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Princess Hisako, the widow of Prince Takamado, resumed her public duties on Saturday and said she will do her best to follow in the footsteps of her late husband.

“I am not sure how far I can emulate the prince, but I will do my best performing my duties so that I can be of use to the nation,” the princess said in an interview.

Three months after the 47-year-old prince suddenly died of heart failure while playing squash, Princess Hisako said the thought still crosses her mind that her husband could still show up at their home.

Prince Takamado’s death has changed the princess’ life entirely. With no time for personal grief, she was left to handle the numerous responsibilities that had once been borne by her husband, a first cousin of Emperor Akihito.

In addition, the princess greeted mourners from all over the world during the official mourning period and sent out replies to several hundred condolence messages.

Recalling the moment when Prince Takamado was lying in the hospital with the couple’s three teenage daughters at his bedside asking him “to wake up,” Princess Hisako said that her mind had told her at that moment that he might, after all, survive.

“Even during a time like this, somewhere in my heart, I believed that the prince was all right. He was really in good health,” the princess said.

She said the condolences she received — including flowers from South Korea, where the couple visited for the 2002 soccer World Cup — were a vivid reminder of the broad range of interests her husband had during his life.

“Once again, I was made to realize the broadness of the prince’s activities and the warmth of his character,” the princess said.

The princess’ three daughters, age 12, 14, and 16, are now back at school and are coming to terms with the death of their father, she said.

If her daughters had been a little older, the princess said, they would have been able to talk more to their father about global issues and also about themselves.

Following their father’s death, the three daughters appear to have become Princess Hisako’s source of strength.

“They care a lot about me these days, about my health, and we have forged a closer bond together,” she said.

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