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King Harald receives a permanent pacemaker

King Harald has undergone successful surgery to place a permanent pacemaker following a period of infection, the Norwegian Royal Court announced on Tuesday.

The King had been vacationing in Malaysia with Queen Sonja when he fell ill and was taken to a local hospital. His doctors soon flew in to treat him in Malaysia until he was stable enough to be transported back to Norway, where he has been checked into the Rikshospitalet ever since.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, King Harald’s physician Dr. Bjørn Bendz said that the permanent pacemaker was necessary, as the King’s infection had affected his heart.

The King had a successful operation, Dr. Bendz assured the media, and would require a short period of hospitalisation before returning home. “After that, he will probably have to be on sick leave for a while. It probably makes sense that he is on sick leave over Easter,” Dr. Bendz said.

 The Norwegian Royal Court only provided brief updates throughout the day, alerting the press that the King would have the surgery and later that it had been a success.

Dr. Bendz took time to praise the medical team at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital for treating King Harald, noting that “It was a very good health service. I think this case shows that this was handled very well by those at the local hospital.”

The doctor wouldn’t, however, offer speculation on the King’s health prior to his vacation in Malaysia, instead noting that a risk assessment had taken place beforehand and the King was deemed well enough to travel. Though he noted that with this infection and subsequent pacemaker surgeries that for a nearly 90-year-old man, “[an infection] is always serious.”

King Harald fell ill in Malaysia on 27 February and required hospitalisation at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital before he was deemed healthy enough to fly back to Norway for continued treatment. The King arrived back in Oslo on 3 March after a temporary pacemaker had been implanted in Malaysia.

“We would…like to extend a big thank you to the Malaysian authorities and staff at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital in Langkawi. Together with Norwegian health personnel, they did everything they could to ensure that the King would recover well from his illness and be ready for the journey home,” said the King and Queen in a joint statement once he’d returned home.

The Crown Prince Regent has been away on a miliary exercise in Atla, and told reporters that he was happy to hear the surgery had gone well.

Crown Prince Haakon has served as regent since his parents went on vacation and will continue to do so through to Easter, and until after King Harald is approved to return to work.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.