Royals who gave up titles for love – divorce scandal and marriage without permission

After Princess Mako of Japan gave up her title and left the Japanese imperial family after marrying a commoner, here we see kings from all over the world who have traded their titles for love

Japan’s Princess Mako gives up royal status to marry commoners

One of the benefits of being born king is getting a great title that reflects your royal status.

But having a title can also mean having to live by strict traditions that govern everything from your work life to your marriage.

And for some, being a prince or princess or even a king can become a burden, and there have been times when royals traded their titles so they could be with those they love.

Just yesterday, Princess Mako of Japan gave up her title and place in the Japanese imperial family to marry her college lover, Kei Komuro.

Here we take a look at some of the other royals from around the world who gave up their titles out of love …

King Edward VIII

Former King Edward VIII with his wife Wallis Simpson


Getty Images)

The couple later became known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor


Popperfoto via Getty Images)

One of the most famous times when a king gave up his title out of love – they gave up the throne too.

Edward VIII came to the throne in 1936 after the death of his father George V and was unmarried at the time.

Less than a year after his reign, he announced his intention to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.

But he was told by then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that the marriage was considered morally unacceptable, largely due to the fact that the Church of England, headed by Edward, had refused to remarry after the divorce.

In December 1936 he decided to abdicate – to give up the throne to marry Wallis.

He became a prince again and was later given the title Duke of Windsor. His brother, the queen’s father, later became King George VI.

He married Wallis in June 1937 and the couple remained married until his death in 1972.

Prince Philip

The Queen with her beloved late husband Prince Philip



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As the Queen’s beloved husband, Prince Philip has held several royal titles – including the Duke of Edinburgh.

But before he was allowed to marry her in 1947, he actually had to forego some of the other titles he was given at birth.

That’s because he was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark but had to give up the titles to become a British citizen so he could marry then Princess Elizabeth.

He also took his maternal grandparents’ surname, Mountbatten, before marrying.

Princess Mako

Japan’s Princess Mako and her husband Kei Komuro


JIJI PRESS / AFP via Getty Images)

The youngest queen to trade her title for marriage is the Japanese princess Mako.

She is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan. Her uncle is Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the chrysanthemum throne in May 2019.

Mako met her current husband, Kei Komuro, a commoner, while they were studying at the International Christian University in Tokyo.

They got engaged in 2017, but even then she knew that if royal women marry commoners, she would have to give up her title and leave the imperial family as law.

The couple tied the knot yesterday and there were emotional scenes as she said goodbye to her parents and younger sister as she left the family to start a new life with her husband in the United States.

Princess Ayako

Princess Ayako on her wedding day with husband Kei Moriya


The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Imag)

Like Princess Mako, Princess Ayako of Japan had to give up her royal status upon marriage.

She also married a commoner, Kei Moriya, in October 2018 and, under Japanese law, gave up her title and place in the imperial family.

The couple had met a year earlier and in November 2019 Ayako gave birth to the couple’s first child – a son.

Princess Ubolratana

Princess Ubolratana is the sister of Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn and the eldest child of the former King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In the early 1970s she attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she began dating the American Peter Jensen.

Her parents are said to have spoken out strongly against the relationship, but Ubolratana married Jensen, despite her wishes – and lost her royal title in the process.

The couple lived in San Diego, California and had three children, but they divorced in 2001 when she returned to Thailand.

Prince Frieze

Prince Friso was the younger brother of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and in 2003 it was announced that he would marry Mabel Wisse Smit.

The Dutch Prince Friso announced his engagement to Mabel Wisse Smit in 2004



And although she was accepted into the Dutch royal family, she was not given official permission to marry.

That means when they tied the knot in 2004, Friso gave up both his place in the succession and his place in the Dutch royal family.

The couple had three children and started a home in London. In 2012 Friso was involved in a skiing accident in Austria in which he was buried by an avalanche.

He died over a year later as a result of the accident.

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