26-year-old Princess Mako of Japan recently left everyone, including her family members, stunned when she announced her decision to marry Kei Komuro, a law school graduate.
Her decision meant that Mako would have to give up her royal title – under Japanese law, female imperial family members have to give up their status if they want to marry a commoner, but male members do not – a sacrifice that she seemed willing to make.
Mako’s marriage to the commoner was a quiet one – without the traditional wedding celebrations befitting of royals – on Tuesday, 27 October 2021.
The Princess, who is a niece of Emperor Naruhito, said their marriage – delayed three years and opposed by some – was a necessary choice to live while cherishing their hearts.
Princess Mako turned 30 three days before her marriage to Komuro, and the duo were classmates at Tokyo’s International Christian University. In September 2017, Mako had announced that they intended to get married the following year, but a financial dispute involving his mother surfaced two months later, and the wedding was suspended.
Speaking about her husband at a televised news conference, Mako said: “For me, Kei-san is a priceless person. For us, our marriage was a necessary choice to live while cherishing our hearts.”
Komuro responded saying, “I love Mako. I live only once, and I want to spend it with someone I love. I hope to have a warm family with Mako-san, and I will continue to do everything to support her.“
For leaving the imperial family, Mako was entitled to a 140 million yen ($1.23 million) payment which, according to the Palace officials, she had earlier declined.
We know that love is a beautiful thing. However, it usually comes with a price to pay. For some, it might be a small price, and for others, a huge one. Several other monarchs have toed the steps of Princess Mako – giving up their royal titles for love.
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King Edward VIII, England
King Edward VIII gave up his royal title to marry Wallis Simpson in 1937, a woman he had met six years before and had grown fond of.
Edward’s royal title as the King of England at the time could not let him marry Wallis in the church because she was an American woman who had been divorced twice, and the Church of England didn’t allow divorcees to marry in a church at the time.
So, deciding to marry her would mean giving up his office as the then Head of State, but the sacrifice seemed too little to stop King Edward from being with his beloved. So he gave up his title and passed the throne down to his brother George VI, who passed the throne on to Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince Philip, Greece
Prince Philip and Queen ElizabethPrince Philip was born as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, but he had to give these up to become a British citizen. Well, his was quite peculiar because he had several royal titles as the Queen’s consort, including the Duke of Edinburgh.
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Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth got married on 20 November 1947 in Westminster Abbey. After their marriage, he became active in military service, but he left active military service when his wife became the monarch in 1952.
They had four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Prince Philip died peacefully at Windsor Castle on 9 April 2021 at the age of 99.
Princess Ubolratana, Thailand
Princess Ubolratana, daughter of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, made the heavy sacrifice of relinquishing her title of Her Royal Highness to marry commoner Peter Ladd Jensen.
She met Jensen while studying at MIT in Boston, US, and the couple married in 1972. Sadly, the marriage between the duo didn’t work out, and they got divorced in 1998.
Ubolratana returned to Thailand in 2001 but was not given her titles back. According to The Guardian, she is now known as “Tunkramom Ying,” which means “Daughter to the Queen Regent.”
Princess Sayako, Japan
Princess Sayako Nori, daughter of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko, renounced her title to marry commoner Yoshiki Kuroda in 2005.
Just like Princess Mako, she too was entitled to an allowance for leaving the Imperial family, but along with the title, she also gave up her membership to the royal family and allowance from the State. After the marriage, she took her husband’s surname.
She is not the only Japanese princess to give up her imperial title for marriage outside royalty. In October 2018, Princess Ayako, daughter of Norihito, Prince Takamado and Hisako, Princess Takamado, married Kei Moriya and left the royal family.
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