Princess Mako’s Diamond Tiara

Happy Birthday to Princess Mako of Akishino, who turns 30 today! The elder daughter of the Japanese Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Princess Mako is also the eldest grandchild of the former Emperor Akihito and is set to leave her royal titles when she controversially marries Kei Komuro next week. To mark the day, and this important milestone in Princess Mako’s life, we are featuring her Diamond Tiara and Parure! 

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But first, learn about Princess Mako! The eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Mako is the eldest grandchild of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and the elder sister of Princess Kako and Prince Hisahito. Educated at the Gakushūin School, she then studied English at University College, Dublin in 2010, before graduating from the International Christian University in Mitaka, Tokyo in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and Cultural Heritage, then studying at the University of Leicester, where she received an MA degree in Art Museum and Gallery Studies in 2016, which came after studying art history at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. As a working member of the Imperial Family, Princess Mako conducted a series of Official Visits, going to El Salvador and Honduras, Paraguay, Bhutan, Hungary, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, while working as a project researcher of the University of Tokyo’s Museum. In 2017, Princess Mako announced her engagement to Kei Komuro, originally expected to take place in November 2018, but was postponed for approximately three years due to a financial dispute that resulted in her parents and the public’s disapproval of the match and made Princess Mako suffer from complex PTSD. In marrying a commoner, Princess Mako will formally lose her title and become a commoner upon marriage as required by the Imperial Household, and will also forego the Japanese government’s taxpayer funded payment of approximately $1.3m USD given to royal women upon leaving the Imperial Family. The couple will now get married in a simple ceremony, without any associated Imperial rites, on October 26th, after which Princess Mako will move to the United States with her husband, who is employed at New York-based law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP. We wish HIH a very Happy Birthday and many Happy Returns!

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When Princess Mako turned 20 years old in 2011, she received a parure newly created by Japanese Jeweller Wako, which consisted of a Tiara, a coordinating mirrored necklace, a pearl of earrings, a brooch, and two bracelets, keeping in line with the style of jewellery worn by the Japanese Imperial ladies, in a modern deign echoing the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara and Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara. The Tiara was first worn on Princess Mako’s 20th Birthday, when she made the traditional greeting to her grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, as part of her coming-of-age celebrations.

The annual Ceremony of New Year’s Celebration at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of the most glittering events in the Japanese calendar, and Princess Mako annually wore her Tiara at the Celebrations from 2012, including the New Years Receptions in 2017, 2018 and 2019, though only slight changes in hairstyle make it possible to identify Princess Mako through the tight regulations of Japanese Court Dress.

Princess Mako has also worn her Tiara to a variety of State Banquets over the years, including the State Banquet  for King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium in 2016, the State Banquet for King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain and the State Banquet for Grand Duke Henri and Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg in 2017,

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In 2019, after Emperor Akihito’s Abdication, Princess Mako wore her Tiara and Parure for the Sokuigo Choken no Gi Ceremony in the Matsu no Ma State Room in the Imperial Palace. A few months later, the Tiara was worn again for Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s Banquet to celebrate their Enthronement at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The last appearance of the Tiara came in January 2020, when Princess Mako wore it at the annual Ceremony of New Year’s Celebration at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. It may have been worn for the Rikkoshi no Reimei Ceremony but Princess Mako was not pictured, and no Tiaras were worn at the 2021 Japanese New Year’s Reception due to the pandemic.

Under ordinary circumstances, Princess Mako would have worn the Tiara for one last time at a Farewell Audience (Choken-no-Gi) with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, after a series of ceremonies in the Three Shrines of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, but as she’s nit allowed the usual rites, Princess Mako wore formal day dress and worshipped from the courtyard later having a private meeting with the Emperor and Empress. The Tiara and Parure will now return to the Imperial Household Agency and it is unlikely it will be worn again anytime soon!

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