Japan's Former Princess Mako Steps Out Solo in N.Y.C. as She Makes Fresh Start with 'Commoner' Husband

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Princess Mako
Princess Mako

Splash News Online

Japan's former Princess Mako got a festive start to the holiday season last week as she stepped out in her new home of New York City.

Carrying a holiday gift bag, Mako was seen visiting the apartment building of Caroline Kennedy on Dec. 23. However, it is unclear if she visited Kennedy, who served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017 after being appointed by Barack Obama.

Mako relocated to New York in November following her low-key wedding ceremony to husband Kei Komuro.

Because the law in Japan requires a princess to "leave the imperial family upon marriage to a commoner," Princess Mako gave up her royal titles to marry Komuro. She also turned down a $1.3 million payout from the Japanese government that is traditionally paid to royal women who lose their royal status when they marry.

RELATED: Princess Mako Gave Up Her Title for Kei Komuro: Their Love Story, in Their Own Words

Princess Mako and Komuro, both 30, arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on November 15, just weeks after their wedding. They are renting an apartment in N.Y.C., according to the BBC, where Komuro works at a law firm after graduating from Fordham University's law school. According to reports earlier this month, Komuro failed the bar exam but plans to retake the test.

Princess Mako
Princess Mako

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

The couple met while attending a study-abroad event at a restaurant in Shibuya, a district in Tokyo. They were both students at the International Christian University in Tokyo at the time.

"First I was attracted by his bright smile," Mako previously said, according to The Telegraph.

The couple first announced their plans to wed in September 2017, but the event was ultimately pushed off following a dispute over money between Komuro's mother and her former fiancé concerning his having financed Komuro's education.

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They tied the knot on October 26 without the fanfare that usually accompanies a royal wedding. The Imperial Household Agency (IHA) explained that Mako and her now-husband did not want to have a big wedding "because their marriage is not celebrated by many people."

Princess Mako
Princess Mako

AFP/ KAZUHIRO NOGI / POOL/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Princess Mako in 2019

"I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused and I am grateful for those … who have continued to support me," she said, according to the BBC. "For me, Kei is irreplaceable — marriage was a necessary choice for us."

The palace announced ahead of the nuptials that Mako was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of negative media coverage.

"I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love," said Komuro. "I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations."