Among us she is known as the Princess of Smiles, but that twinkling visage is but the tip of the iceberg of very accomplished woman. First off, Princess Hisako shares my birthday, July 10th, which endears her to me immediately. As if she needs any help!
Hisako Tottori was born in 1953 to a wealthy Japanese industrialist, who worked in England for a good portion of Hisako’s childhood. She learned English early, and would develop a love for Great Britain that has been a constant in her life.
She attended Girton College, Cambridge, and received a degree in anthropology and archeology. For a brief period after her undergraduate work she returned to Japan as a translator. She returned to England for graduate legal studies before making her way back to her home country permanently. Once there, she obtained a job as a translator and assistant to Prince Mikasa. The prince was the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito.
She met the Prince’s son, Norihito, in April 1984 and by May they were engaged. They married in December 1984 – so I think whirlwind might insufficient to describe their romance. It all worked, though. They evenually had three daughters, Tsuguko, Noriko and Ayako. From the time of their wedding to Prince Takamado’s early death in 2002, the couple traveled widely in service of the Imperial family.
As a widow, the Princess has continued in her role. She is extremely busy as the cheerful representative of the Imperial family, and as the patron of many organizations, with a focus on wildlife and international relations. You can see her engaging personality through photos. Worldly and well-educated, she is an obvious hit whenever she officially appears at an event.
She is also one of the sparkles in the Imperial crown, sartorially. No where did she sparkle more mightily than at Swedish events – where the Swedish royal family has an obvious affection for her. Since Hisako is often at state and gala events out of the country, she’s the person we often see wearing the Japanese tiaras off the ranch. There are many reasons to be happy to see her. My personal favorite is her way with jewels. Just note the sparkling winged creature she used to secure her sash in the top photo.
For those who wonder how short hair and tiara-wearing can be compatible, Hisako is a shining example of how it all works. One of her go-to tiaras, the Takamado diamond and pearl sparkler, was worn to Princess Madeline of Sweden’s wedding, with great effect. She also has two other tiaras she wears frequently.
Give us your thoughts on Hisako and her sparkling presence!