Japan's Princess Ayako is choosing love over her royal status. Prince Takamado’s youngest daughter is set to marry a commoner named Kei Moriya, Japan’s Imperial Household Agency announced on Tuesday, June 26. The 27-year-old Princess met the 32-year-old, who works for the shipping firm NYK Line, less than a year ago after being introduced by her mother Princess Hisako.
VIEW GALLERY Princess Ayako will marry a commoner in October 2018 Photo: Getty Images
The pair’s engagement will become official in a traditional court ceremony called a ”Nosai no Gi" on August 12. Ayako and Kei will say “I do” on October 29 at Tokyo's Meiji Jingu shrine. The bride-to-be is the third daughter of the late Prince Takamado, Emperor Akihito's cousin. According to CNN, Princess Hisako knew her future son-in-law’s parents from her outreach work at a local NGO and introduced the pair in hopes that her daughter “would be inspired by global welfare activities.”
With her marriage, Ayako will lose her title. Japan's centuries-old law requires a Princess to leave the Imperial family if she marries a commoner. Ayako’s older sister Princess Noriko left the family in 2014 when she married a Shinto priest named Kunimaro Senge.
VIEW GALLERY Princess Mako has postponed her royal wedding Photo: SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/AFP/Getty Images
Last year, the Imperial Household Agency announced that Princess Mako, who is Ayako’s second cousin, would marry Kei Komuro. However in February the couple postponed their wedding due to “immaturity.” “It is because of our immaturity and we just regret it," the couple explained in a statement (via CNN). “I wish to think about marriage more deeply and concretely and give sufficient time to prepare our marriage and for after the marriage.” The wedding has reportedly been pushed back until at least 2020. The couple’s nuptials would follow Emperor Akihito’s abdication in April of 2019. With Ayako and Mako’s respective marriages to commoners, the number of Imperial family members will drop to 17.