Japan’s Princess Aiko praises her cousin Princess Mako who left royal life to marry Commoner

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Princess Aiko, Princess Mako

STR/JAPAN POOL/AFP via Getty; NICOLAS DATICHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Princess Aiko and Princess Mako

Observation of a modern rite of passage, Japan Princess Aiko sailed through her first royal press conference on Thursday.

According to her opening speech, the only child of Emperor Naruhito62, and Empress Masako, 58, appeared poised and confident, answering questions during a 30-minute session.

Between statements expressing sympathy for the victims of a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Japan on Wednesday and the war in Ukraine, she revealed a number of insights, including her views on love and marriage.

The 20-year-old Imperial Princess also praised her cousin, Princess Mako, describing her “like a reliable older sister”.

After several years of controversy and postponements, Aiko’s cousin gave up their royal titles to marry Kei Komuro, a commoner, last October. Mako and Kei met in college almost 10 years ago.

wed a very understated circumstancesthe couple, both 30, had been lives in New York City since their marriage.

“I will always remember with gratitude how kind and kind she was to me,” Aiko said. “As her cousin, I pray that she will be happy for many years.”

RELATED: Princess Mako of Japan breaks silence as she leaves royal family to marry Commoner: ‘Starting a new life’

Princess Aiko

Princess Aiko

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images Japan’s Princess Aiko

When asked about the couple’s low-key wedding, which continues to cause controversy in Japan, Princess Aiko said she heard her father, in consultation with his brother, made the decision to refrain from certain traditional rites such as an audience with the Emperor and the Empress to renounce Crown Prince Akishino.

The princess then reportedly declined to speak further on the subject.

During a press conference with her new husband last year, Mako commented on her life-changing decision to leave royal life for love.

“Kei is irreplaceable to me,” she said. “We had no choice but to get married to live our lives and stay true to our hearts.”

Princess Mako

Princess Mako

SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/AFP via Getty Images Kei Komuro and Princess Mako

Discussing her own potential marriage and ideal partner, Aiko said she hadn’t given marriage much thought.

“As for my ideal partner, I don’t have anyone in mind, but I think a relationship where we can be together and both parties can make each other smile would be ideal,” she said.

To hit the press, Aiko wore a tailored muted green jacket and matching skirt and blouse. She complemented her demure look with a simple single pearl necklace, pearl earrings and a diamond brooch.

RELATED: Japan’s former Princess Mako quits with husband after giving up her titles and moving to NYC

Thursday’s press conference, held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, was held during spring break at Tokyo’s Gakushuin University, where second-year students study Japanese language and literature. She also briefly attended Eton College in the UK.

Princess Imperial, who turned 20 on December 1, attended the traditional coming-of-age ceremony held in her honor on December 5, as well as the presentation of New Year’s greetings. She chose to postpone the press conference, traditionally held in concert with these events, to focus on her studies.

Princess Aiko

Princess Aiko

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images Princess Aiko

During Thursday’s press event, she admitted to feeling “tense” during the ceremonies. She said she’s discovered that she “needs to approach every event with a sense of responsibility.” The princess also revealed that her father, the Emperor, is her occasional jogging partner. They run together in the gardens of the Imperial Palace and sometimes she joins the staff in volleyball and badminton games.

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Almost 3,000 years old, the Chrysanthemum Throne is the oldest monarchy in the world. In recent decades, however, it has suffered from a dramatic shortage of qualified heirs. Japanese law currently denies women the right to imperial succession, and today’s male line has shrunk to three: Crown Prince Fumihito Akishino, 56, his son Prince Hisahito, 15, and Prince Masahito, 86, who has no children.

In December, a government task force tasked with finding solutions to reverse the dwindling eligibility of the monarchy proposed two avenues, including one that would allow women who marry commoners to retain royal status. However, the official report also called for a decision on its own recommendations to be made at a later date.

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