Norway’s King Harald: “No Plans” to Step Down

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Following the recent decision of Denmark’s monarch to abdicate, spectulation had been high that Norway’s King Harald would follow suit. He’s now confirmed the situation.

Many Royal observers were surprised when Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II used her New Year’s Eve speech to announce her abdication. For many in Denmark, Margrethe was the only monarch they had ever known.

Their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway, pictured in 2021. Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court.
Their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway, pictured in 2021. Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court.

Even more suprising was how smooth and quick the handover was. The streets of Copenhagen were packed with Danes keen to welcome their new King Frederik X just a few weeks after the shock announcement.

In the days following the handover, many in Norway began to speculate if their own monarch would follow suit. Norway’s King Harald V took the throne in 1991 and remains in place at the age of 86.

However, the King’s health has deteriorated in recent years, requiring several hospital stays. As a result, Crown Prince Haakon has stepped up to take on more Royal duties in the past few years.

In many ways, an abdication and handover similar to Denmark would make perfect sense for Norway. However, that’s not going to be the case.

King Harald Confirms He’ll Stay on the Throne

Speaking to press at an event in Oslo last week, King Harald, who required crutches to walk around, said: “No, I stand by what I said all along. I have taken an oath to the Norwegian parliament, and it lasts for life.”

King Harald live on NRK.
King Harald giving his New Year speech live on Norwegian TV. Screenshot from NRK.

Although Harald has been the subject of speculation about his own health for the last few years, it’s believed by many that it’s the health of someone else that’s the driving factor behind his decision.

Harald's son and heir Crown Prince Haakon is married to Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who has experienced a number of health issues in recent years.

The 50-year-old mother-of-three went on sick leave for two weeks in September last year, with no reason given. It was presumed that the time off was linked to the chronic pulmonary fibrosis condition she was diagnosed with in 2018.

Rare in people around the age of 50, pulmonary fibrosis causes breathing difficulties. Symptoms include tiredness, a persistent dry cough and shortness of breath.

At the event, which Harald attended together with his son, Crown Prince Haakon, the press asked a range of questions.

The King also talked of his granddaughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra starting her military service, and the relationship between the press and Durek Verrett, the controversial figure who is engaged to Princess Märtha Louise.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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