King Harald calls in sick

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Norway’s Royal Palace confirmed on Thursday that King Harald has been put on sick leave because of what officials described as a “viral infection.” It wasn’t clear whether he’d be able to lead Friday’s weekly Council of State with the government.

King Harald, at the opening of Parliament in October. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

“He is out sick, but he’s doing okay,” his son and regent, Crown Prince Haakon, told state broadcaster NRK. The younger royal said he thought his father would be back on his feet within a few days.

The 82-year-old monarch did not take part in Wednesday’s special Council of State, when Prime Minister Erna Solberg named two new ministers: Sylvi Listhaug as new oil and energy minister and Terje Søviknes as public health minister who’s also in charge of elder care. Such appointments require royal approval, but the crown prince stepped in on King Harald’s behalf.

Asked whether the king’s ailment would upset the royal family’s holiday plans, Crown Prince Haakon told NRK that “we hope not.” King Harald and Queen Sonja are due to have a relatively quiet celebration with their daughter, Princess Martha Louise, at their timber lodge called Kongssetra, not far from Holmenkollen in the hills above Oslo. The crown prince and his family plan to travel to their private cabin in the mountains at Uvdal in Buskerud.

NTB noted that King Harald was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2003 and underwent successful surgery. He’s last known to have had surgery in 2005, in connection with a heart condition, but otherwise hasn’t been reported sick since April of last year, when he took three days off because of a painful foot.

newsinenglish.no staff