Former Princess Mako of Japan Steps out in Public for First Time Since Leaving Royal Family

Mako Komuro was photographed in public this weekend for the first time since leaving Japan's royal family. Mako left her royal duties and lifestyle behind in order to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro. They were spotted together in New York City where they now live, in photos published by The New York Post.

The Komuros moved to NYC's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, where they have reportedly rented a 1-bedroom apartment. They were seen carrying their luggage out of JFK airport and traveling to their new home together. The former princess Mako reportedly declined an offer of $1.23 million upon leaving the royal family, but some observers were still shocked to see her living by such average economic standards. Still, according to a report by Curbed her new apartment likely costs over $5,000 per month in rent.

Mako is the niece of Japan's Emperor Naruhito and the daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and his wife, Princess Kiko – formerly Kiko Kawashima. Her parents broke Japanese royal protocol in several respects when they married, including the fact that Kiko was considered middle class. Mako's husband was deemed a "commoner" by the royal elite, and she was therefore required to leave the royal family altogether in order to be with him.

Mako and Komuro began dating in 2013 according to a report by PEOPLE, and became engaged in 2017. They met at the International Christian University in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan, though both had studied overseas as well. Some financial entanglements came to light at the time and generally turned the public against this match, causing Mako and Komuro to wait several years before saying their vows.

In that time, the Japanese Imperial Household Council ruled that it was a violation of Imperial Household Law for Mako to marry Komuro while retaining royal status. They are not allowed to live with the rest of her family inside the imperial quarters.

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Komuro works for the New York-based firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP, having obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University School of Law in New York. So far, he has not passed the state bar exam. It is not clear if Mako is taking a job as well, though she has a master's degree in art museum and gallery studies from the University of Leicester. For now, the couple is settling into life in the big city and likely hoping for the attention on them to die down.