King Harald’s heart surgery ‘went well’

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UPDATED: King Harald V was back in the hospital this week after doctors decided that he needed surgery to replace a heart valve. The valve connected to his aorta had been surgically inserted during an operation in 2005, and a new operation on Friday was said to have gone well.

It’s been a rough year for King Harald V, shown here addressing the nation when the Corona crisis first hit the country last March. The monarch has also had to deal with the suicide of his former son-in-law, who was married to Princess Martha Louise, and he’s been plagued by health problems since last winter. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

The 83-year-old monarch was just released from Norway’s national hospital (Rikshospitalet) last week after a bout with respiratory problems. The Corona virus was quickly ruled out but the breathing difficulties raised concerns, and came after another hospital stay in January for dizziness.

King Harald has been on sick leave which was extended last weekend, meaning that he missed the ceremonial opening of Parliament. His son Crown Prince Haakon has been acting as regent in his place, taking over all of the king’s constitutional duties.

The monarch remained under medical observation and was for surgery on Friday. The palace had seemed to downplay the seriousness of the situation, noting that it wouldn’t be open heart surgery but would rather be performed with local anesthetic while the royal patient is awake.

The palace reported on Friday that the surgery went well and that King Harald’s condition was listed as “good.” He was recovering Friday in an intensive care unit at Rikshospitalet and will remain on sick leave through October.

Crown Prince Haakon has been taking over his father’s constitutional duties as regent, like here at the opening of Parliament last week. His mother, Queen Sonja, also attended while King Harald was on sick leave. PHOTO: Stortinget/Peter Mydske

Dr Bjørn Bendz, who’s been attending to the monarch, stated in a press release issued by the palace that King Harald has gone in for regular check-ups since the operation in 2005. The biological valve he’s had is normally good for 10 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced.

“The examinations we’ve performed recently have shown that the surgery is necessary to improve the king’s breathing,” Bendz stated. “This type of surgery is done hundreds of times a year at Rikshospitalet, and the Norwegian surgeons are very experienced.”

The crown prince regent stood in for his father at Thursday’s regular meeting with the foreign minister, which was attended by Queen Sonja as well. Crown Prince Regent Haakon was also taking over diplomatic duties in greeting new ambassadors from Estonia and Spain and was due to conduct the weekly Council of State at the Palace on Friday.

The crown prince regent will also stand in for his father at special services at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on Sunday, to honour the new archbishop of the Norwegian Church. Queen Sonja, also 83, has cancelled her attendance.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund