Princess Mako, the Japanese emperor’s niece, married her college sweetheart on Tuesday—a simple, refined affair after years of both being dogged by controversy and scrutiny. The nuptials to a commoner mean mean she has now left the royal family. “The marriage papers were filed and accepted,” according to an official from the Imperial Household Agency, without the elaborate rituals that usually adorn royal nuptials. Like other women in her family, Mako is unable to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne by way of restrictive tradition. But in a history-making first, she also turned down the conventional $1.35 million gift that royal women typically receive upon marrying a commoner and leaving the imperial household.
The long engagement between Mako and her “commoner” fiancé Kei Komuro, both 30, was first announced four years ago. Tabloid scandals over Komuro’s mother’s finances followed an initial wave of praise, and the couple were hounded so incessantly by the press it left the princess with post-traumatic stress disorder. Japanese opinion is largely divided over the union, and there has been at least one protest in the run-up to the big day. Now wedded, Mako and Komuro are said to be planning a move to the United States.