Princess mako
Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi

Princess Mako, the oldest grandchild of Japanese Emperor Akihito, has officially announced her engagement to her former university classmate.

Mako and fiancé Kei Komuro, both 25, confirmed the news at a press conference on Sunday after news of the planned engagement was first reported in May. They happy couple said their relationship started after meeting at Tokyo’s International Christian University five years ago.

“First I was attracted by his bright smiles like the sun,” Mako said, referring to the first time they talked at an event for students ahead of a study-abroad scheme.

Related article: Japan’s Princess Is Giving Up Her Royal Title To Marry A Commoner

Princess Mako
Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi

Following a long-distance relationship while they both studied overseas for a year, Komuro, who now works at a law firm, proposed to the princess after dinner in December 2013.

Mako said she introduced Kumro to her parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, as someone she wished to “share her future with,” but the union means that the princess will have to leave the royal family.

Women aren’t allowed to succeed Japan’s throne and therefore Mako will lose her royal status after marrying Komuro, who is a commoner.

Related article: 20 Royals Who Have Married Commoners

japanese Royal family
Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi

“I was aware since my childhood that I’ll leave a royal status once I marry,” Princess Mako said, the BBC reports. “While I worked to help the emperor and fulfil duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I’ve been cherishing my own life.”

Details of their wedding have not yet been confirmed, but palace officials say the ceremony is expected to take place around autumn next year after a series of rituals, including one that authorises the engagement.

Additional reporting from Associated Press.

Related article: Prince William Promised Diana He’d Return Her Royal Title When He Was King

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK