Norway’s King Harald (86) on ‘sick leave’

Henry

Norway’s King Harald (86) will be on sick leave until Friday due to a respiratory infection, the Norwegian palace announced on Wednesday.

Europe’s oldest reigning monarch is in poor health and needs crutches to get around. Harald has experienced numerous health problems in recent years, including heart surgery and various respiratory problems and infections.

The king rejected speculation last week that he might abdicate as his long-sought cousin, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, recently did.

After repeatedly insisting she would never step down, Margrethe Dene stunned when she announced her abdication in her New Year’s Eve speech. Her eldest son, Frederik X, became the King of Denmark soon after.

“I stand by what I have always said, that I took an oath to the Storting (parliament) and it is for life,” Harald told Norwegian media.

The king, who has already been on the throne for 33 years, will be 87 years old on February 21.

In his absence, Crown Prince Haakon (50) was named regent.