Japan’s princess makes official debut after cousin quits royals to wed commoner

Princess Aiko of Japan had made her official debut and taken part in her first outing after her cousin quit royal life to marry a commoner.

The daughter of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako joined her parents and other royal family members at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The royals had joined together in a New Year celebration on January 1.

Princess Aiko wore a white gown with long gloves, along with a pearl necklace and a red and yellow sash.

It marks her first outing since starting her public duties with the imperial family. The royal turned 20 on December 1 last year and attended a coming-of-age celebrating at the palace a few days later, where she wore a glittering tiara.

Aiko is the only child of Emperoro Naruhito, 61, and Empress Masako, 58.

As Japan only allows men to ascend to the throne, the Emperor's younger brother Crown Prince Fumihito Akishino is next in line to be king. His son Prince Hisahito is currently second in line.

Prince Fumihito Akishino and wife Princess Kiko's daughter Mako recently made headlines for her decision to quit royal life in order to marry a commoner.

The former Princess Mao gave up her status to wed Kei Komuro in a small ceremony in October last year. She also turned down a £1.3million payout from the Japanese government traditionally paid to royal women who lose their royal status when they marry.

Weeks later the pair relocated to New York City, where Komuro works at a law firm. According to reports, Komuro failed the bar exam but plans to retake the test after graduating from Fordham University's law school.

The couple met while attending a study abroad event at a restaurant in Tokyo. They were both studying at the International Christian University in Tokyo at the time.

Mako previously said she was first attracted by his "bright smile," writes The Telegraph.

They announced their plans to marry in September 2017, but the event was pushed back over a dispute over money between Komuro's mother and her former fiance. But they tied the knot on October 26 in a scaled-back event with Mako and her now-husband claiming "because their marriage is not celebrated by many people."

"I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused and I am grateful for those … who have continued to support me," she said, according to the BBC. "For me, Kei is irreplaceable — marriage was a necessary choice for us."

I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love," said Komuro. "I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations."

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