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Japan's Emperor and Empress celebrate 28th wedding anniversary – but they almost didn't marry

The royal proposed three times

Nichola Murphy

Congratulations are in order for the Emperor and Empress of Japan, who are celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary. The then-Crown Prince Naruhito and Masako got married on 9 June 1993 – but their nuptials almost didn't take place.

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It has been said that Harvard-graduate Masako turned down the Emperor's marriage proposal twice before accepting on his third attempt.

The couple met while Masako was studying at the University of Tokyo in 1986, and dated for a couple of years before Naruhito popped the question. 

However, Masako didn't want to give up her promising career in diplomacy. When she accepted his third proposal in December 1992, her husband-to-be reportedly said that serving as Crown Princess of Japan would be "another form of diplomacy".

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WATCH: Everything you need to know about Japan's Emperor Naruhito

After their official engagement ceremony on 12 April 1993, the couple got married at the Kashiko-dokoro on the grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace in June of that year. 

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For their traditional Shinto ceremony, the bride wore a silk bridal kimono – made up of a dozen layers – which eventually weighed 14 kilograms and cost over $100,000. Empress Masako was later pictured wearing an ivory gown with a ruffled neckline and buttons, which she teamed with a matching bag and a sparkling diamond tiara.

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The now-Empror and Empress got married in 1993

In 2001, the royal couple welcomed their first and only child, Princess Aiko.

Naruhito acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019 after his father, Emperor Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch in more than two centuries to abdicate.

Perhaps the royal looks up to his parents' long-lasting marriage. While celebrating her 80th birthday, Empress Michiko's praised her husband, saying: "In the more than 50 years that I have spent by his side, His Majesty has always remained modest and humble, and he has constantly guided me and the children, at times strictly, but always with a generous heart."

The royal continued: "This, I believe, is what has allowed me to come this far."

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