Japan’s Princess Mako has delayed her wedding for two years, claiming “immaturity” and a “lack of preparation”.
Announcing the delay, Japan’s imperial palace denied speculation the decision was related to tabloid criticism of her fiance’s family background.
Princess Mako, 26, and her college classmate Kei Komuro announced their engagement last September and were to wed in November.
In announcing the delay, the Imperial Household Agency cited “a series of important ceremonies next year”, apparently meaning the planned handover of the Chrysanthemum Throne.
No new dates for the wedding or its preceding rituals were given.
Princess Mako is Emperor Akihito’s oldest grandchild.
The 84-year-old emperor is to abdicate on April 30, 2019, with Crown Prince Naruhito taking the throne the next day.
The surprise delay less than a month before a planned ceremony to formalise the couple’s engagement left many people puzzled.
Agency official Takaharu Kachi told reporters the decision was not related to tabloid reports about disputes between Mr Komuro’s mother and her former partner over money she borrowed to cover her son’s tuition and never repaid, Japanese media reported.
Princess Mako said in a statement the delay was due to insufficient preparations.
“We have come to realise the lack of time to make sufficient preparations for various events leading up to our marriage this autumn and our life afterward,” Princess Mako wrote.
“We believe that we have rushed various things too much.”
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, she also said the postponement was “because of our immaturity and we just regret it”.
“We feel extremely sorry for causing great trouble and further burden those who have willingly supported us,” she said.
Princess Mako said Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko expressed respect for the couple’s decision.
The palace requested 150 million yen ($1.7 million) as part of its fiscal 2018 budget to cover the costs of the wedding and the process of starting Mako’s life outside the royal family
Under the imperial household law, female members lose their royal status when they marry a commoner.