Japan's Princess Masako joins family to celebrate Emperor Akihito's 82nd birthday

Princess Masako of Japan was on top form on Wednesday (Dec. 23) as she joined her family to celebrate Emperor Akihito's 82nd birthday.

The princess looked gorgeous in an elegant burgundy outfit complete with an elaborate brooch and a strand of pearls. Even though she continues to struggle with health concerns, Masako looked the most at east she has in years.

With her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, by her side, the princess gave a friendly wave to well-wishers as she marked her father-in-law's big day.

Princess Masako has been recovering from adjustment disorder. Photo: © Getty Images

Masako's attendance at the very public birthday celebrations is yet another indicator that she is gradually making a recovery.

The princess was first diagnosed with a stress-induced adjustment disorder, also known as situational depression, in 2004. Several reports claimed that the royal, who has a daughter Aiko with her husband, felt under pressure to produce a male heir and live a life in the royal spotlight.

The princess was on positive form as she celebrated her father-in-law's 82nd birthday. Photo: © Getty Images

However in the past year Masako has been making every effort to fulfil public duties, while she carries on with her treatment. On the occasion of her 52nd birthday earlier this month, she reflected on her progress.

"Taking care of my health, I have tried to fulfil my public and private duties as much as possible this year," Masako wrote in a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency. "With the help of people around me, I would like to continue making efforts to recover."

In a separate statement her medical team added that Masako has been working hard to be physically fit and to increase her number of engagements.

Masako has made more and more public appearances this year. Photo: © Getty Images

Last month the crown princess attended – for the first time in 12 years – a biannual garden party hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. In the presence of 2,000 guests, Masako mingled with attendees and looked comfortable in her surroundings.

The royal also made an official trip to Tonga in July to attend the coronation of King Tupou VI. The decision for Masako to travel was not made lightly, and it was only after careful consideration and in-depth talks with her doctors that she was given the go-ahead.

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