TOKYO – Princess Masako, wife of the Japanese crown prince, continues her recovery from a decade-long depression, the Imperial House said on her 53rd birthday.
In a message released by the royal household, Masako said that she has tried her best to fulfill all her duties and is feeling greatly motivated by the support of the Japanese people.
Masako, commonly known as “the sad princess,” has limited her public appearances and official duties since 2003 due to stress-induced depression.
Her last official foreign visit was in 2013 when she accompanied her husband, Prince Naruhito, for the crowning ceremony of the Dutch royal couple Willem-Alexander and Maxima in Amsterdam.
However, Masako has significantly increased her domestic activities and participated in 57 events outside the Togu Palace, the official residence of the royal couple, in contrast to recent years, when she hardly made any public appearances.
The Japanese media and royal family experts attribute her stress to her failure to produce a male heir to inherit the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne.
After a miscarriage in 1999, Masako gave birth to a baby girl named princess Aiko, who turned 15 last week.
She also suffers from various health issues, which has often lead her to miss school or attend, accompanied by her mother.