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Japan’s Crown Princess Masako attends banquet after 11 year absence

She has been absent from official duties for eleven years, but on Wednesday Crown Princess Masako attended a banquet for the visiting Dutch royals.

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The Crown Princess has been keeping a low profile for the past decade due to suffering with stress related illnesses. The Imperial Household Agency confirmed that Masako accompanied her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, at a banquet for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Officials at the palace said it was her first appearance at an imperial banquet since she attended one for the Mexican president in 2003.

The 50-year-old became ill soon after giving birth to the couple’s daughter, Aiko, and largely withdrew from official duties.

Princess Masako and the family did travel to the Netherlands last year to attend the king’s inauguration in what was seen as a sign of her recovery.

Around 160 guests attended the banquet including other royals and political leaders such as the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Earlier on in the day, Masako was at a welcoming ceremony for the King and Queen. Masako was seen greeting Queen Maxima, both wearing orange, the Dutch national colour. The event was hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

The Princess has suffered with health issues since marrying into the Imperial Family in 1993. She reportedly turned down Crown Prince Naruhito’s marriage proposal twice, because she feared that her life would be too constricting.

Many blame her ill-health on the pressure to produce a male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the royal family went through a succession crisis.

However, in 2006, Crown Prince Naruhito’s brother, Prince Akishino, and his wife had a son which ended the crisis.

Photo credit: kristisan via photopin cc

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