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Norwegian News Agency accidentally reports death of King Harald

Yesterday, the Norwegian News Agency (NTB) accidentally reported in Norway that His Majesty King Harald was dead. The Norwegian News Agency is a Norwegian press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets.

The unfinished text was sent to NTB subscribers at 12 pm Norwegian time; the news agency sent out a new message retracting the previous message only minutes later.

When King Harald was photographed by Royal Central last Monday, he was in good shape, as he usually is. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen.

The message that went out started with this sentence: “Norway is in sorrow. King Harald V is dead, xx years old. The king died xxxx (day / date) (home / hospital) at xxx.”

News editor Ole Kristian Bjellaanes of NTB said this to state television NRK shortly after the mistake was detected: “Unfortunately, this has happened by mistake. Of course, it was not meant to be published. This is probably due to a technical error.” The news editor said that he is very sorry and has sent his apologies to the King and the Norwegian Royal Family.

The Assistant Communications Manager at the Norwegian Palace confirmed to NRK that the King was alive and in good shape.  “We have heard that NTB has sent out a message, and I can confirm that the King is in good shape,” said the Royal Court in a brief comment to NRK.

Although King Harald is 80, he is an active monarch and often on demanding travels and assignments. Here is the King visiting the United States last month. Photo: NATO via NATOs Newsroom

Also, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon confirmed that everything is okay with his father. His Royal Highness said on an official engagement for the Royal Family yesterday, “If someone is worried about the health of the King, I can assure them that the King is in good health.” Royal Central can add to our readers that His Majesty King Harald is currently hunting moose at his cabin in Sikkilsdalen.

This is not the first time a royal has been declared dead by the media incorrectly. Earlier this year, British newspapers spread the news that  Prince Philip was dead.

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