Princess Mako of Japan unveiled as secret college student in England

Would you and your friends realize if there was a princess in your midst? Students at England's University of Leicester were put to the test after it was revealed that one of their fellow students is Princess Mako of Japan, who has studied undetected there for the past year. The 23-year-old, who has been dubbed as Japan's Kate Middleton, has been working on a Masters in Art Museum and Gallery Studies and has just finished her degree.

The royal's presence was virtually unknown to other students – except maybe fellow Japanese co-eds, who might have recognized her since she's regularly seen in the public eye back home.

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While in England, though, Emperor Akihito's first-born granddaughter has lived the life of a normal college student, staying in the dorms for her year-long studies, and walking freely around the campus.

Princess Mako has completed her Masters in Art Museum and Gallery Studies Photo: Getty Images

As required by her degree program, Mako also completed an eight-week internship at Coventry Museum and collections-based research at New Walk Museum in Leicester.

The Imperial House of Japan chose to reveal Mako's presence in Leicester only after she had completed her Masters, by holding a press conference at the university. No questions were allowed for the Princess, although one bold reporter from Japan did ask Mako how she had found the past year.

"It was a wonderful experience," Mako responded in Japanese, bowing politely.


In a video released by the university, Professor Simon Knell praises Mako, saying: "She's been like any other student. She's very polite, very enthusiastic, very generous and she's been a delight to teach." And she'll be back in Britain soon. Though she's now in Japan waiting for her thesis results, she'll return to Engand for her graduation ceremony in January 2016.

This week, during the press conference, reporters were allowed to take photos of the princess with her university professors. In the first room, Mako and Dr Sheila Watson, deputy head of the school of museum studies, were pictured wrapping wooden blocks. There were also some museum artefacts arranged behind them.

In the second room, the princess chatted to Professor Knell, who spoke about a piece of 21st century studio pottery.

The 23-year-old royal is thefirst-born granddaughter of Emperor Akihito

In a statement released by the university, Dr Suzanne Macleod, head of the school of museum studies, said: "We have a strong connection to the cultural profession in Japan with many students graduating from our school to take up posts in museums and galleries there, and so it felt very natural that Mako should come and follow her interests with us. She has been a pleasure to teach, has worked incredibly hard and should be very proud of her achievements."

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