As the British royals are facing the challenges brought on by a bout of ill health, Japan’s Imperial Household are also dealing with a similar crisis.
Princess Kiko, 57, recently contracted a mystery gastrointestinal illness with reports last month saying she was ‘unable to eat normal meals’, and she remains on leave from royal duties.
Kiko’s bout of ill health has left her husband, Crown Prince Akishino, 58, carrying out royal duties solo and is unable to call on their daughter, Princess Mako to help.
She was forced to renounce her title and moved to New York after marrying a commoner, in echoes of Megxit.
Elsewhere, Emperor Naruhito’s daughter Princess Aiko, 22, has stepped up to fill the void and will host a lunch for the Kenyan president and his wife tomorrow after Kiko cancelled due to her illness, according to NNN.
It has been reported that Crown Princess Kiko of Japan (pictured) has cancelled a luncheon with the President of Kenya and his wife tomorrow due to gastrointestinal issues
Concern for Princess Kiko heightened after news broke that she is suffering from a mystery gastrointestinal illness.
The royal has experienced painful symptoms related to the gastrointestinal system, which has left her unable to eat normal meals.
She reportedly had an endoscopy at Tokyo hospital earlier this year, but no abnormalities were discovered.
The mother-of-three has been advised to ‘rest and focus on recovering,’ according to The Mainichi.
While doctors have advised Kiko to rest, they have suggested that she might be dealing with painful symptoms for the next couple of months.
Princess Aiko (pictured) will instead host the luncheon, marking the first foreign visit that the 22-year-old has hosted
Crown Prince Akishino (pictured) has previously spoken out about the current state of the Japanese royal family and said that it requires some kind of reform
Former Princess Mako of Japan (pictured) moved to New York after marrying her commoner husband and renouncing her title
And just yesterday, it was reported by NNN news that Kiko had cancelled an upcoming luncheon with the Kenyan president and his wife due to her gastrointestinal illness.
Consequently, Kiko’s niece, Princess Aiko, 22, is stepping up and hosting the dinner.
The event marks Aiko’s debut appearance at a luncheon with foreign guests and her first official dinner of this kind.
Princess Aiko, who is the oldest daughter of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, is expected to attend more official events in the future.
Princess Kiko has been suffering with a mystery stomach illness since last year, it has been reported
Only male heirs descended from a male emperor are eligible for the throne. The family currently has three male heirs: Crown Prince Akishino, Prince Hisahito and Prince Hitachi
Elsewhere, in instances where Kiko is unable to attend events due to her ill health it is though that her husband, Crown Prince Akishino, 58, will attend solo.
Akishino has recently spoken out about the slimmed down state of the Japanese monarchy due to male primogeniture rules, meaning only male members of the royal family can succeed the throne.
In November last year, Akishino called for a review of official duties because members are either leaving due to age or marrying a commoner, according to the Japan Times.
‘It would be difficult to pass on (official duties) if the number (of imperial family members) decreases,’ the crown prince told journalists in Tokyo.
Indeed, the family has shrunk in recent times because female members must renounce their royal status up if they choose to marry a commoner.
As it stands, the current total of family members in the royal household in 17, with 12 of them being female.
The former Princess Mako has since relocated to New York with her husband after renouncing her royal title
Princess Mako being the most recent example. In October 2021, she gave up her royal title to marry her commoner boyfriend in a move that has sharply divided public opinion.
Mako, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, tied the knot with university sweetheart Kei Komuro, a commoner, in Tokyo after an eight-year engagement.
Japan’s strict laws of succession forbid women from ascending to the Chrysanthemum Throne and force them to give up their titles if they marry commoners.
The low-key ceremony was met with protests, and was held behind closed doors without any of the pomp and pageantry of other Japanese royal weddings, which traditionally include a reception and banquet.
Her aunt and uncle, the reigning Emperor and his wife, also enjoyed a parade through the streets of Tokyo on their wedding day.
Mako, 30, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, tied the knot with university sweetheart Kei Komuro, a commoner, in Tokyo after an eight-year engagement
The decision has led to comparisons with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who also turned their backs on royal duties to live privately in the US.
Formerly the Princess of Akishino, Mako, who previously held a high profile position within the royal family, has now taken her husband’s name and will go by Mako Komuro – the first time in her life that she has had a surname.
Mako and Komuro met at Tokyo’s International Christian University in 2013 and became engaged in secret, before announcing their intention to marry in September 2017.
But the wedding was delayed following a financial scandal involving an unpaid debt allegedly owed by Kei’s mother and suggestions he was marrying for money.
Eventually he said he would repay it, although it is not known whether the money has been returned.
The dispute involves whether money his mother received from her former fiancé was a loan or a gift. Mako´s father asked Komuro to clarify, and he wrote a statement defending himself, but it is still unclear if the dispute has been fully resolved.
In the wake of the scandal, he moved to the US to study law and recently graduated from Fordham University in New York, where he now works for a law firm.
As part of the wedding announcement, the royal household said Mako would forgo all traditional ceremonies and surrender a £1million payment she was entitled to according to Japanese tradition.
She is the first imperial family member since World War II to not receive the payment while marrying a commoner and chose to do so because of the criticism over her marrying a man some consider unfit for the princess.