Comforted by her husband and parents, Masako took refuge at the home of her family in early 2004
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"In the face of these obstacles the crown prince seems to have done his best to protect his wife – as he promised to do more than a decade ago. And he has publicly supported and defended her on several occasions.
In his traditional birthday speech this year, he candidly downplayed talk of any new additions to the family, in order to convey to the world that his wife's recovery was his pre-eminent concern. "There was much pressure to produce an heir, but happily our child was born," he said, in reference to Aiko. "But between public duties and child-rearing, and her efforts to respond to various calls from the media… it appears that she grew quite tired. As for a second child, I believe the most important thing at this point is to put priority on Masako's recovery."
In a move that seems to reaffirm that the couple have no plans to try for a son, he again put aside the possibility of expanding the family as he expressed his final birthday wish. "We understand the importance of an heir," he said, "But I hope my wife will be able to live quietly, without pressure."