Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako become the Emperor and Empress following the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito
In 1989, Emperor Akihito pledged to protect the Constitution and fulfill his duties. He also expressed his hopes for national prosperity, global peace and the well-being of humanity.
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They are the first imperial couple with university degrees, to speak several languages and to have years of experience of living abroad — when the emperor even did his own laundry. Emperor Naruhito, 59, the eldest of three children, is the first to be cared for by his mother instead of being raised by wet nurses and tutors. His parents made efforts to give him an ordinary childhood, including sending him to school with a packed lunch. A student of water transport, he graduated from Gakushuin University and then spent two years at Oxford University, which he has described as some of the best years of his life. He later defied palace officials to marry diplomat Masako Owada, now 55, who was largely raised abroad, after she caught his eye at a concert. The two have one daughter, 17-year-old Princess Aiko, who as a woman cannot ascend to the throne. (unquote)
Photo courtesy AP