5 months ago
Japan’s Princess Mako would do anything for love — including hand over her title in order to marry the commoner with whom she fell in love.
— The Straits Times (@STcom) May 17, 2017
Plans are underway for Princess Mako to become engaged to Kei Komuru, a law firm worker and graduate student, CNN is reporting. Komuru and the princess, both 25, met five years ago when they were students at the International Christian University in Tokyo.
The engagement won’t be official until there’s a ceremonial exchange of gifts, CNN reports, but the news has sparked fresh concerns about the shrinking size of the imperial family. It currently has 19 members; only three of whom can ascend to the throne: Crown Prince Naruhito, his younger brother Crown Prince Akishino, and Akishino’s son, Prince Hisahito.
This development draws some parallels to the Edward VIII abdication crisis in the early 20th century England. At the time, King Edward VIII left the throne after less than a year to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. As the nominal head of the Church of England, Edward was not allowed to marry Simpson because she was a two-time divorcee. Edward’s brother Albert, known as George VI, ascended to the throne when Edward left it to marry Simpson.
The couple remained together until his death 35 years later.