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  #301  
Old 04-24-2013, 05:26 PM
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6. Failure regarding the only important task: to bear a male heir ... continued

First, we have to say that, in the current situation, the very survival of the monarchy depends on two events that may or may not take place at some time in the future: 1. Hisahito must take the throne. (This is a royal forum, so I do not have to tell you how many things there are in this world that may impede a potential heir from actually inheriting. It does not even have to be a fatal car accident – falling in love with one Mrs Simpson can already be quite sufficient, at times.) 2. Hisahito must produce one son with his lawful spouse, at the very least. The problems here will predictably start with having to find a halfway acceptable girl who would be willing to marry him. Already Uncle Naruhito had, twenty years ago, a really hard time of finding a partner. The Newsweek magazine wrote in 1993 about Naruhito´s search for a bride:
Quote:
Some who found out that they were on the kunaicho's list of potential candidates hurriedly found husbands, if only to be able to live a relatively normal life. Two other women in whom the prince took an interest, according to Japanese press reports, both rebuffed him. As time passed, his fruitless search became an increasing embarrassment to his family and the bureaucrats who manage their affairs. It was hardly his fault; by all accounts he is a friendly, intelligent man with a reasonably good sense of humor. No, the constant rejection served as powerful confirmation of just how removed the royal family had become from the dynamic country that had grown up just outside the moat.
It is fairly predictable that his Aunt Masako´s fate will reduce Hisahito´s chances of finding a bride even further (to just above zero, I´d reckon... ). But whatever the difficulties, he will have to master them somehow, because, if one of the above mentioned things (take the throne, produce a son) should not happen, that would be the end of the monarchy. Period. Full stop.

Obviously, every monarchist would perceive this situation as completely unacceptable. It is absolutely within the range of possibility that Japan´s monarchy may get to be abolished not by a parliamentary decision, but by a mere accident. It is as if they were playing Russian roulette.

Even if the risky game should be won, though, there is still one problem that will arise in any case, even if all goes as well can possibly be hoped:
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Japan’s Imperial family currently consists of 23 members spanning four generations. The oldest, Prince Mikasa, was born in 1915 and is the youngest brother of the late Emperor Hirohito. The youngest is 5-year-old Prince Hisahito, Akihito’s only grandson. Prince Hisahito has two older sisters (aged 16 and 20) and a famous cousin, 10-year-old Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and his embattled wife, Princess Masako.

The Crown Prince has a brother, Prince Akishino (Hisahito’s father), and five cousins, grandchildren of Prince Mikasa. All of these cousins are princesses and all are in their twenties except for one, who just turned 30. In other words, apart from Prince Hisahito, all of the young members of the Imperial family are females who are either of marriageable age or will be within a decade. Given that Princess Masako was born in 1963 and Princess Akishino (Hisahito’s mother) in 1966, any further additions to the family would appear unlikely.

Under the current Imperial House Act, female members of the household cannot accede to the throne and may only retain their Imperial status if they marry other Imperials. As the above family tree makes clear, there are simply no young males in the family available, even if cousin-marrying was deemed an acceptable option. Thus, in order for the princesses to have families of their own, they must marry “commoners” and abandon their royal status.

Moreover, since members of the Imperial family are prohibited by law from adopting children, there is a very real prospect that in the not-too-distant future the Japanese Imperial household will be reduced to little more than a single nuclear family headed by Prince Hisahito and his wife.

Under current law, if all of the princesses marry out of the monarchy, Hisahito would quite literally be the only one left in the household to perform a myriad of state functions and religious ceremonies. He and his lucky spouse would also have to bear the intense pressure of producing male heirs to continue the lineage, a burden that reportedly drove his aunt, Princess Masako, to the brink of despair.

