Princess Ayako of Japan Surrenders her Royal Status Upon Marrying a Commoner
With all the pressure and scrutiny that comes with being part of a royal family, dating can be difficult for any prince or princess. But many found romance with “common” people outside of their usual royal sphere.
Although not everyone lived happily ever after, these commoners truly captured the hearts of royals prompting them to sacrifice even their royal status.
Last October 29, Princess Ayako of Japan renounced her royal status to wed a commoner Kei Moriya. The couple tied the knot in a Shinto ceremony at Tokyo’s historic Meiji Shrine where a small group of about 30 family members attended.
The 28-year-old princess is the third daughter of Emperor Akihito’s late cousin Prince Takamado and the latest female royal to leave Japan’s imperial family. Her 32-year-old husband is an employee of shipping company Nippon Yusen.
“I’m filled with joy to get married and to have so many people visit us at the Meiji Shrine and congratulate us,” Princess Ayako told a news conference after the private Shinto wedding ceremony.
Moriya said, “I want to support her firmly and hold hands to look forward and build a family full of smiles.”
Japanese royals have been given freedom to marry whom they choose for at least three generations. However, the women must lose their royal status upon marrying a commoner in accordance with Japan’s current Imperial Household Law.
With a diminishing royal line, the shrinking royal family has raised concerns and calls for changes in the Imperial Succession Law. The royal household now accounts only 17 members.
To accommodate this need, changes have been wrought to the protocol despite conservatives being deeply resistant to allowing females to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne – a first of its kind of historical change. The 65-year-old Princess Hisako announced that her daughter would continue to retain patronage over two institutions.