Who needs the title of “Princess” when you have love?
Princess Ayako, the youngest daughter of Emperor Akihito’s late cousin, married commoner Kei Moriya in a ceremony Monday at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.
The 28-year-old princess officially lost her ‘royal status’ after her marriage to the 32-year-old employee of shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K.
Ayako wore a large, multiple layered kimono and extravagant molded hair, typical of imperial aristocracy, while the groom wore a black tuxedo with grey trousers for the ceremony at the shrine dedicated to the spirit of her great-grandfather, Emperor Meiji.
The private ceremony was held in front of the Japanese Imperial Family, including her older sister Princess Tsuguko.
“I’m filled with happiness to get married and to have so many people visit us at the Meiji Shrine and congratulate us,” Princess Ayako told a news conference after the private Shinto wedding ceremony.
“I will leave the imperial family today,” she said, “but I will remain unchanged in my support for his majesty and her majesty,” she added.
Japan’s royal family is experiencing a shortage of males. Crown Prince Naruhito, who takes over after Akihito abdicates next year, his brother Fumihito, his nephew Hisahito and Masahito, the octogenarian brother of the current emperor, are the only four male heirs left to the throne.