Cape Town – Princess Ayako is giving up her royal title to be with the love of her life.
The Japanese princess is the second royal family member to relinquish her title to marry a commoner in a move that highlights the male-dominated nature of Japan's monarchy.
According to The Japan Times, the 27-year-old royal is set to marry Kei Moriya – a 32-year-old worker at shipping firm NYK Line – at the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo on 29 October.
During a press conference in Tokyo on Monday, the third daughter of the late Prince Takamado and her fiancé Kei Moriya spoke of their impending nuptials.
Sharing how they met, Princess Ayako recalled them meeting in December 2017 and described their first conversation as being “so lively that it didn't feel like we had just met and I had so much fun that I forgot about time.”
The couple’s love story is thanks to their mothers’ friendship – Moriya’s late mother was a friend of Princess Ayako’s mother, Princess Hisako.
“I don't know what my mother's intentions were in introducing him to me, but as the two of us went to various places together and shared our time and memories, we became naturally drawn to each other. I think we were able to come this far thanks to the wonderful ties started by our mothers.”
But getting Princess Ayako to say yes to his proposal didn’t come easy, CNN reports.
Kei proposed to the princess earlier this year during a dinner date. Princess Ayako revealed however that after the sudden proposal she needed to time to say yes.
“It was very sudden, so I asked to hold for my answer. As we have deepened the relationship including our family, friends and related people, I came to the decision and accepted this proposal.”
According to a controversial law all female imperial family members will lose their royal status upon marriage to a commoner. The law does not apply to male royals.
The news of a second abdication reignites a debate on whether the law should be changed so women can continue in their royal roles in a bid to increase the chances of potential male heirs to a monarchy that does not allow females to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Princess Mako – who announced her engagement to her college sweetheart, a commoner – has postponed her marriage to Kei Komuro.
According to CNN the couple have postponed their nuptials, which had been set to take place in November, until at least 2020, saying that they were not yet ready for marriage.