The story of Japan’s Princess Ayako and her husband is one straight out of a fairytale. Like any good fairytale, however, it involves high stakes and a painful sacrifice. The princess opted to marry the man she loved, but as a member of the oldest unbroken monarchy in the world, that wasn’t easy. And her decision drew comment from all over the world.
Princess Ayako is a member of the Japanese imperial family, the youngest daughter of Norihito, Prince Takamado and Hisako, Princess Takamado. She was born into wealth and prestige, attending the finest schools and traveling the world. However, life as a royal comes with rules and regulations.
And the Japanese imperial family is governed by some fairly strict rules. One such rule is that a princess cannot ascend to the throne – only a prince can. This stipulation means that the Japanese crown is likely to pass one day to 12-year-old Prince Hisahito. If, however, the young prince does not have a son of his own, then the family will some day in the future face a crisis of lineage.