Japan's Princess Ayako Gives Up Royal Status for Love After Marrying a Commoner
The princess is now a married woman, but no longer a royal.
The 28-year old, who renounced her royal status to wed a commoner, tied the knot on Monday morning in a Shinto ceremony at Tokyo's historic Meiji Shrine. A small group of about 30 family members attended, according to news reports.
The groom, Kei Moriya, 32, is a shipping executive.
Ayako, who wore a traditional court kimono and hakama skirt and styled her hair in the "osuberakashi" ancient style for noblewomen, spoke to reporters following the ceremony to express her joy.
Her late father, Prince Takamado (cousin of present Emperor Akihito) who died in 2002, "would have rejoiced at my marriage" she added, telling reporters that the top hat Moriya was holding had belonged to her father.
Moriya said, "I want to support her firmly and hold hands to look forward and build a family full of smiles."
The couple were introduced by the bride's mother Princess Hisako last December. On August 12, Ayako became engaged in a traditional court ceremony to Moriya, who works for Japanese shipping firm NKY Line.
Under Japan's current Imperial Household Law, women marrying a commoner must lose their royal status. With a diminishing royal line, however, changes have been wrought to the protocol. The royal household now accounts only 17 members, 11; women among them and succession as well as the ability of the household to manage official functions, patronage and public appearances, has become a concern.
To accommodate this need, on Friday, in a first of it's kind historical change, Princess Hisako, 65, announced her daughter would continue to retain patronage over two institutions.
Adjusting Ayako's status is only one of several significant changes which will effect the Chrysanthemum Throne in the immediate future.
In April 2019, after an unprecedented constitutional exception, Emperor Akihito is scheduled to abdicate over health concerns.