The wedding of Japan’s Princess Mako will be postponed for two years because of insufficient preparations as the imperial palace denied speculation that the decision was related to tabloid criticism of her fiance’s family background.
Mako and her college classmate Kei Komuro, a commoner, announced their engagement last September and were to wed in November 2018. In announcing the delay, the Imperial Household Agency cited “a series of important ceremonies next year,” apparently meaning the planned handover of the Chrysanthemum Throne. No new dates for the wedding or its preceding rituals were given.
Mako is Emperor Akihito’s oldest grandchild. The 84-year-old emperor is to abdicate on 30 April, 2019, with Crown Prince Naruhito taking the throne the next day.
The surprise delay less than a month before a planned ceremony in March to formalize the couple’s engagement left many people puzzled.
Agency official Takaharu Kachi told reporters the decision was not related to tabloid reports about disputes between Komuro’s mother and her former partner over money she borrowed to cover her son’s tuition and never repaid, Japanese media reported.
“We have come to realise the lack of time to make sufficient preparations for various events leading up to our marriage this autumn and our life afterward,” Mako wrote. “We believe that we have rushed various things too much.”
The palace requested 150m yen ($1.4m) as part of its fiscal 2018 budget to cover the costs of the wedding and the process of starting her life outside the royal family. Under the imperial household law, female members lose their royal status when they marry a commoner.