Norway’s Aging King, Harald V, Is On Sick Leave Because Of A Respiratory Infection

FILE - King Harald V of Norway leaves the Notre Dame cathedral after attending at the funeral of the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, in Luxembourg, on May 4, 2019. Norway’s aging king, Harald V, is on sick leave until Feb. 2 “due to a respiratory infection,” the Norwegian palace said in a brief statement Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. The 86-year-old monarch who repeatedly has said that he unlike his second cousin Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has no plans to abdicate, has been hospitalized several times in recent months. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)
FILE - King Harald V of Norway leaves the Notre Dame cathedral after attending at the funeral of the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, in Luxembourg, on May 4, 2019. Norway’s aging king, Harald V, is on sick leave until Feb. 2 “due to a respiratory infection,” the Norwegian palace said in a brief statement Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. The 86-year-old monarch who repeatedly has said that he unlike his second cousin Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has no plans to abdicate, has been hospitalized several times in recent months. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)
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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway’s aging king, Harald V, is on sick leave until Feb. 2 because of a respiratory infection, the Norwegian palace said in a brief statement Wednesday.

The 86-year-old monarch, who has repeatedly said he has no plans to abdicate unlike his second cousin Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, has been hospitalized several times in recent months. In December, he was admitted to a hospital with an infection and was treated with intravenous antibiotics. He also was hospitalized last August with a fever.

Harald, who has been seen using crutches in recent years, had an operation to replace a heart valve in October 2020 after being hospitalized with breathing difficulties.

The heir to the throne, Crown Prince Haakon, has stepped in and taken over his father’s duties, the royal household said.

Harald’s duties as Norway’s head of state are ceremonial and he holds no political power. He ascended to the throne following the death of his father, King Olav, in 1991.