Japan's Princess Ayako gives up royal title as she marries for love

Female members of the royal family have to surrender their title if they marry a commoner

Congratulations are in order for Japan's Princess Ayako and her new husband Kei Moriya. The couple married on Monday 29 October at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, in the presence of close friends and family members, while around 1,000 well-wishers had turned up to the shrine to congratulate the bride and groom.

Ayako, 28, is the youngest child of Princess Hisako and the late Prince Norihito, who passed away aged 47 in 2002. He was the first cousin of Emperor Akihito. Ayako has given up her royal title upon her marriage to a commoner; according to Japan's Imperial House, female royals must surrender their royal status if they marry a non-royal.

Princess Ayako has married Kei Moriya

The bride was dressed in a pale yellow kimono which was embroidered with red flowers and green leaves. She also wore a pair of wide-legged trousers and had her hair styled in the traditional, imperial aristocratic way. Kei, meanwhile, wore a morning suit with pinstriped trousers. The bride and groom also offered prayers at the Meiji Shrine. Ayako had changed into her second wedding outfit – a deep red kimono with yellow piping. She carried the same fan made of Japanese cypress.

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"I'm filled with joy to marry and to have so many people visit us at the Meiji Shrine and congratulate us," she told press after the traditional Shinto ceremony. "I am very happy that we held the wedding at this Meiji Shrine where my great grandfather Meiji Emperor is worshipped. I feel so happy."

The princess wore her hair in a traditional, aristocratic way

Kei, an employee for shipping company Nippon Yusen, added that his wife looked "beautiful". Touching on the subject of children, he said: "I would like to support her firmly and, hand in hand, build a happy family with lots of laughter."

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Ayako and Kei announced their engagement in July, when it was confirmed that the princess would give up her title, choosing to marry for love. Ayako will receive a lump sum of around £780,000 from the Japanese government to support her living expenses. "I will leave the imperial family today, but I will remain unchanged in my support for his majesty and her majesty," said Ayako.

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