Princess Ayako to marry commoner Kei Moriya

Princess Ayako to marry commoner Kei Moriya

Japan's Princess Ayako has renounced her royal status after marrying a commoner, having Wednesday in a ceremony at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine on Monday.

The bride was dressed in traditional court clothing, including an intricately decorated kimono robe and wide layered pants, while her hair was sleeked back in distinct aristocratic style.

And for the actual ceremony, where only family were present, Ayako swapped her lovely kimono for a red kouchiki.

Princess Ayako and Mr Moriya announced their wedding plans earlier this year.

She will receive about 107 million yen ($950,000) from the state to maintain her dignity after her marriage based on the law on imperial household finance.

Hanako Takeda, a 27-year-old friend of the princess from her school days, said she was "overwhelmed" with a flood of memories when she saw the couple walking together as bride and groom.

When the couple announced their engagement this summer, the Imperial House Economy Council (which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sits on) convened and made a decision to give Princess Ayako a lump-sum payment of about $US950,000 so that she could keep up her high standard of living after leaving the family, The Japan Times reported. "I would like to support her firmly and, hand in hand, build a happy family with lots of laughter", he said.

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After the wedding, the princess said: "I'm filled with joy to get married and to have so many people visit us at the Meiji Shrine and congratulate us".

After signing her marriage papers, Princess Ayako became Ayako Moriya under Japan's Imperial Succession Law.

"How happy I am that many people have celebrated [our marriage]".

On Tuesday, a banquet will be held at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, attended by Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, the heads of the three branches of government as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will make a congratulatory speech.

The couple first met in December, when they were introduced by Princess Ayako's mother, Princess Hisako, who had long known Moriya's parents and met the groom last November at a photo exhibition by a nonprofit organization supporting children in developing countries.

Under Japan's current succession rules, the women of the Imperial Family can not ascend the Chrysanthemum throne, and must leave the family if they decide to Wednesday a commoner.

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