Japan's Princess Sayako has bid farewell to palace life, in a wedding ceremony that officially ended her status as a member of the royal family.
In a private Shinto ceremony at a Tokyo hotel Tuesday, Princess Sayako married 40-year-old Yoshiki Kuroda, a Tokyo city planner. When the 36-year-old princess left the palace to travel to the hotel, she was cheered by thousands of well-wishers.
Under Japanese law, only males descended from emperors can take the throne. Females in the royal family become commoners when they marry. Her marriage comes as Japan considers allowing women to ascend to the throne, to assure the survival of Japan's monarchy.
No boys have been born into the Imperial household for 40 years. Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife have only one child, a three-year-old daughter.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.