Princess Masako’s appearance at an imperial banquet honoring Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is making headlines because the reclusive member of the Japanese royal family is rarely seen in public these days. In fact, Japan’s Crown Princess Masako’s appearance is so rare that she has hardly been spotted since 2002, one year after giving birth to a baby girl. Since then, she has remained largely hidden from view within the Imperial Palace.
Japan’s Crown Princess Masako’s appearance was made at an event held as Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander bid farewell to Japan after a three-day visit, reported the Daily Mail. Masako’s appearance renewed interest in the Harvard graduate whose budding career was cut short when she agreed to marry a prince.
At the age of 50, Masako, Crown Princess of Japan, had been out of the spotlight for more than a decade prior to her appearance at the event. She was last seen in public in 2003 when she and her husband attended a state dinner for the president of Mexico.
Despite what appeared to be a fairy-tale romance, the former businesswoman who fell in love with Japan’s Prince Naruhito wasn’t destined to live happily ever after, reported People. One of her first unofficial royal duties was producing an heir to the throne. Unfortunately, she had difficulty conceiving. Once she did conceive, she miscarried. With the aid of fertility treatments, she gave birth to a healthy child in 2001. However, the child was not the heir that everyone had hoped; it was a girl. Princess Aiko will not ascend to the throne. Only males are eligible to receive that honor.
It was after the birth of her daughter that Princess Masako’s appearance became scarce. Said to be suffering from anxiety and depression, the wife of Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, all but disappeared from public life. Her alleged nervous breakdown and life of solitude were reportedly caused by her inability to produce a male heir.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Japan is the birthplace of a rather unusual invention, a chair that hugs lonely people. The chair, which has been described as a bit creepy, features a doll-like face and body. The user sits in front of the body and enjoys the comfort of the two humanoid arms extending from the chair that provide the advertised hugs. Such a marvelous chair doesn’t come without a price. It sells for $419. That’s not all — the chair also plays soothing Japanese music.
What do you make of Princess Masako’s appearance? Could this mark a new beginning for the reclusive royal?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]