Ailing King Harald of Norway returning from Malaysia

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Ailing King Harald of Norway returning from Malaysia
A Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Boeing 737-700 aircraft is seen parked at Langkawi International Airport on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi on March 2, 2024, ahead of the expected departure of Norway's King Harald V who has been hospitalised on the island. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

King Harald of Norway was returning home from Malaysia on Sunday, the royal palace said, after falling ill and spending several days in hospital while on holiday.


The oldest reigning monarch in Europe at 87 years old, Harald contracted an infection while on a trip to the island of Langkawi and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday.

The palace said on Saturday that he had been fitted with a "temporary" pacemaker, which his personal physician said would make his return safer.

On Sunday, the palace said in a statement that Harald would "soon be on his way to Langkawi Airport for medical transportation", and would be joined by the queen.

"Upon arrival in Norway, His Majesty will be admitted to the hospital Rikshospitalet," the statement continued.

"His Majesty will be on sick leave for two weeks."

A medical plane believed to be transporting the king took off from Langkawi on Sunday, after police escorted a convoy that included an ambulance from the hospital to the airport, an AFP journalist saw.


Langkawi air traffic control earlier told AFP that the SAS plane was due to depart on Sunday.

The flight is due to land in Oslo at 2259 GMT, according to specialist website Flightradar.

Harald needs crutches to get around and has suffered a series of health issues in recent years.

In January, he caught a respiratory infection days after dismissing speculation that he might abdicate, following the lead of distant cousin Queen Margrethe II in Denmark.

In his absence, Crown Prince Haakon, 50, has stepped in as regent.





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