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Princess Mako leaves Japan's royal family to marry college boyfriend

·1 min read
Kei Komuro and Princess Mako.
Kei Komuro and Princess Mako. STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

Japan's Princess Mako is starting a new chapter in life.

On Tuesday morning, Mako, 30, married her longtime boyfriend Kei Komuro, 30, in a simple ceremony, the Imperial Household Agency said. The couple met at International Christian University in Tokyo, and announced their engagement in 2017.

Mako is the granddaughter of Akihito, the 125th emperor of Japan, and under the country's imperial law, a princess must depart the royal family if she marries a commoner. This is what Mako's aunt, Sayako, did in 2005, when she married town planner Yoshiki Kuroda. Because of Japan's male-only succession law, Mako was never in line to the throne.

The couple's wedding was set for 2018, but was delayed following tabloid reports that Komuro's mother didn't repay her fiancé $36,000 she borrowed. Komuro defended her, saying his mother thought this was a gift, and he promised to pay it back.

The wedding of a princess to a commoner has divided Japan, with some believing it's time to change the outdated rules regarding royal women, while others claim that Komuro is only after Mako's money and tradition must be respected. Departing royals can accept a million-dollar payment from the government, CNN reports, but Mako rejected the offer, due to the controversy surrounding her wedding. Mako, who will no longer be referred to as a princess, and Komuro will likely live in New York City, where Komuro works at a law firm.

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