Princess Mako, fiance all smiles as engagement is finally official

Princess Mako the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko will forsake her royalty to marry fiancé Kei Komuro a commoner she met at International Christian University in Tokyo

The 25-year-old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will be marrying Kei Komuro, her classmate at the International Christian University.

Komuro said they kept in touch even though they were physically far from each other.

Mako said she felt truly happy when he proposed a marriage in late 2013, while Komuro said he was aware of the responsibility that entails and expressed his desire to create a harmonious family.

Despite the union being accepted by her parents, under the Imperial House Law, princesses are obliged to leave the royal family should they choose to marry a commoner.

She also said her love is "a honest, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart".

Referring to the princess's achievement in fostering momentum for the Japanese tennis circle, Watanabe said, "It's regrettable that she leaves the imperial household at this time, but I wish her happiness for many years to come".

'Having a family still goes beyond my imagination, but I hope to make one that is warm, comfortable and filled with smiles, ' Mako said. "While I worked to help the emperor and fulfill duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I've been cherishing my own life".

The couple maintained a long-distance relationship as Mako studied in Britain and Komuro in the US for one year.

Mako graduated from ICU in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Art and Cultural Heritage. She is pursuing a doctorate and works as a museum researcher.

Komuro, a resident of Yokohama, is working at a Tokyo law firm as well as studying business law at the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy.

Although Komuro, 25, is not a royal, he was once dubbed the "Prince of the Sea".

The official announcement was made in a news conference on Sunday by the Imperial Household Agency. But official sources have confirmed that it delayed after a rain disaster hit western Japan.

While the couple have officially announced their relationship, their engagement will become official only after a traditional rite of betrothal called Nosai no Gi takes place, Japan Times reports. Once she relinquishes her royal status, the Imperial family to just 18 members, already including the emperor.

Princess Mako and her father Prince Akishino during a royal visit to Hungary this year. He'll be succeeded by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

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