Image caption Princess Mako and her prince propose at a castle in Hokkaido in Japan
Grown men with titles fell in love, with hearts, in front of crowds of happy people. It was Shakespearean drama, setting aflame the primal wonderment that women seem to always be a part of.
Really, it was a reverse-storybook wedding of Japanese royals, which concluded on Monday. Princess Mako, 23, is now allowed to marry Prince Akishino, 30. The couple have now become the great-grandmother and great-grandson of the late Emperor Akihito, Akihito’s first son and successor.
He spoke in public for the first time in four years at the ceremony, following the decision in 2013 to open up the monarchy to women and the current Abbot’s allowance of popular opinion and an attempt to modernise and promote the role of women.
Image copyright Muroto JA / Getty Images Image caption Prince Akishino and Princess Mako pose with the bride’s father and grandfather at the castle
Prince Akishino was responsible for the engagement itself, and his father, Prince Akishino – the prince’s uncle – was the groom.
The sideshow began well before they arrived, with details about their families, public weddings and palace offerings proving almost as captivating as the main event.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Princess Mako was dressed in an azure, traditional dress and wore a tiara
The bride’s father, Kei Komoto, is a top astronomy expert, who has spent six years in the US and has been working with Nasa on its solar system information systems.
The prince’s uncle, Hisahito, is in the elite Self Defence Force and a two-star army general. His uncle-in-law, Vice Admiral Takeshi Endo, is Japan’s new political firebrand. The bride’s mother is a high-profile design artist.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The couple decided to change the wording of the vows to include a reference to women
Prince Akishino, the groom, was born to his father, second emperor Mikasa, then heir to the throne, and his princess wife, the late Masako, who died of a heart attack in 1997.
Princess Mako was born with her father but she took his surname when he divorced his wife, Toshi, on the grounds of adultery in 2008.
Her father, Toshi, died in 2017.
Akihito, who passed away in November last year, gave permission for his eldest son and second daughter to wed.
The groom and bride did not appear before an audience – but there was music and the groom proposed a reversal of their vows to celebrate equality. He said “I vow to love you faithfully forever”, while his bride agreed “and I take you in my heart forever, amen”.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Princess Mako says she did not want her marriage to be a political issue
Some celebrities visited the castle to congratulate the happy couple, including tennis star Kimiko Date and Norio Sasaki, director of Sega Club Kadamora of which Princess Mako is a member.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Princess Mako will be allowed to take up royal positions
Princess Mako said she did not want her marriage to be a political issue.
“It’s a happy occasion, something for us, so that we can all enjoy it,” she said.