Bumbershoot, I heard the same praise of Kiko, so I am another one who doesn't subscribe to the "stone cold bitch"-story.
But of course the diplomats I heard it from only see the official side of the people and not the private faces.
In any case the diplomat couple I know said, Kiko was very lovely, very sweet and very warm and seemed quite protective of both Michiko and Masako during the event.
Her daughters were very typical young japanese girls: extremely shy, with those suppressed giggles and the downcast glances.
From afar there are two possible scenarios for the Kiko-Masako-male offspring dilemma:
A) Kiko saw the chance to at least become mother of the emperor, since wife of the emperor was out of the question. And she has been milking the position of vice-crownprincess while her poor sil was too sick to work for all it's worth and enjoying every minute of it
B) When Masako was at the point of total break-down and yet another ill-fated pregnancy might have sent her into the final abyss, Kiko took the heat and provided a relief. Would the grey men have accepted a female succession? Or would they have hunted Masako until she gave out?
I assume, I simply like the second scenario better, and since it does go with the nicer Kiko-image I am going with this one. I somewhat like both Masako and Naruhito and find their struggle so very sad. The idea of their family being there for them, supporting them and having their back is just ...nicer.