Japan Emperor's granddaughter Princess Mako announces engagement to former university classmate

Внучка императора Японии выходит замуж за простолюдина

In June, Japan's parliament passed a historic bill that enabled the sitting monarch, Emperor Akihito, to abdicate, passing the throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. BBC reports that a controversial Japanese law forbids their female imperial family members from continuing royal status upon marriage to a "commoner", whereas same doesn't apply to the male members.

Princess Mako, the eldest grandchild of Japanese Emperor Akihito, officially announced her engagement with Kei Komuro, a former university classmate.

At a press conference, Princess Mako said that she was first attracted to Kei Komuro's smile which she says was "like the sun".

Japan's Princess Mako will not have her title much longer.

The pair met five years ago while studying at Tokyo's International Christian University. Princess Mako has a master's degree from the UK's University of Leicester and is now a researcher at a museum. He now works at a law firm and is still studying business law at the Hitotsubashi University's gradual school.

Komuro, 25, said he proposed in December 2013 after dining with the princess in Tokyo.

While it's happy news for the couple, who pledge to make a "relaxed and peaceful" home together, it's not so great for the royal family, who face the pressure of a declining population while they try and keep their 2000-year-old bloodline running strong.

Mako said she introduced Kumro to her parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, as someone she wished to "share her future with", but while the announcement means there is a wedding to plan, it also means the princess will have to leave the royal family. The official announcement was made in a news conference on Sunday by the Imperial Household Agency.

As for marrying an imperial family member, Komuro said, "I recognize seriously that I bear a grave responsibility". They announcement was originally planned for July, but they chose to postpone it following the heavy rains and flooding in northern Kyushu that month. Komuro replied Princess Mako "has been quietly watching over me like the moon".

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

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