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Japan’s Princess Ayako weds commoner Kei Moriya in ceremony at Meiji Shrine

Princess Ayako of Takamado, the youngest daughter of Emperor Akihito’s cousin Norihito, Prince Takamado, has married commoner Kei Moriya today in a ceremony at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. She officially lost her imperial titles upon marriage. From now on, she will be known as Mrs Kei Moriya.

The Princess arrived at the shrine in traditional court attire – a kimono robe and hakama pants with her in the osuberakashi style while her groom wore a morning suit. They exchanged rings and read out weddings oaths during the Shinto ceremony, which was attended by about 30 people.

Afterwards, the couple spoke to the waiting press. “I’m very happy that many people were able to celebrate (our marriage),” the Princess told reporters. “We want to make efforts to become a couple like my mother and father.” She added that her late father, who died in 2002, “would have rejoiced at my marriage”, and added that the top hat Moriya was holding had been her father’s. Kei Moriya said he hoped to “build a family full of laughter and smiles.”

With the departure of Princess Ayako, the number of Imperial Family members has dropped to 18, of which 13 are female. Under the Imperial House Law, women lose their royal title after marrying commoners.

Her mother said in a statement she had raised her daughter to “prepare for the day when she supports herself” and wishes that the two “will build a good family full of joy and happiness.”

It was recently announced that the former Princess would receive a lump sum of ¥107 million after her marriage to maintain her lifestyle. Princess Ayako graduated from Chiba Prefecture’s Josai International University with a master’s degree in 2016. She is currently working as a research fellow at the university’s Faculty of Social Work Studies.

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