and more members from the imperial family."

In Japan, a princess forfeits her royal status if she marries a commoner. Princess Mako's aunt, Princess Sayako, became the first Japanese royal to become a commoner after she married another commoner in 2005. "[Princess Sayako] moved into a one-bedroom apartment, had to learn how to drive, shop in a supermarket, and buy furniture," the BBC reports.

Additionally, while Japan has had female emperors before, the current law, in place since 1947, prohibits their succession to the throne.