Norway’s King Harald, Europe’s oldest monarch, is back at work after pacemaker implants

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Europe’s oldest monarch, King Harald V of Norway, returned to work Monday after on a long sick leave following two surgeries to implant pacemakers.

The first scheduled tasks for Harald, 87, is to receive Norwegian military officers at the royal palace in Oslo, according to the Norwegian royal calendar.

In late February, Harald fell ill during a private holiday with his wife Queen Sonja on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. He received a temporary pacemaker there due to a low heart rate on March 2.

Harald returned to Norway aboard a medical airplane and was immediately transferred to a hospital. He underwent a second surgey to receive a permanent pacemaker 10 days later at Oslo’s university hospital.

At first, he was expected to be on sick leave for two weeks, but that was extended several times. During that time, his 50-year-old son, Crown Prince Haakan, has been assuming the king’s duties.

Harald repeatedly has said he has no plans to abdicate, unlike his second cousin Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who stepped down earlier this year.

Harald’s duties as Norway’s head of state are ceremonial and he holds no political power. He ascended to the throne following the death of his father, King Olav, in 1991.

The Associated Press