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European Royals

The other royal family caught in an unwelcome spotlight after an unexpected health issue

The Royal Family has had to deal with plenty of speculation and questions in the past weeks as The King and the Princess of Wales were both treated in hospital. And their friends and relations in Oslo are experiencing their own issues as the ill health of King Harald led to a situation that caused controversy.

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway has said his family will reflect on the situation that has led to the normally popular royals facing difficult questions. It follows a week which saw his father, King Harald, fall ill while on holiday. He had to be brought home to Oslo in a medical plane. That’s led to criticism from some who felt the king, 87, took an unnecessary risk with his physical wellbeing.

The Norwegian monarch has suffered several bouts of ill health in recent times and has been admitted to hospital for infections that have needed medical intervention.

During a holiday to Malaysia in February, King Harald again contracted an infection and had to be taken to hospital. His heart rate was found to be low and a temporary pacemaker was fitted before he was allowed to board a medical plane, flown specially to Malaysia, for the trip back to Norway.

Now his son and heir, who was already acting as regent because of his father’s holiday, has responded to criticism brought about by the health scare and the need to send a medical flight to bring the king home.

Speaking to reporters during an engagement, the Crown Prince said his father had taken the trip after consulting his doctor and the visit was one he should be allowed to make. He added ‘’at the same time, there are things we need to consider. We have to ask if we did everything correctly in regards giving out information….I think it’s good that we can analyse this ourselves.’’

And he also reflected on his father’s health, saying ‘’he notices the attention…there are many who care about the king and really want him to get well as soon as possible…it is, of course, good to feel that support and care.’’

The heir to the throne fielded another question about his own heir, 20 year old Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who is currently undergoing military training but who was seen visiting her grandfather in his return to Oslo. Crown Prince Haakon said his daughter was ‘’actually already at home…so it worked out well for her to make the hospital visit.’’

King Harald remains at the Rigshospitalet in Oslo where a permanent pacemaker is being fitted. He is expected to continue his recovery there for several days.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.