British Queen celebrates


Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan undertook a nostalgic journey back to their alma mater, the University of Oxford, on June 28th.

The visit held special significance for the imperial couple, who retraced their academic paths at various landmarks within the prestigious institution.

Their itinerary included stops at Balliol College, where Empress Masako pursued studies in International Relations, and Merton College, where Emperor Naruhito engaged in an MLitt program in History. During their time at Oxford, both monarchs cherished profound experiences that shaped their academic and personal growth.

The visit featured meetings with notable figures such as Chancellor Lord Chris Patten and Vice Chancellor Professor Irene Tracey, along with various college masters. Empress Masako was honored with an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law at Convocation House, underscoring her significant contributions and connections to Oxford.

Emperor Naruhito delivered a heartfelt speech during a luncheon hosted by Chancellor Lord Patten, expressing gratitude for the warm reception and reminiscing about their Oxford years. He fondly recalled the blend of hope and apprehension during matriculation, the intellectual rigor of tutorial sessions, and cherished moments spent with friends at Merton's MCR.

Reflecting on the enduring ties between Japan and Oxford, Emperor Naruhito highlighted advancements since his own academic tenure, including the development of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and fruitful collaborations in research fields such as diabetes and financial engineering.

Symbolizing the cultural exchange between Japan and the UK, the imperial couple ceremoniously planted a cherry blossom tree at Merton College, a gesture resonating with Japanese tradition and symbolism.

The private visit to Oxford concluded the Emperor and Empress's UK tour, which included a State Visit by His Majesty The King earlier in the week. Their journey not only celebrated personal milestones but also strengthened bilateral relations and academic partnerships, embodying a commitment to global learning and cultural exchange. Photo by Jonas Magnus Lystad, Wikimedia commons.