The onerous responsibility imposed by state functions on the Emperor should not be underestimated. Some of them, such as appointing the prime minister, receiving foreign ambassadors and promulgating new legislation, are mandated by the Constitution. Other members of the Imperial family thus play an important role not just as a source of potential heirs, but also as proxies for the Emperor when he is unavailable due to illness or other commitments. […] While the constitutional roles performed by the Emperor are formalities, if neither he nor any lawful proxies are available to perform them, a constitutional crisis is possible nonetheless.
(And then there was one?: Japan’s right royal crisis, Jan 17, 2012)

Accordingly, it would have, for merely practical reasons, been not just desirable, but rather necessary for the crown princess to also have a son. If all the young princesses marry out (and most of them are in their twenties, so it will probably happen soon), the imperial family is running out of members to a degree that would probably make them unable to attend to all their official duties in the very near future. Hisahito will be obliged to produce not only the requisite male heir (which can be bad enough as we have seen) but enough children (preferably male ones) to shoulder the imperial work for another generation. If his sisters and cousins are commoners this also means that nobody except his wife could represent him in state matters if he should fall ill (if even with just a flu) as long as his children are still minor.

If you accept just for a moment as a fact that reforms will not take place (because Japan´s lawmakers simply do not seem to get their act together), it is understandable why Masako was still required to have a son. At least, it seems to be, in the very first moment... But then, if you look a bit closer, all this quickly ceases to bear any rational logic whatsoever...

Just assume for a moment, that Masako would have “done her duty”, i. e. Aiko would have been a boy. I think, it is relatively safe to assume that in this case, Hisahito would have never been born. Accordingly, it would have been Masako´s son who would have found himself in the enviable position of having to shoulder all the imperial duties alone as well as having to produce the next imperial generation all by himself, along with the young lady who would have been sufficiently optimistic/naive/stupid/crazy/you name it... to accept his hand in marriage. That means, the monarchy would have been in the exactly same situation as it is now. So why, of all people, blame Masako for this mess? And this is, I think, where we are back to square one – or to part one of my answer...

The state of affairs regarding the monarchy is undoubtedly less than desirable, to put it cautiously. But there are a lot of people responsible for this. If you want to absolutely put the blame on somebody, there would be a wide range of potential candidates. So why Masako? - 1) because she was, from the point of view of several powerful people, the wrong person in this position from the very start. 2) because those who put up with her or supported her in spite of the people named in 1), failed to stand by the decision they made back in 1992. There is but one exception to be mentioned, one individual who did not betray her: Masako´s husband. And that is why he ends up being blamed, too...



***

Now here is, finally, THE END of a reeeeeaaaaally lengthy answer! Thanks for hanging in there to everybody who has made it to this point!
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  #302  
Old 04-24-2013, 06:48 PM
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Giving Birth to a boy

In this day and age I still don't get how people still blame the female for the sex of a baby when it is the male who determines it (i.e. being the provider of the either the X or Y chromosome. It just frustrates me, especially when members of the Imperial Family are scientists and should know better.
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  #303  
Old 04-24-2013, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
6. Failure regarding the only important task: to bear a male heir ... continued

2. Hisahito must produce one son with his lawful spouse, at the very least. The problems here will predictably start with having to find halfway acceptable girl who would be willing to marry him.
Good luck with finding a half way intelligent & acceptable woman willing to take on that role which seems to be like a life sentence in solitary confinement. Women left the country or got tattos to avoid getting on the list of acceptable brides for Naruhito, I can imagine them doing worse to avoid getting on Hisahitos bride list.
This is one family that seems determined to go extinct.
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  #304  
Old 04-24-2013, 08:02 PM
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Perhaps they are not blaming her for producing a girl but for not being able to have additional chances at a boy. I don't buy into such beliefs but the Japanese are a smart people so I am sure they know how a babies sex is determined: as for Hisahito future wife, perhaps he and the candidates should look at Kiko and Empress Michiko how to survive in the Japanese royal family. One woman seems to have adjusted with no problem and they other developed psychological and physiological problems but over came them. Plus both seem to have loving spouses at their sides.
Unfortunately for the job of a Princess it's not just love but it the candidate can do the job; apparently those in charge had doubts if Masako could do it and they proved right. Supposedly Masako herself felt this way.
I read that such doubts occurred with Michiko as well or perhaps it was just from her mother in law.
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  #305  
Old 04-24-2013, 11:55 PM
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And the "Darwin Award" goes to....

Darwin Awards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
This is one family that seems determined to go extinct.
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  #306  
Old 04-25-2013, 01:58 AM
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to me, the fact that masako is coming means a lot on how WA+M are appreciated by their counterparts. it's masako's first trip abroad in 11 years that she's been dealing with depression, so obviously there must be a big friendhship between both couples for her to pull herself together and attend. just for info, masako and naruhito were in the netherlands holidaying with WA+Max in 2006:

Quote:
In 2006, Queen Beatrix invited Naruhito, Masako and their daughter, Princess Aiko, to the Netherlands, where they spent two weeks at a retreat, in part to provide rest for Masako.
According to sources, Princess Maxima of the Netherlands contacted Masako directly to issue the invitation.
Masako is said to be keen to go so she can express her appreciation for the 2006 visit.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/bd0bf2f5d...jme9o1_500.png

Princess Masako set to make first official overseas trip in 11 years - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
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  #307  
Old 04-25-2013, 03:36 AM
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I am sooooo happy, that Masako will come over to Europe - and I really, really hope, tht this is an additional step for recovery for her. Being between "people" and outside of the influence of her "prisoners of IHA".
BYe Bine
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  #308  
Old 04-25-2013, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by XeniaCasaraghi View Post
Perhaps they are not blaming her for producing a girl but for not being able to have additional chances at a boy.
They shouldn't be blaming her at all. If anything, the IHA is, at the very least, partially responsible for the troubles Masako has gone through, as evidenced in the facts ChiaraC has provided, IMO of course.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:20 PM
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Thank you ChiaraC for a fascinating read. Along with the massive amount of sympathy I feel for Princess Masako, I'm also feeling a lot of anger toward the IHA. I mean, the descriptions of the goings-on are grotesque, sadistic, and sexist! And I fully realize that my Western mindset doesn't completely understand why the Japanese think the way they do, but...this is insane. Any group of people that allow a woman to deteriorate mentally and physically in this manner are psychopaths. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel. And if I'm being honest, I'm glad this "imperial" family could very well be extinct in the next 50 years.

I really don't believe the Japanese people believe their Emperor is a living god any longer, so there's no need or reason to treat him as one. Time to get out from behind the iron curtain and show their faces. And while they're at it, lose the "male-only" mindset and embrace Aiko as the future Empress.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Masako should be at the forefront of royal women who are trying to help their people and change the lives of others. From everything I read, she's an incredibly intelligent and kind woman who thought she could do even more good in the world by joining the royal family. Instead she got beaten down and oppressed by the very people she was trying to help. I'm happy that her husband has stood beside her and loves her and their daughter, but that doesn't excuse everyone else.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkimura1976 View Post
In this day and age I still don't get how people still blame the female for the sex of a baby when it is the male who determines it (i.e. being the provider of the either the X or Y chromosome. It just frustrates me, especially when members of the Imperial Family are scientists and should know better.
Of course, they know that. Officially, they would never blame her for not having a boy. (Actually, you would never get a member of the imperial family to explicitly say that they blame Masako for whatever. )
Quote:
Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
This is one family that seems determined to go extinct.
I admit that I completely fail to understand why they did not do anything about a potential succession crisis, at the very latest, back in the mid-nineties when it was already clear that Naruhito and Masako would not produce a dozen children. Imo, they should have implored the Akishinos as well as the Takamados to have, please, more children, if in fact they were so concerned about male succession. But I remember reading an article written at the time in which it was said, I think by an IHA member, that if the crown prince and princess did not produce a child, there were always Akishino´s daughters who could ascend. While it probably sounded quite reasonable at the time, if we look back to this statement, knowing what has happened since , it is clear that this was just whistling in the dark and running away from the problem – the preferred strategy in dealing with the succession issue, obviously...

At present, though, there is not anything that the imperial family could do anymore to tackle the issue, but to press behind the scenes for a change in the law, in order to let the princesses stay in the family. It is hardly their fault that nobody listens to them. (Well, of course, they should have known better than putting their trust in Japan´s politicians...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by COESpiral View Post
Thank you ChiaraC for a fascinating read.
You are very welcome! Thank you for saying that.
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Originally Posted by COESpiral View Post
I really don't believe the Japanese people believe their Emperor is a living god any longer, so there's no need or reason to treat him as one.
No, they don´t. But there are people in Japan who want the times back when everybody thought that he was. Look at this photo and take a look at this post. It is obvious that the emperor and empress are far from happy, to say the least, to be used for such a purpose. But obviously they were at a loss of finding means to avoid it...

