Japan’s former princess Mako breaks silence on comparison with Meghan Markle after wedding

Japan’s Princess Mako loses royal status after common marriage

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Mako, the 30-year-old niece of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, spoke about the ongoing comparisons being made between her and the Duchess of Sussex. The eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito took part in a press conference on Tuesday, after registering her marriage with her former university classmate Kei Komuro.

Mako, who lost her title of princess upon marrying a “commoner”, was asked in a question submitted by the press ahead of the conference her thoughts on the comparison to Meghan and whether she was planning, after relocating to New York with her new husband, to give an interview much like Meghan and Prince Harry have done in March.

She replied: “As for the comparison, I don’t have any particular thoughts.

“I would like to refrain from answering any questions about my future personal life.

“I am not considering giving any interviews at the moment. 

“What I would like is just to lead a peaceful life in my new environment.”

Comparisons between Meghan and Mako were sparked as both royals experienced intense media and public scrutiny, with which they struggled.

Moreover, they both chose to relocate to the US with their partners to start a new life after changing their royal status.

Mako and Kei’s relationship has been marred by public criticism, with some members of the public accusing the husband of taking advantage of her links with the Imperial Family.

The pair had initially announced their engagement in 2017 and had planned to marry in November 2018. 

But the ceremony was postponed following claims of a financial issue concerning Kei’s mother and her former fiancé.

The imperial palace denied this was the reason behind the delay – but Crown Prince Fumihito, the heir presumptive to the throne, said it was important for this problem to be dealt with before the nuptials.

Keeping her nuptials as private as possible, Mako became the first Japanese royal to both skip the usual rites traditionally held during a royal wedding in the country and turn down the lump sum payment, drawn from the country’s tax coffers, normally given to princesses renouncing their titles for marriage.

The sum amounts to £1million (150m yen).

Mako was filmed leaving her residence in Tokyo in the early afternoon of Tuesday, when she bowed several times to her parents and lovingly hugged her younger sister.  

The newlyweds will live for a short period of time in the Japanese capital before relocating to New York, where Mr Komuro works as a member of a law firm.

Mako and Kei decided against taking questions in person and only answer to the submitted enquiries with prepared statements.

This is because, they explained, some of the questions asked were premised on “unfounded stories” and they feared providing an answer to them would just create further misunderstanding.

The imperial palace had previously revealed the intense media pressure and fear of misinformation and falsehood had caused Mako to suffer from PTSD. 

In their statements, both Kei and Mako expressed their love for one another.

Mentioning her future life in the US, the former princess said: “We will be starting a new life.

“I am sure we will encounter difficulties along the way.

“But just as we have until now, I want to continue joining forces [with Kei], and walking together side by side. 

“Our loyalty to each other is thanks to our devotion to one another and thanks to the presence of all those who supported us.

“There are many who understand the difficulty of living while protecting our hearts.

“I hope that we can create a society where we can all live and support each other’s feelings.”

Kei, acknowledging the unhappiness of some members of the Japanese society ahead of their union, said: “I love Mako. You only live once, and I think that my wish is to live my life together with someone that I love.

“Until now, we have had happy times, and not so happy times, but we faced them together.

“To those whom I have caused distress due to this wedding, I would like to apologise.

“The fact that I would like to pursue my life with Mako is thanks to her and to all those who have supported us. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks.”    

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