King Harald of Norway’s sick leave, which was due to expire on Monday October 5th 2020, has now been extended. No date for a return to work has been set. This means that Crown Prince Haakon will continue to function as Regent of Norway for the forseeable future and carry out the duties that his father normally takes on.
The news was made public on the afternoon of October 4th 2020, just hours before King Harald’s first expected appearance, by the Royal Court in a short press release.
The message from the Royal Court reads as follows: “His Majesty the King is still under medical investigation and sick leave has been extended. The Crown Prince Regent will lead the Council of State on Monday 5 October.”
There is nothing to suggest that the King’s health has deteriorated. It is believed that his doctors have not found the reason why the King became ill and therefore need to investigate and carry out new tests that may take some time.
King Harald should also have received the Commander of the Norwegian Navy in an audience at the Royal Palace on Monday morning. This task has now been taken over by Crown Prince Regent Haakon. A further update on the King’s health is expected later this week. Their Majesties the King and Queen and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince will reportedly participate when the Church of Norway marks the start of a new church meeting and a new church council with a religious service in Nidaros Cathedral on Sunday this week, October 11th 2020.
On September 25th 2020, it was announced that King Harald had been admitted to hospital in Oslo. The Norwegian Royal Family later confirmed it was because the King was having breathing difficulties. Covid-19 was ruled out after tests and, that Friday evening, the Royal Court released an update on the King’s health. They confirmed that the King was to be in hospital over the weekend and on sick leave until 4 October.
For the first time in 30 years, the solemn and traditional opening of the Norwegian Parliament therefore was made by a Crown Prince and not the King of the nation. In a shortened ceremony, due to the pandemic, Crown Prince Haakon opened the 156th session of the Storting, the Norwegian parliament on Friday October 2nd 2020. Queen Sonja was also present during the ceremony.