The Prince of Wales will embark on a two-day trip to Japan to attend the ceremony of enthronement of Emperor Naruhito this autumn. Charles, who is going on behalf of his mother the Queen and is undertaking the official visit at the request of the British Government, will be in Tokyo from 22 to 23 October. The ceremony will take place over several days with banquets attended by thousands of guests, including many other foreign royals and dignitaries.
Charles' whirlwind trip will also include a day of engagements in Tokyo to celebrate British-Japanese connections, Clarence House said. The Prince has been to Japan four times before, having last visited in 2008. He attended the ceremony of enthronement of Emperor Naruhito's father, Emperor Akihito, on 12 November 1990 with Princess Diana. Further details of the trip will be announced in due course.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana attended Akihito's enthronement ceremony in 1990
Emperor Naruhito, 59, acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the abdication of his father Akihito in May. As he ascended the throne, the father-of-one, who is married to Empress Masako, poignantly said: "I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world."
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Like his father Akihito, Naruhito is expected to wear a traditional robe and headdress for the ceremony. Japan's new Emperor and his wife Masako will ride in an open-top Toyota Century limousine through Tokyo. This will be reminiscent of Naruhito's parents' coronation, when thousands of people, many waving Japanese flags, lined the route in 1990 to cheer on Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as they drove by in a classic Rolls-Royce Corniche III.
Empress Masako arrives for her husband Naruhito's ceremony in May
Many will be interested to see how Empress Masako, 55, copes with the more high-profile role, given that she stayed out of the public eye from 2003 until 2014, when she started gradually taking on more duties again. On her 55th birthday in 2018, Masako – who has struggled with the stress of public life and royal responsibility – released a statement saying she felt insecure about her future role as an Empress, but added that she would like "to make an effort for the happiness of the people". Her doctors are confident that Masako is recovering well from her stress-induced illness but "there are still ups and downs in her health".
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In May, Naruhito officially become Emperor as he was presented with the Imperial sword and jewel, each in a box and wrapped in cloth, at his accession ceremony. Japanese emperors do not wear a crown so these items, along with a mirror, acted as a symbol of imperial power. After ascending the throne, Emperor Naruhito gave a speech which was broadcast on TV. He said: "In acceding to the Throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement."
Naruhito officially become Emperor in May after his father abdicated
He continued: "I will act according to the Constitution and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them. I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world."
Japan revealed the name of the era that would define Emperor Naruhito's reign, Reiwa. The new imperial name consists of two characters: "Rei", which means both order and auspicious, and "Wa", which is usually translated as peace or harmony.
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