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Norway's king gets temporary pacemaker in Malaysia

March 2, 2024

Norway's King Harald is "doing well" after receiving a temporary pacemaker implant in Malaysia, the royal house said. The 87-year-old monarch was on vacation on the resort island of Lagkawi.

A vehicle with a diplomatic license plate enters Sultanah Maliha Hospital, where Norway's King Harald has been admitted with an infection, on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi
King Harald has been admitted to Sultanah Maliha Hospital with an infectionImage: MOHD RASFAN/AFP

King Harald of Norway had a temporary pacemaker implanted on Saturday at a hospital on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. Europe's oldest monarch was being treated there for an infection while on vacation this week, the Norwegian royal house said.

"The pacemaker was implanted due to a low heart rate," the palace in Oslo said in a brief statement. It added that the procedure was successful.

Following the operation, 87-year-old Harald is expected to be transported back to Norway "within the next couple of days," the statement said.

"His Majesty is doing well under the circumstances, but still needs rest. The operation will make the return home safer, according to His Majesty the King's personal physician, Bjorn Bendz," the royal house said.

A medical plane operated by Scandinavian airline SAS landed in Langkawi on Friday, although officials never confirmed if it was for the king. The Norwegian government is arranging his return home.

Norway's King Harald during a press conference on the royal yacht Norge in Aarhus, Denmark
King Harald of Norway is Europe's oldest reigning monarchImage: Ritzau Scanpix/Bo Amstrup/REUTERS

Birthday trip gone wrong

Harald, Europe's oldest reigning monarch, was hospitalized after falling ill during a private vacation in Langkawi, the royal house said on Tuesday.

According to Norwegian media reports, Harald was on a trip to the Malaysian resort island for his 87th birthday celebrations. In his absence, 50-year-old Crown Prince Haakon has stepped in as regent.

Harald has been on the Norwegian throne since 1991, when he took over from his father King Olav V. Harald uses crutches and has suffered a number of health problems in recent years. He has undergone heart surgery and suffered from respiratory problems.

The king has recently dismissed speculation that he might follow his distant cousin, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, in abdicating.

dh/dj (AP, AFP, Reuters)