The empress of Japan has only held her title since May 2019, although she married into the royal family in 1993. And her involvement with the Japanese imperial household has not always been smooth. Read on to find out some things you might not know about the 55-year-old empress. 1. She’s well educated Masako attended Harvard University, where she majored in international economics and graduated magna cum laude. She later received a law degree from The University of Tokyo. Following this, she studied at Oxford’s Balliol College for two years. By this time, she spoke five languages other than Japanese: English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. She had a promising career as a diplomat, which is why she was at first reluctant to join the royal family. 5 things to know about the Thai king’s former royal consort 2. She initially refused a marriage proposal from Naruhito, the now-Emperor of Japan When Naruhito proposed to Masako in October 1992, she turned the then-crown prince down, not wanting to leave her career behind. However, Naruhito later admitted to her that he was unsure whether he could live up to the gravity of his earlier promise to “protect you with all my might for the rest of your life”. This show of honesty and vulnerability won her over, and she accepted his proposal in December 1992. 3. She faced pressure to produce a male heir The Japanese rules of succession state that only a male can ascend the throne. Immediately after her marriage, Masako faced pressure to produce a male heir, and only nine months after her marriage, Japan was swirling with speculation about why she wasn’t pregnant yet. In 1999, she suffered a miscarriage. Finally, after eight years of marriage, she had a baby – a girl. Princess Aiko remains her only child. The world’s 21 richest royals revealed 4. She suffered stress from the conservative royal lifestyle In 2003, the then-princess developed a stress-related illness. The royal household stated that she was suffering from an “adjustment disorder”. Many people attributed it to the gilded cage of royal life and the pressure stemming from the strict rules and inability to travel. Her husband seemed to agree. Naruhito defended her, stating that she had “completely exhausted herself” trying to adjust to an environment that “stifled her career and her personality”. 4 things you should know about Thailand’s Queen Suthida 5. She was barely seen in public for more than a decade – but things have changed After her husband ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019, the empress appears to be blossoming and has resumed public appearances. Experts have said that the new position as empress better allows her to serve her country by letting her carry out the diplomatic duties she has always wanted to perform. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .