Japan's Crown Princess Masako has suffered from a stress-related disorder for years, and she admits she's feeling a little nervous about starting her new job as empress in the world's oldest continuous monarchy. In a statement released to mark her 55th birthday, the princess said she is slowly recovering from adjustment disorder and will do her best to serve her country after her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, becomes emperor next year, the BBC reports. "Giving thought to the days ahead, I sometimes feel insecure about the extent to which I will be able to be of service to people," she said. "But I will strive to do my best so that I can contribute to their happiness."
Masako, a former diplomat, has largely stayed out of the public eye in recent years, though she attended an Imperial garden party this year for the first time in 15 years, the Japan Times reports. She will officially become empress on April 30, when 85-year-old Emperor Akihito becomes the first monarch to abdicate from the Chrysanthemum Throne in 200 years. In a separate statement, doctors said Masako's condition is improving, but she will need public understanding and support because she becomes fatigued after royal duties. She "is still on the recovery track and there are ups and downs to her condition," they said. (Another Japanese princess has delayed her marriage to a commoner.)