Tokyo (CNN) – The princess mako from Japan married her commoner boyfriend from college, Kei Komuro, in a low-key ceremony, formally representing her departure from the royal family.
The couple filed their registration at the local ward office around 10 a.m. local time Tuesday, according to the Imperial Household Agency, foregoing the pomp and customary circumstances of most royal weddings.
The newlyweds are expected to move to New York City, where Komuro works at a law firm.
Mako, who turned 30 at the weekend, announced her engagement to Komuro four years ago. But their union has been plagued by years of controversy, public disapproval and a tabloid frenzy over a money scandal involving Komuro’s mother.
In an effort to appease a disapproving public, Mako declined a one-million-dollar payment from the government, to which he was entitled as an outgoing royal.
As the emperor’s niece, Mako was not on the throne line; Japan’s male succession law prevents that from happening. And according to Japanese law, female members of the royal house must renounce their titles and leave the palace if they marry a commoner.
Mako, who will no longer be known as a princess, is not the first woman to leave the Japanese royal family. The last royal to do so was her aunt, Sayako, Emperor Akihito’s only daughter, when she married city planner Yoshiki Kuroda in 2005.
The couple had planned to tie the knot in 2018, but their wedding was delayed. The Imperial family said the delay was due to a “lack of preparation,” but others suspect it was due to reports that Komuro’s mother failed to pay $ 36,000 that she borrowed from her ex-fiancé.
Komuro contested the count, even releasing a 28-page statement earlier this year, stating that his mother believed the money was a gift and that he would pay to resolve the dispute. But the tabloid gossip had already exploded to analyze every aspect of his family and his life.
Some Japanese do not consider the commoner child of a single parent to be worthy of a princess; some media reports even described him as an untrustworthy gold digger.
Years of speculation and slander have taken their toll on Mako. Earlier this month, the palace revealed that he suffers from a complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The princess “feels pessimistic and finds it difficult to feel happy because of the persistent fear that her life will be destroyed,” Princess Mako’s psychiatrist Tsuyoshi Akiyama, director of the Tokyo NTT Medical Center, told the Agency’s media. the Imperial House.
Komuro left Japan to study law in New York in 2018 and only returned in September for the wedding. She arrived in Japan sporting her long hair tied in a ponytail, sparking a media frenzy.
Tabloids published photos of the 30-year-old Komuro’s ponytail from all angles, with some likening it to the top knot of a samurai. On social media, some tweeted their support for his new look, while others said it wasn’t suitable for a real girlfriend’s boyfriend. Komuro cut her ponytail before her wedding on Tuesday.
A quiet life and the comparison with Meghan and Harry
Princess Mako and Komuro’s withdrawal from the royal limelight is being compared to another famous couple: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry sparked controversy when it was first announced in November 2017. Some believed that a biracial divorced American actress had no place in the British royal family.
Over time, British tabloid coverage of the couple became so toxic that Harry issued a statement in November 2016, condemning the “wave of harassment” Meghan had to endure. Eventually, the couple left ship, leaving the British royal family in January 2020.
But while Princess Mako’s “dramatic” departure from the royal family is comparable to “Megxit,” the term used for the British couple’s departure, the similarities end there, said Ken Ruoff, director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Royal Family. Portland State University.
“Members of the British royal family grow up amid great wealth. And they also spend a lot of time raising money directly for a wide variety of charitable causes, that’s how it works. So when Harry and Meghan left for America, telling various stories about the royal family, they managed to earn millions and millions of dollars, while getting involved in left-wing causes to feel good, “said Ruoff.
“I would say that it is almost impossible for Mako and her future husband to behave like this after they get married. In fact, I think what is going to happen is that they are just going to disappear.”
CNN’s Emiko Jozuka and Selina Wang contributed.
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Princess Mako marries her commoner groom in a low-key wedding