A Royal Just Gave Up $1.3 Million and Her Title for This Shocking Reason

Princess Mako of Japan is making some major changes for love.

Well, this gives a new meaning to the phrase "money can't buy me love." Princess Mako of Japan is set to wed her fiancé Kei Komuro later this year, but because he is a commoner, she has to make some major changes in order to marry him. After being born into a royal family, Mako will give up her title in order to marry Komuro. And, while the princess is eligible for a large government payout in exchange for giving up her title, she will not be accepting it. Read on to find out why.

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Mako and Komuro met in college.

Kei Komuro and Princess Mako announcing their engagement in September 2017

Princess Mako and Komuro, both 29, met in 2012 while they were attending International Christian University in Tokyo. He proposed the following year, but they made no plans for a wedding right away, instead continuing a long-distance relationship while Mako received her master's degree in Art Museum and Gallery Studies from Leicester University in England. They officially announced that they were engaged in 2017.

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Their wedding was already delayed once.

Princess Mako on an official visit in Bolivia in July 2019
AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

Originally, Mako and Komuro were going to marry in 2018, but some family drama on Komuro's side delayed the wedding. A scandal came out involving Komuro's mother and financial issues she had with her former fiancé. As reported by Vanity Fair, the royal family announced that the wedding would be postponed until 2020, and Mako said that "immaturity" was the reason for it. In 2018, U.K.'s The Times reported that the then-empress consort Michiko, Mako's grandmother, was "leading royal efforts" to stop the engagement from moving forward.

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Now, they are actually planning to wed and make some big life changes.

Kei Komuro and Princess Mako announcing their engagement in September 2017

Mako and Komuro are planning to get married by the end of this year in a small ceremony. According to The Times, they will not have a formal Shinto ceremony, making Mako the first princess in modern times to skip the tradition. The couple also plan to move to the United States, where Komuro hopes to work at a New York law firm. Komuro currently lives in the U.S. and is awaiting the results of the Bar Exam, according to Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun.

Mako turned down a $1.3 million payout.

Princess Mako at the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito in October 2019

In Japan, the line of succession is male-only, so Mako would never rule as empress. The current emperor, Naruhito, is Mako's uncle. Her father, Fumihito, is next in line to the throne as Naruhito only has a daughter. Mako's 14-year-old brother, Hisahito, is second in line.

When a princess marries a commoner, it is imperial law that she has to give up her title. But, in exchange, she can receive a $1.3 million payout from the government, funded by taxpayers. According to The Times, Mako has decided to turn this down. The Asahi Shimbun reports that the payout was established "in order to preserve the dignity of a person who was once a member of the imperial family." Sources told the newspaper that Mako is declining the money because of public apathy toward herself and Komuro that stemmed from the money issues involving his mother. Plus, the couple should be set financially in their new U.S. life with Komuro working as a lawyer.

Mako's aunt, Sayako Kuroda (previously known as Princess Nori), is another recent princess to give up her title. She married a commoner, Yoshiki Kuroda, in 2005, and received a government payout of over $1 million, according to The Guardian.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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