Fairytale romance: Japanese princess gives up her royal status to marry commoner

Princess Mako, fiance all smiles as engagement is finally official

Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, Emperor Akihito, has expressed a desire to abdicate and is expected to do so in late 2018.

Japan's Princess Mako and her fiancé - a commoner - announced their engagement Sunday, a match which will cost the princess her royal status according to a law that highlights the male-dominated nature of Japan's monarchy.

The pair met five years ago while studying at Tokyo's International Christian University.

Details of their wedding have not been decided, and palace officials say the ceremony is expected sometime around autumn next year after a series of rituals, including one that authorizes the engagement.

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The two became close as they sat near each other during a briefing session held in 2012 at the university for a student exchange program, according to the press conference.

The princess works as a researcher at a Tokyo museum, while Komuro, a resident of Yokohama city, south of the capital, is a legal assistant and undertaking a Master's degree in business law. Her 10-year old brother, Prince Hisahito, the current Emperor's only grandson, will become second in line.

This announcement kicks off a lengthy marriage process, and it also means the princess will lose her royal status.

The Princess will be the first to lose royal status since 2014, when the emperor's daughter, Princess Noriko married. Then Komuro proposed to her after dinner in December 2013.

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Japan's Princess Mako got engaged to a commoner on Sunday.

Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko said in a statement that they look forward to the wedding of Princess Mako and Komuro. This was the first time for Komuro to meet with the Emperor and the Empress.

According to The Japanese Times, The Japanese Imperial royal family now has 18 male members, but only one of them, Princess Mako's brother, 10-year-old Prince Hisahito, is under the age of 50.

Even if they had a long-distance relationship during the time they needed to study overseas for a year, the couple remained stronger. The announcement was originally scheduled for July, but the couple made a decision to postpone it in light of the torrential downpours in northern Kyushu earlier that month.

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Mr Komuro said he was so thankful and happy to have been accepted by her parents, and her grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

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