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Princess Mako and Kei Komuro show Harry and Meghan how to manage dignified royal exit

The comparisons drawn between the Sussexes and the Komuros have been deemed rather lazy and superficial
Princess Mako and Kei Komuro's union drew comparisons with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit (Twitter/ Instagram)
Princess Mako and Kei Komuro's union drew comparisons with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit (Twitter/ Instagram)

Japanese Princess Mako and her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro, showed the world on Tuesday, October 26, that it was possible to leave a royal institution for love while retaining respect for its role and traditions.

Female members of the imperial family are required to relinquish their birthright of royal status should they marry common folk, owing to Japan's strict succession laws. However, that isn't the case for male royals. The newlywed couple is now set to relocate to the US, where Komuro is a practicing lawyer. Of course, their disparity in societal status, move to America, coupled with media scrutiny has drawn comparisons with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, with some referring to the Mako and Komuro as ‘Japan’s Harry and Meghan.' However, the comparison has been deemed rather lazy and superficial.


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Princess Mako gave up her rights to a royal wedding as well as a payment of $1.3 million from the imperial family that is offered to female members should they choose to depart their royal life. The couple instead chose to tie the knot at a registrar's office, without a royal reception banquet or any semblance of an imperial wedding. By comparison, Harry and Meghan enjoyed a lavish 600-guest wedding in May 2018, costing British taxpayers more than £30 million ($41 million) for security alone. It is safe to say that the couple was not on the brink of retiring to a quiet, idyllic life, but were getting ready to embrace the limelight following a royal wedding that was offered as a perk of Harry's status.


Meanwhile, their engagements were also vastly different. Mako and Komuro's engagement lasted eight years and was plagued by controversy, with the press hounding the couple over Komuro's mother's finances, his hairstyle, and commoner status, according to Mail Plus's Alice Wright. On the other hand, Harry and Meghan were engaged for only six months and news outlets in the UK gave them a honeymoon coverage in the days leading up to their wedding. However, their relationship with the media went south after the couple was married. On the contrary, Mako and Komuro enjoyed increasingly positive press coverage after their wedding and spoke with warmth and generosity about each other at a press conference this week.

It's worth noting that Mako, who previously lived in the imperial residence of Akasaka Estate in Tokyo, is now planning to rent a one-bedroom apartment with her new husband. According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, the couple plans to fund it themselves and Mako is expected to find a job in New York to support Komuro.

In comparison, Harry and Meghan initially moved into Tyler Perry's lavish mansion before purchasing their own $20 million property in Montecito, Los Angeles, thereby placing them next to a slew of Hollywood stars such as Ariana Grande and Gwyneth Paltrow. What's more? The Sussexes made their move into big business shortly after quitting royal life, scoring deals with Netflix and Spotify worth more than £100 million ($137 million).

Just like the Windsors, the Japanese imperial family are expected to be guardians of tradition. However, the two defecting couples have handled the transition rather differently, Wright noted. Mako and Komuro’s dignity and reverence have earned them love and respect from around the world, with the former bowing to her parents and hugging her younger sister before she left Akasaka Estate to register her marriage.


On the other hand, Harry and Meghan notoriously gave a shocking interview to Oprah Winfrey, divulging salacious details about royal life and even hurling accusations of racism at senior royals. The Duchess of Sussex claimed that she was having suicidal thoughts owing to a lack of support from The Firm.

Princess Mako also suffered severe mental health effects owing to the media scrutiny that came with her non-traditional relationship and is said to live with post-traumatic stress disorder. Be that as it may, she did not level any accusations against the imperial family of Japan. Instead, her media appearances have been rather "stately and dignified," Mail Plus reported.