King hospitalized, Corona ruled out

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UPDATED: Norway’s 83-year-old monarch, King Harald V, was admitted to the national Rikshospitalet Friday morning with what appeared to be a respiratory ailment. The Royal Palace was quick to announce that the Corona virus, Covid-19, had been ruled out, but the monarch was later put on sick leave until October 4.

King Harald, followed by Crown Prince Haakon, at Thursday’s cremonies on board the royal yacht Norge. PHOTO: Det kongelige hoff/Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen

The king had braved stormy weather yesterday to take part in traditional ceremonies tied to the end of the sailing season for his royal yacht Norge. He and his son, Crown Prince Haakon, thanked the crew for the season, during which the entire royal family was on board for summer holidays in Lofoten instead of traveling abroad during the pandemic.

The monarch later developed what was described as tung pust (breathing difficulties) and was taken by ambulance to the hospital Friday morning. As Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported, though, that’s mainly because King Harald doesn’t have a regular doctor in an office, but rather is always attended to at the national hospital in Oslo. It also treats other members of the Royal Family.

The king’s ailment clearly wasn’t so serious that it prevented Queen Sonja from going ahead with her program for the day, which included a trip north to Lillehammer to attend the official opening of her now-fully restored childhood home, which has been moved to Lillehammer’s open-air Maihaugen museum. The king was supposed to attend with her, but she headed up on her own.

She could later tell reporters in Lillehammer that her husband was doing “very well” and that both he and his doctor were pleased with his progress. “He’ll have some tests and will quickly be back on his feet,” Queen Sonja said after arriving at the museum Friday afternoon.

Crown Prince Haakon took over duties as regent for the weekly Council of State on Friday, when the monarch meets with the government at 11am. With his father off sick next week, the crown prince will also assume his father’s role at the formal opening of Parliament, and read the government’s trontale (literally, the speech from the throne) for the first time. The speech outlines the government’s plans for the year ahead,

Prime Minister Erna Solberg sent the king wishes for a speedy recovery. “As I understand it, this is mostly just a check-up now, so the only thing to do is to say ‘god bedring’ (get well soon), on behalf of the Norwegian people,” Solberg told NRK.

“You can always get scared when an 83-year-old isn’t feeling well, but there are few people who are so well taken care of than the king,” Solberg added.

Hospital officials offered no initial comments on the monarch’s health themselves.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund