Skip to main content

Europe's oldest monarch remains hospitalized on a Malaysian island after falling ill on vacation

A security officer walks outside the Sultanah Maliha Hospital, where King Harald V of Norway is believed to be admitted with an infection, on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi, Malaysia, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Malaysian national news agency Bernama cited unidentified sources as confirming that Europe's oldest monarch was warded at the hospital’s Royal Suite. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) A security officer walks outside the Sultanah Maliha Hospital, where King Harald V of Norway is believed to be admitted with an infection, on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi, Malaysia, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Malaysian national news agency Bernama cited unidentified sources as confirming that Europe's oldest monarch was warded at the hospital’s Royal Suite. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Share
LANGKAWI, Malaysia -

King Harald V of Norway remained hospitalized with an infection on Malaysia's northern resort island of Langkawi on Wednesday as officials said that his condition was improving.

Harald, Europe's oldest monarch at age 87, became ill while he was on vacation. His son, Crown Prince Haakon, said in Norway that his father "is doing better now. Now he needs some rest, so it looks like things are going better."

In a brief statement, the royal household said "the king's personal physician is in Langkawi and confirms that the king is improving from his infection."

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said that "we get worried when our king gets ill and is admitted to hospital, whether in Norway or abroad."

"We should do what we can to contribute to getting the king home as quickly as possible and as healthy as possible," he told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Malaysian national news agency Bernama said that Harald was undergoing treatment at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital in Langkawi. The report cited unnamed sources as saying he was staying in the hospital's Royal Suite.

The hospital declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press. Malaysia's health ministry told the media to wait for a possible statement.

"The king was in good spirits," the heir to the throne said, adding that he had spoken with his parents over the phone on Wednesday.

"It is clear that his age means that it is good to treat this properly. They are very good at the hospital," Haakon told Norwegian reporters. "We don't know when he will come home. We will have to decide on that later." The palace said that "no decision has been made regarding his return home."

On Tuesday, the royal palace in Oslo said that the king was hospitalized with an infection, but didn't provide further details. The palace said that it may send a statement out later Wednesday.

Two days before his birthday last week, Norwegian news agency NTB said that the king would be undertaking a private trip abroad together with his wife Queen Sonja, without specifying the destination or dates.

The monarch, who has been seen using crutches in recent years, has been repeatedly ill in recent months, raising concern about the head of state's health. In January, the palace said he was on sick leave until Feb. 2 because of a respiratory infection.

In December, he was admitted to a hospital with an infection and was treated with intravenous antibiotics. He also was hospitalized last August with a fever.

Still, Harald has repeatedly said he has no plans to abdicate, unlike his second cousin Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who stunned Danes when she announced in a New Year's speech that she was stepping down. Each time the king was reported ill, the 50-year-old Haakon has taken over his duties in line with protocol.

The palace in Oslo told NTB said there were no plans to alter a planned trip by Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit on Wednesday and Thursday to southern Norway.

According to the royal house's calendar, Harald's first official task after the vacation is scheduled for March 8, when he and Haakon are due to preside over the state council -- a monthly meeting with the government -- at the royal palace in Oslo. At those meetings, new legislation is sanctioned by the monarch and also signed by the prime minister, after which it takes effect.

On Jan. 23, Harald said that he stood by the oath he made when he ascended the throne in 1991.

"I maintain what I have said all the time. It lasts for life," he said.

------

Jan M. Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Local Spotlight

'It was surreal': Ontario mother gives birth to son on day of solar eclipse

For many, Monday's total solar eclipse will become a distant memory or collection of photos to scroll through in the years to come. But for Alannah Duarte and her family, they'll be reminded of the rare celestial event every year they celebrate their youngest son's birthday, as he was born on the day of the momentous occasion.