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Originally Posted by COESpiral View Post
Masako should be at the forefront of royal women who are trying to help their people and change the lives of others.
I absolutely agree.
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  #311  
Old 06-24-2013, 11:12 AM
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Will they ever allowed a woman to succeed the Chrysanthemum Throne? I feel so sorry for Masako, she honestly needs a break, the poor woman is with depression and to be put under pressure to produce a male heir must stress her greatly. Sometimes i wonder if she would have had been happier if she had not married Naruhito, she would not have to worry about having a heir or adjusting to life as a princess.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:54 AM
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Honestly, at her age, the ship has most likely sailed.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
I admit that I completely fail to understand why they did not do anything about a potential succession crisis, at the very latest, back in the mid-nineties when it was already clear that Naruhito and Masako would not produce a dozen children. Imo, they should have implored the Akishinos as well as the Takamados to have, please, more children, if in fact they were so concerned about male succession.

I believe they may have done precisely that.

I recall hearing that, immediately after the birth of Hisahito, certain officials said he and Kiko should try for another son, and Akishino reacted with anger.
(Perhaps because the pregnancy wasn't that easy for Kiko?)
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:32 AM
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Who are the Takamodos? Were they young enough to have more children along with the Akishino's? Yes the family finally has a son but its only one son and its putting all their eggs in one basket.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:37 PM
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I believe that ChiaraC mentions Prince Takamado and his family. Unfortunately Prince Takamado passed away in 2002.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:13 PM
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Good gracious the problem needs to be fixed, just because they have Hishahito doesn't mean the problem is fixed. I understand why they want only Emperors and I support it, but they need to stop throwing women out of the family when they get married and have their sons be in line for the succession.
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  #317  
Old 09-28-2013, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
6. Failure regarding the only important task: to bear a male heir ... continued
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! That was by far the most exhaustive, yet thorough analysis I've read on the current situation affecting the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan. It's sad that we're here in 2013, nearly 70 years after the humiliating submission of Japan ending World War II (and reducing the Emperor from a "living god" to a mere after-though) that the imperial Court still functions along out-dated and patriarchial traditions. I'll tell you, such short-sighted, narrow-minded thoughts and behaviors will be the reason that Imperial Japan becomes extinct.
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:33 AM
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ChiaraC:
I want to Thank You for all the info and research that you do on the CP couple, Masako has had such a horrible time in that family, I just feel for her. I like to keep up on her as she is someone who needs support even though she doesn't know she gets it anywhere except her husband. I wonder what will happen to their daughter not being the heir now, will the *grey suits* try to control and destroy her life?
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Old 11-02-2013, 01:12 PM
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ChiaraC:
I want to Thank You for all the info and research that you do on the CP couple, Masako has had such a horrible time in that family, I just feel for her. I like to keep up on her as she is someone who needs support even though she doesn't know she gets it anywhere except her husband. I wonder what will happen to their daughter not being the heir now, will the *grey suits* try to control and destroy her life?Kitten
Thank you so much, Kitten, for your very kind words!

Actually, I suppose that as far as Aiko´s personal happiness is concerned, she is probably better off with not being the heir. I do believe that Masako indeed was very concerned re: how she should raise her child in a way that would come at least remotely close to normal under the circumstances they have to live under, and this imo also explains why she absolutely insisted on accompanying Aiko to school after the bullying incident, even though that caused a lot of criticism and bad press and stressed herself to a degree that made her suffer a relapse in autumn 2011. But her efforts have obviously paid off. Aiko is an excellent and dedicated student and seems to have learnt to fend for herself where necessary.

Here is a spot-on (and imo very entertaining) comment written in 2004, the year when the public was officially informed of Masako´s illness. I´ll quote a small part here but I´d really recommend to read the whole thing:

Aiko and her Daddy Naruhito
Quote:
You guys probably don’t know this Aiko kid. She’s a cutie. Just turned three and her face is everywhere. She brushes her own teeth now, we’re told. Pretty good, don’t you think, for the great-granddaughter of Hirohito. [...]

