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Princess Masako of Japan to make her first overseas visit in 11 years

18 APRIL 2013 Princess Masako of Japan is to make her first official overseas visit in nearly 11 years. The Japanese royal, who suffers from a stress-induced adjustment disorder that has forced her to take a break from many official engagements, will leave Japan for the Dutch inauguration that will see Prince Willem-Alexander become King of the Netherlands and Princess Maxima become his Queen consort.

Princess Masako, 49, and her husband Crown Prince Naruhito, 53, will travel to Amsterdam for the ceremony on 30 April, marking their first joint overseas engagement since they toured Australia and New Zealand in August 2002.


Princess Masako

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Following consultations with Masako's doctors, Japan's Imperial Household is said to be in the final stages of formally replying to the Dutch royal invitation and making arrangements for the couple's visit.

Heirs to the Japanese throne, Naruhito and Masako, enjoy a good friendship with the Dutch royals. In August 2006 Queen Beatrix invited the pair to spend two weeks in the Netherlands on a private retreat.

The trip was two years after Princess Masako's adjustment disorder was diagnosed in 2004. Masako's condition has since left her husband to represent Japan at official events including Luxembourg's royal wedding in 2012.


Princess Masako


Harvard-educated Masako is mother to Aiko, Princess Toshi, 11, who is not in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne due to Japanese succession law which only permits males to reign. Prince Naruhito is first in line to take over from Emperor Akihito, followed by his brother Prince Akishino and nephew Prince Hisahito.

Back in 2009 Prince Naruhito addressed the Japanese public about his wife's illness.

"Masako is still undergoing treatment for her illness," he said. "It is necessary to make a cautious decision looking at travel distances, the period of stay and the events to attend."

Given the Prince's comments, Masako's trip to the Netherlands will suggest a significant improvement in her condition.


Princess Masako


Also confirmed on the inauguration's royal guest list are Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain while other European houses are expected to announce their attendance soon.

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