Japan’s Princess Ayako Is Giving Up Her Royal Title to Marry a Commoner, Just Like Her Cousin Princess Mako Did Last Year

Japan’s Princess Ayako is set to marry 32-year-old shipping firm employee Kei Moriya this fall, the Imperial Household Agency announced Tuesday.

According to The Japan Times, the princess, 27, will become officially engaged to Kei in a traditional ceremony called “Nosai no Gi” on August 12. The wedding will take place on October 29 at the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, a spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency told The Japan Times.

Their marriage will force Ayako to renounce her royal position, in accordance with article 12 of the Imperial House Law, which requires female members of the Japanese imperial family to give up their imperial status if they marry a commoner.

Princess Ayako, the third and youngest daughter of Princess Hisako and the late Prince Takamoado, Emperor Akihito’s cousin, met Kei in December 2017 through her mother, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Princess Hisako was a longtime friend of Kei’s late mother, who had served as the executive board member of a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization called Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi, or Children Without Borders. The Japanese royal introduced the shipping firm worker to Princess Ayako in the hope that her daughter would become more involved in international welfare work, The Japan Times reported.

But, according to CNN, Ayako and Kei realized that they have more in common than a shared love for nonprofit work. The two reportedly both enjoy skiing, reading books, and traveling.

Princess Ayako is the second member of the Japanese imperial family in the past two years to announce plans to marry a commoner. In September 2017, Ayako’s second cousin, Princess Mako, formally announced her engagement to college sweetheart Kei Komoro, who works as a paralegal.

Mako and Komoro later postponed their marriage until at least 2020 via a joint statement released in February 2018, in which the two said they needed more time to plan their future together.