Japan's Princess Mako gave up her crown for love. She joins a long list of royals to do so

·3 min read

Corrections and clarifications: This version has been updated to reflect that King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne.

When Japan’s Princess Mako married her college sweetheart, Kei Kumoro, who happened to be a commoner, this week, she lost her royal status because of Imperial House Law.

With that, she joined a long list of royals who gave up their royal status for love – including another Japanese royal, Princess Ayako, who gave up her title in 2018 to marry Kei Moriya.

“I will leave the imperial family today, but I will remain unchanged in my support for his majesty and her majesty,” Ayako said at the time.

The princesses were forced to relinquish their titles because of Imperial House Law that says women who marry into the imperial family become members of the royal family, but royal women who marry commoners must give up their status.

Princess marries commoner: Japan's Princess Mako marries, loses royal status

Mako and her new husband plan to move to New York – where they will follow another royal couple who moved to America: Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Duchess Meghan, who stepped away from their roles in 2020. They said they moved because of the British media’s "toxic" coverage of Markle.

While it wasn’t required by British law that Harry and Meghan give up their titles when they left for America, they agreed to no longer use His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness as part of an agreement with Buckingham Palace in February 2021. Harry and Meghan were made the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, when they were married in 2018.

“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” said a statement released by the palace in February.

Royal titles: Harry and Meghan will stop using 'royal highness' titles and repay housing expenses, palace says

They weren’t the only British royals to leave. With a decision that changed British royal history, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. And to become a British royal, Prince Phillip had to reject his royal title of birth – Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.

Love did get him a new title, though. Upon his marriage to then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, he was given the title Duke of Edinburgh by his father-in-law, King George IV. In 1957, he was made a Prince of the United Kingdom by his wife, now Queen Elizabeth II.

But giving up royal titles for love, as history proves, is no guarantee it will all work out.

In 1972, Princess Ubolratana gave up her royal titles in Thailand to marry an American, Peter Ladd Jensen. The two divorced in 1998. The princess later returned to Thailand, becoming a popular figure in the country and even running for office in 2019. But her brother, the king, rebuked the nomination as inappropriate because of her ties to the royal family.

“Even though she relinquished her royal title in writing in line with royal rules, she still maintains her status and life as a member of the Chakri dynasty,” the palace’s statement said at the time.

For the now-former Japanese royal Mako, who first announced her intention to marry Komuro in 2017 (the wedding was delayed), there doesn’t seem to be any hesitation about leaving behind her title for love.

“For us, our marriage was a necessary choice,” she said in a news conference, according to The Associated Press, “to live while cherishing our hearts.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Princess Mako's marriage: What other royals gave up title for love?

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