The Princess, who has just been diagnosed as suffering from a stress-related condition, was a beautiful, multilingual career diplomat when she married the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 1993. Since then her life has been plagued by the inability of the royal couple (though it is usually portrayed as her inability) to produce a male heir. She has not been seen in public since December last year and, before her current bout of depression, she had suffered from shingles and exhaustion. The blame for her unhappiness seems to lie at the door of the royal courtiers who, in much the same way as their British counterparts, have insisted on imposing their own perverse and antiquated world view on a young woman from another era.
Still, I have a lot more time for Masako than for Diana, who (sorry to speak ill of the dead) brought a lot of her trouble on herself through her publicity-seeking behaviour and compulsive narcissism.
Princess Masako’s only ‘crime’ is to have had a miscarriage and a little girl. What’s wrong with that?
Last night I heard a Filipino friend talking about how the Philippines would benefit from a monarchy. He had some good arguments, but I think the sad story of the trapped and fading Princess Masako demonstrates how inappropriate an institition it is for the 21st century.