Princess Mako attends last Imperial rite ahead of wedding with commoner boyfriend

Japan’s Princess Mako visited the Imperial Estate on Sunday to attend her final ceremony as a member of Japan’s royal family.

She was accompanied by her sister, Princess Kako. The young royals waved and smiled at onlookers before entering the palace. On this trip, Mako is also scheduled to visit the Imperial Palace Sanctuaries and the family’s ancestors on Tuesday. She will also meet Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on 22 October to formally announce her plans to marry Kei Komuro.

Princess Mako’s fiancé Mr Komuro is a “commoner”, who returned to Japan in September for the first time since 2018 after studying law at Fordham University in the US. He has since graduated and is currently working as a lawyer in New York.

Mako, the niece of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, met her fiancé in 2012 at Tokyo’s International Christian University. They announced their engagement in 2017, and their relationship has come under intense scrutiny and some public disapproval since then.

Mr Komuro, who has not seen Princess Mako in over three years, was reunited with her when he met her parents at the Akasaka Estate in Tokyo on Monday.

The New York-based lawyer reportedly submitted a response to Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko regarding an unresolved financial dispute between his mother and her former fiancé. The dispute was whether the 4 million yen (£25,500) that his mother had received from her ex-fiancé, and spent on Mr Komuro’s education in Japan, was a loan or a gift.

The wedding, which was originally scheduled for 2018, had to be pushed back after reports of this dispute surfaced.

Mr Komuro was seen leaving his mother’s Tokyo house in a suit and tie on Monday. His hair was cut short with no sign of the controversial ponytail he was sporting when he arrived in Japan in September.

The wedding date has now been set for 26 October. None of the traditional ceremonies associated with a royal wedding will be performed amid unease over the Komuro family’s legal woes.

Princess Mako will also lose her imperial family status and will leave the estate the same day their marriage is registered. She will also forgo a one-off payment worth 150 million yen (at least £985,000) to which she would normally be entitled upon leaving the royal household.

The couple will move to New York after their wedding.

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