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Why question marks hang over King’s highly anticipated festive speech

Discussions are going on behind closed palace doors over whether the traditional festive address given by King Harald of Norway can go ahead this year after the monarch was admitted to hospital.

King Harald, who is now 85, was taken to the Rikshospitalet in Oslo on December 19th 2022 after developing an infection that needed to be treated with intravenous antibiotics. His condition is stable but he is expected to remain in hospital for several days before returning home to Oslo’s Royal Palace.

He is due to speak to the Norwegian people on New Year’s Eve for his traditional festive address.

Hours after his admission, the head of communications at the Royal Palace in Oslo told NRK that ‘’different options’’ are on the table for the royal festive message.

Guri Varpe said that the palace doesn’t ‘’usually share details about the speech before New Year’s Eve’’ but confirmed that back up plans are being looked at.

This could see King Harald’s wife, Queen Sonja, or his son and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Haakon, deliver the message instead.

This year’s address is highly anticipated as earlier in the year, King Harald confirmed that his only daughter, Princess Martha Louise, will no longer use her title publicly after controversy around some of the business ventures run by her and her fiancé, Durek Verrett.

King Harald had a busy run of engagements in the days before his hospital admission. Earlier in the year, he spent several days in holiday after developing a fever.

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