- Princess Mako of Japan and Kei Komoru got engaged in 2017 and are set to marry this year.
- As the niece of Emperor Naruhito, Mako must let go of her royal status in order to wed a “commoner.”
- She’s rejected the $1.3 million handout by the Japanese government to start her new non-royal life.
A Japanese princess set to give up royal life when she marries her “commoner” college sweetheart will also turn down a $1.3 million government handout funded by taxpayer money, intended to help jump-start her new life, the Times of London reports.
Princess Mako of Akishino and her law-student fiancé Kei Komuro, both 29, plan to live together in the United States after their nuptials later this year — and they’ll be doing so without a helping hand from the Japanese government, the publication reports.
The couple, who were pictured beaming during their engagement announcement in 2017, are college sweethearts according to the Japan Times, having first met in 2012 while studying at International Christian University in Tokyo.
Komuro, according to the publication, already lives in the US and is awaiting the results of his law exams in December. He’s expected to take up an offer from a US law firm after the results.
However, his and Mako’s is a love story has been plagued with controversy. As a member of Japan’s imperial royal family and niece of Emperor Naruhito, who currently reigns over the Chrysanthemum Throne, Mako’s decision to wed a “commoner” means she will have to give up her title, according to Japan’s 1947 Imperial House Law, the Japan Times reported.
As a woman, the Imperial House law also decrees Mako would never have been expected to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, even without her decision to marry Komuro.
Following the couple’s engagement, the Japan Times reports an advisory panel on imperial succession has been discussing the challenges the law presents when it comes to succession, and particularly whether or not to allow female members of the royal family to retain imperial status after marrying “commoners.”
The 1947 law, according to the publication, has been restricting the order of succession of Japan’s royalty since it came into place. After 61-year-old Emperor Naruhito finishes his reign, the current male heirs set to replace him include his 55-year-old brother Prince Akishino, who is Mako’s father, his nephew Prince Hisahito, 14, and his 85-year-old uncle Prince Hitachi.
On July 9, the publication reported, all six members of the advisory panel had agreed no imperial status should be given to spouses and children of female royal members, which means that Komuro will retain his “commoner” status.
According to the Times of London, Mako’s grandmother, former Empress Michiko, described her as “naive” and called for the end of their relationship in 2017 after reports surfaced that Komuro’s mother was involved in a nearly $40,000 (4.3 million yen) monetary dispute.
The disagreement, according to publication, is still ongoing and involved the ex-partner of Komuro’s mother, who is a widow and claims the funds were a loan, some of which reportedly went to financing Komuro’s schooling. Meanwhile, Komuro’s mother reportedly claims there was no obligation of repayment.
When news of the dispute broke in 2017, the Imperial Household Agency of Japan announced their relationship would be “frozen” and postponed in light of the financial dispute, the Times of London reported.
However, the couple appear determined to go ahead with their wedding plans and are set to marry later this year. Last year, according to the publication, Mako said: “For us, a marriage is a necessary choice to live and honor our hearts.”
“We are irreplaceable for one another, and we lean on each other in happy times and unhappy ones,” she added.
Representatives for the Imperial Household Agency of Japan did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.