No one at my uni knew I was a Japanese princess

Even though I studied museums


The Japanese Kate Middleton lived in secret at a British uni for over a year.

The secret princess – who even lived in university halls – has now revealed her true identity as Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino, first-born granddaughter of the Japanese Emperor.

But the exotic 23-year-old fled to the sanctity of Leicester University last year, and has been strolling through its corridors unrecognised since September 2014.

Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino who has been studying at the University of LeicesterÃs School of Museum Studies. A secret princess who has been living among British students without their knowledge for over a year has now revealed her true identity. See NTI story NTIPRINCESS. Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino, first-born granddaughter of the Japanese Emperor, is known at home as the Japanese Kate Middleton. But the exotic 23-year-old fled to the sanctity of Leicester University last year, and has been strolling through its corridors unrecognised since September 2014. Japanese students knew who she was, but according to her course supervisor Professor Simon Knell, they would leave the royal student in peace. She lived in halls of residence, visited the local museums regularly and even took part in an eight-week work experience program at Coventry Museum. Having finished her MA in Museum Studies, the Imperial House of Japan decided it was time to make her presence in England known. A secret press conference was called and Japanese press jetted in from the other side of the world to broadcast the event back home.

Princess Mako spent a year undercover

Japanese students knew who she was, but according to her course supervisor Professor Simon Knell, they would leave the royal student in peace.

Known at home as the Japanese Kate Middleton, she visited the local museums regularly and even took part in an eight-week work experience program at Coventry Museum.

But having finished her MA in Museum Studies, the Imperial House of Japan decided it was time to make her presence in England known.

No one knew she was a princess, apart from other Japanese students

No one knew she was a princess, apart from other Japanese students

A secret press conference was called and Japanese press jetted in from the other side of the world to broadcast the event back home.

Reporters were not allowed to ask questions at the event where a large number of Japanese photographers and journalists gathered.

The Princess, dressed respectably in flat shoes, skirt and jade-coloured sweater spoke with head of school, Dr Sheila Watson.

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She said Leicester had been a ‘great experience’

The pair made small talk while wrapping children’s building blocks, while a Japanese press officer dictated when photographers could take pictures.

On her way out, a brave Japanese reporter asked: “How has your time here been?”

Despite her press officer’s protestations, the princess bowed and replied: “It was a great experience,” before being escorted from the room.

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No one knows if she will return for graduation in January

Her graduation is in January, and the university hopes she returns.

Professor Knell said: “She was just a fantastic student, you’d like any student to be polite and engage with the ideas you put forward and put their own ideas forward.

“It was great to have a relationship with her – a real pleasure to do that.

“She’s modest and very kind and just a really nice person.”