One pasttime here in Mikadoland for folk who don’t have better things to do is debating whether it is desirable to change the rules so that girls can become Emperorperson. (Empress sounds like the Mrs.) There are three arguing positions. Yes, if they are the oldest child of a ruling Emp. Yes, if there are no boys. And no. Never. Ain’t no way. Over my dead body. [...]

I’ve become quite a fan of Aiko’s daddy, Naruhito. [...] Naruhito has my affection because he spoke out not long ago in favor of his wife, Masako. Masako was following the tradition set by her mother-in-law, Empress Michiko, who lost her voice and couldn’t speak for months. OK, you don’t want me to have an opinion on anything? Watch this, suckers!

I once said to a class that I felt sorry for Michiko, that what Japan was doing to its imperial family was on the order of child abuse. Probably all royal families get screwed this way, but the Japanese carry this kind of thing to galactic lengths. Masako, the daughter-in-law, and Aiko’s mum, tuned out recently too. She was, as it was reported, suffering from stress. Her illness is officially diagnosed as "Adjustment Disorder."

See why you have to cultivate your appreciation for the absurd to live in this country? Adjustment disorder? Hell, I’ve had that all my life! I’ve never adjusted to anything without kicking and screaming a hell of a lot first. Never had the money to have it diagnosed, in my case.

You're sick, dahlin'! We nailed your foot to the floor, and you're havin' trouble livin' with it. You got ADJUSTMENT DISORDER! Heal, dahlin, heal!

No, Masako, bless her heart, was (and is!) a very savvy woman. Harvard and all. Daughter of a diplomat. Toodled all around the world. Would have made a stunning diplomat herself, probably. But got tapped by the powers. [...]

My question is not why did Michiko and Masako have nervous breakdowns. My question is how come everybody else hasn’t.

I could get killed for writing this. I’m counting on my small potatoes outsider status to protect me. The mayor of Nagasaki got stabbed, but he did call Hirohito a war criminal; I’m just saying I think Aiko is a cutie and I’m fond of her daddy. Leave me alone, fellahs.
For those who are interested, here are two summaries of Masako´s story, including how she got ill:

Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne – this is perhaps one of the most depressing books I’ve read.

Princess Masako of Japan Mentally Ill

and here is an article that was published shortly after Crown Prince Naruhito had publicly complained about how his wife had been treated:

Invisible Japan princess dominates media
Quote:
[...]"Is Princess Aiko autistic?" screamed the headline of Shukan Jyosei, a weekly tabloid magazine geared towards middle-aged women. The article quoted a number of die-hard royalty-watching housewives who followed members of the imperial household whenever they stepped outside the palace grounds. One woman said that she never saw the two-year-old princess cry or smile, and so-called experts quoted in the article suggested that that was one symptom of autism. [...]

Media speculation has ranged from Princess Masako seeking a divorce from her husband, to her having tried to commit suicide. While such extreme scenarios are seen as unlikely by most, it is clear that the fact she is not at all visible is making gossip columnists imagine increasingly worrisome scenarios. [...]

Nevertheless, there has only been renewed respect for the Crown Prince's decision to go public with his frustration about mounting pressure towards his wife, as he said at a press conference earlier in the year that he believed Princess Masako's abilities as well as her personality were being criticized by outsiders.
"It was a gutsy thing to do," said Kiyoko Matsuzaka, a self-professed royalty fan. "But in the end, it just goes to show you that even the prince can't do much to support his wife against such a big, unmoving system," she added. [...]

But as Princess Masako continues to shy away from the limelight, her plight is clearly winning the sympathy of many women of her generation.
"I feel so sorry for her. It's not her fault ... the imperial family represents Japan, and they are there at scenes of crises like earthquakes and things. I think we all want to support Masako at a time when she is obviously so unhappy," Matsuzaka said.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:16 AM
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Wonder if the court still has his wife under lock and key? She is rarely out with him and always looks so sad even with that smile which never reaches the eyes. I think she must be a prisoner in that palace with no chance of escaping because she so loves her daughter and won't leave her there to be subjected to that court. Once she is Empress maybe things will change for her and her family.
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