Japan’s Princess Mako and her new husband are preparing to move into a rented one-bedroom apartment in New York City after she was forced to give up her royal title in order to marry her commoner college sweetheart.
The 30-year-old, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of Emperor Naruhito, quietly tied the knot with Kei Komuro, 30, on Tuesday after their wedding was delayed several years following intense scrutiny.
Following their nuptials, the couple moved into a condo in Tokyo but are planning to permanently relocate to the Big Apple, according to Japanese media outlets.
It is unclear exactly where in Gotham the couple plan to rent.
Mako’s husband has a job at a law firm after sitting the New York bar exam back in July.
The former princess is in the process of securing a visa so she can also work in the US, NHK reports.
The newlyweds will be financially independent after Mako turned down a $1.23 million payment that she was entitled to upon leaving the royal family.
She is the first imperial family member since World War II to not take the payment, saying she chose not to do so because of the criticism surrounding her marriage.
The couple did not have a formal wedding ceremony or reception — and instead opted to wed by filing an official legal document.
They held a press conference shortly after during which Mako said: “For me, Kei-san is a priceless person. For us, our marriage was a necessary choice to live while cherishing our hearts.”
Komuro responded: “I love Mako. I live only once and I want to spend it with someone I love.”
“I hope to have a warm family with Mako-san, and I will continue to do everything to support her,” he added.
The couple first met at Tokyo’s International Christian University before they announced their engagement in 2017. They had initially planned to marry the following year but it was delayed when financial issues with Komuro’s mother surfaced.
Mako’s mother-in-law had previously received money from an ex-fiance but a financial dispute later broke out over whether it was a gift or loan.
The princess developed post-traumatic stress disorder over the negative media attention surrounding her relationship, palace doctors said.
Former princess Mako Komuro and her husband are planning to leave Japan for New York on Sunday, a source familiar with the matter said Friday.
The newlywed couple, both 30, are scheduled to depart from Haneda airport in Tokyo to start their new life in New York, where Kei Komuro works as a law clerk at a legal firm after graduating from Fordham University's law school with a Juris Doctor degree in May.
The Komuros have already secured a place to live in the U.S. city, according to the source.
It was originally planned that Komuro would travel to the United States first due to work commitments and the former princess, who left the imperial family upon marrying a commoner, would join him later after obtaining a passport.
But the husband's stay in Japan was prolonged after former princess Mako's grandfather and Crown Princess Kiko's father, Tatsuhiko Kawashima, a professor emeritus at Gakushuin University, died last week and the couple attended his family funeral Saturday.
The eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito married her boyfriend on Oct. 26 after years of controversy over a financial dispute involving his mother and her former fiance that led the couple to forgo traditional ceremonies associated with a royal marriage.
A lawyer representing Komuro told reporters Friday night that the former fiance of Komuro's mother had agreed to receive settlement money in a meeting with Komuro the same day.
Komuro had proposed making a settlement payment, but the man had asked to meet with his mother, a request she refused citing her mental health condition.
"We have reached a conclusion that (the former fiance) will accept the settlement money," the lawyer said, but quoted the man as saying he cannot yet say if the dispute is settled.
A Japanese princess who gave up her royal status to marry her commoner college sweetheart arrived in New York on Sunday, as the couple pursued happiness as newlyweds and left behind a nation that has criticized their romance.
The departure of Mako Komuro, the former Princess Mako, and Kei Komuro, both 30, was carried live by major Japanese broadcasters, showing them boarding a plane amid a flurry of camera flashes at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
Photos posted online showed the couple arriving at JFK Airport.
Kei Komuro, a graduate of Fordham University law school, has a job at a New York law firm. He has yet to pass his bar exam, another piece of news that local media have used to attack him, although it is common to pass after multiple attempts.
“I love Mako,” he told reporters last month after registering their marriage in Tokyo. They did so without a wedding banquet or any of the other usual celebratory rituals.
“I want to live the only life I have with the person I love,” he said.
Although Japan appears modern in many ways, values about family relations and the status of women often are seen as somewhat antiquated, rooted in feudal practices.
Such views were accentuated in the public's reaction to the marriage. Some Japanese feel they have a say in such matters because taxpayer money supports the imperial family system.
Other princesses have married commoners and left the palace. But Mako is the first to have drawn such a public outcry, including a frenzied reaction on social media and in local tabloids.
Speculation ranged from whether the couple could afford to live in Manhattan to how much money Kei Komuro would earn and if the former princess would end up financially supporting her husband.
Mako is the niece of Emperor Naruhito, who also married a commoner, Masako. Masako often suffered mentally in the cloistered, regulated life of the imperial family. The negative media coverage surrounding Mako's marriage gave her what palace doctors described last month as a form of traumatic stress disorder.