Japan’s emperor has celebrated his 71st birthday, but it was not all joy and festivities. In fact, at a royal appearance, Emperor Akihito shared with his audience the pain he had suffered because of a rift with eldest son the crown prince. Prince Naruhito who is heir to one of the oldest monarchies in the world had previously complained about his family’s attitude towards his wife.
The saga has been marked by a series of public recriminations. Now the emperor has said his bit and reproached his son for not basing his accusations on fact. With the princess notably absent from the royal appearance, he revealed the whole affair had left him feeling sad.At their wedding in 1993, the royal couple probably had no inkling of the problems their marriage would bring. But now princess Masako is ill, apparently due to the strains of regal life and maybe also for not producing a male heir. Japanese law bars female succession to the crown.