Japan's Princess Ayako of Takamado is officially no longer a princess after giving up her title to marry a commoner.
Ayako wed 32-year-old shipping company employee Kei Moriya on Monday in a ceremony at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine in front of 30 guests, The Japan Times reports. Under the Imperial House Law, her decision to marry a commoner meant that she would be required to relinquish her royal title.
For the ceremony, Ayako opted for traditional court attire, which included a red kimono robe an a pair of hakama pants. According to The Japan Times, she wore her hair in the osuberakashi ancient style for noblewomen. Moriya wore a morning suit, which he accessorized with a top hat that belonged to Ayako's late father, Prince Takamodo.
“I’m very happy that many people were able to celebrate [our marriage],” Ayako told reporters following the ceremony, per The Japan Times. “We want to make efforts to become a couple like my mother and father.” Moriya seemed to share in these sentiments, telling the press that he hoped to “build a family full of smiles."
Ayako also noted that her father, who died in 2002, “would have rejoiced at my marriage.”
The couple began dating in 2017, and reportedly hit it off from the start. “I met Mr. Moriya for the first time in December last year, and I remember that our conversation got so lively that it didn’t feel like we had just met and that I had so much fun that I forgot about time," she told The Japan Times.
The proposal, which happened shortly after they began dating, came as a total shock to Ayako. "He proposed to me this year having a dinner at a restaurant. It was very sudden, so I asked to hold for my answer," she said in July. "As we have deepened the relationship including our family, friends and related people, I came to the decision and accepted this proposal."
This actually isn't the first time a female member of the Japanese Imperial family has decided to give up her title in the name of love. In 2005, former Princess Sayako renounced her title to marry town planner Yoshiki Kuroda, and last year Princess Mako mead headlines with her plan to do the same by marrying law clerk Kei Komuro. For now, however, Mako and Komuro have decided to postpone their wedding until 2020, so her royal status remains intact.
Despite giving up her title, Ayako will retain honorary positions at two organizations, which marks a first-of-its-kind break in convention.