Japanese Princess Ayako gives up royal status

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Princess Ayako married commoner Kei Moriya on Monday at a traditional ceremony at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, to become the latest female royal to leave Japan’s imperial family.

The 28-year-old princess, the third daughter of Emperor Akihito’s late cousin Prince Takamado, tied the knot with Kei Moriya, a 32-year-old employee of shipping company Nippon Yusen.

Japanese royals have been given freedom to marry whom they choose for at least three generations. Emperor Akihito was the first crown prince to marry a commoner, who became Empress Michiko. They met on the tennis court.

Princess Ayako had to renounce her imperial status because she married a commoner, as is the practice for women under Japan’s succession law. She will become Ayako Moriya after signing marriage papers.

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