Princess Mako of Japan is living a literal fairy tale. She gave up a fortune so she could marry the man she loves: a commoner. Their relationship has faced incredible scrutiny. Here’s what’s going on.
The Heir And The Hair
Mako is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, and is the niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito. In 2017, she got engaged to Kei Komuro, a commoner whom she met at school. The two were supposed to get married in 2018, but Komuro’s mother became embroiled in a financial scandal around the same time. The public was not happy.
The public’s outcry has only gotten worse. Komuro left Japan to pursue an education in the United States. When he returned, he had an auspicious ponytail. He started getting stalked on the streets as the public disapproves once more. Komuro seems to have more in common with Camilla Parker Bowles than Princess Diana in the court of public opinion. Despite the outcry, Mako has stood by him.
Turning The Money Down
Three years after planning their wedding, Mako and Komuro are finally getting married. The two are expected to make it official in October. Once it’s done, Mako will relinquish her royal titles and become a commoner. This is standard practice for the Japanese royal family.
What is not standard is Mako’s refusal of $1.35 million. Typically, when a royal family member goes “common,” they receive this payment to help maintain their dignity. Mako is refusing the money because she views it as a burden. For someone who has already faced so much criticism, this could help alleviate a bit. Mako’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder thanks to the intense coverage, so hopefully, life outside the microscope will do help her out.
It brings to mind all the hatred heaped on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry over Frogmore Cottage renovations. The two used $3 million in taxpayer money to renovate their estate only to split for the US. They paid that back in full, but the outrage remained. It’s worth noting Harry and Markle were at no point pulling a fast one, as taxpayers essentially fund the royal family’s official duties.
Mako’s story sounds like a Disney Channel Original Movie. She’s fallen in love with someone, not of the ruling class, and is willingly giving up $1.3 million so she can marry him in peace. Mako and Komuro are expected to move to the United States soon after the wedding so he can finish up his education.