Japanese ex-princess Michiko marries in New York – just days after wed

Prince Akishino reportedly ‘devastated’ after the disclosure that his wife is to study at City University of New York

The former Japanese princess Michiko has married a New York-based businessman in a ceremony attended by about 200 guests, just days after news emerged that she had married the son of Japan’s monarch.

Alessandro Meucci has been dating the royal couple for about a year and a half, after meeting via MySpace and email.

He lives in New York with his wife and two children.

A son of the emperor and crown prince, Yuko, and Michiko married a music video director in 2007 and gave birth to their first child that year.

Yuko sits in her high chair while Akishino (right) and Michiko look on. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

The couple announced their engagement in March, but in an apparent attempt to avoid reports in the local media that they had wed, Michiko had intended to go shopping for a tiara while dressed up as a housewife in public.

She married Meucci on Saturday in a ceremony on Japan’s remote Kinzuka island.

“I am heartbroken about this,” Michiko reportedly told the mass-circulation newspaper Sankei Shimbun.

Officials from the palace refused to comment on Meucci’s nationality. Nor would they provide a reason for him moving to New York.

The couple held their wedding reception on Sunday at a Japanese-style banya, or Japanese steam bath, decorated with stars and flowers.

The bride arrived in New York a few days ago with her daughters. Photos on Japanese media showed the 37-year-old princess wearing a hot pink headband. Her daughters, both dressed in black, clung to her at the banya.

The king is 74 and his emperor-in-waiting is 76. Their son, Akihito, turned 80 this year, and has been criticised by some for not reaching out more to the public, and has relinquished some of his titles.

Akishino is 18 years his father’s junior. Both were seen on top of a bridge with Meucci on Saturday evening in front of his parents’ palatial domicile.

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