Royal Hospitalized While Traveling Abroad

Norway's King Harald V, 87, was hospitalized with an infection while on a private trip.

King Harald V of Norway has been hospitalized in Malaysia. The 87-year-old monarch was admitted to the hospital after contracting an infection during his private trip to the Southeast Asian country, the Norwegian royal house said in a statement Tuesday. As he continues to recover, the King's son, Crown Prince Haakon, will carry out his engagements at home.

"His Majesty the King has fallen ill during his holiday stay in Malaysia, and is hospitalized there, with an infection. The king receives good care from both Malaysian and Norwegian medical personnel," the statement read. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said he was "sad" to hear of the king's hospitalization and wished the royal a "speedy recovery," Norwegian news agency NTB said, per the Associated Press.

Norwegian King Harald V and Queen Sonja Visit Chile – Day 2
(Photo: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

Harald, who acceded the throne in January 1991 at the age of 53 and who is Europe's oldest living monarch, has faced numerous health crisis in recent years. After undergoing surgery for bladder cancer in 2003, Harald had another operation in 2005 for heart valve problems. In January 2022, the royal underwent a leg operation and was later hospitalized for infections in May, August, and December of that year, during which he also tested positive for COVID-19, per PEOPLE. In late January 2024, Harald was forced to cancel several engagement due to a respiratory illness, with the Norwegian royal household announcing earlier in February that the monarch's "sick leave is extended."

Despite his ongoing health troubles, Harald has vowed not to abdicate the throne. Asked by the press during a January visit, a nonprofit fact-checking website, whether or not he planned to step down, Harald said, per VG, "no, I don't really have it. I stand by what I have said all along. I have taken an oath to the Storting, and it lasts for life." The question came amid Queen Margrethe of Denmark'sabdication on Jan. 14.

Harald has been Norway's ceremonial head of state since 199, when he became monarch following the death of his father, King Olav. Prior to his ascension, Harald had been acting as Crown Prince Regent since his father became ill in the spring of 1990, per his royal biography. After Harald's son, Crown Prince Haakon, next in the line of succession is Harald's granddaughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the eldest child of Haakon and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit. She began her year-long military training at the Engineer Battalion in Indre Troms in January.