King Harald V of Norway Receives Temporary Pacemaker in Malaysia

King Harald V of Norway received a temporary pacemaker in Malaysia on Saturday to help him return home, according to the Norwegian Royal House, after contracting an infection while on the trip.

The monarch, 87, had been hospitalized for an infection at a hospital on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, the Royal House said earlier in the week. The decision on Saturday to insert a pacemaker was made because the king had a “low heart rate,” the house said in a statement, calling the procedure “successful.”

The plan was to medically transport the monarch back to Norway in the “next couple of days,” the Royal House said. “His Majesty is doing well under the circumstances but still requires rest,” the statement said. It added that the temporary pacemaker will “make the return home safer,” according to King Harald’s personal physician, Bjørn Bendz, who is with the monarch.

Among the oldest reigning monarchs in the world, King Harald V was crowned in 1991 and is the country’s first native-born king since the 14th century. His reign has coincided with an economic boom in Norway, spurred by oil and gas, and the monarchy showing greater openness to the public. In a contentious decision at the time, in 1968 he married Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner and the daughter of a clothing merchant.

The pair made copious state visits abroad, even as recently as 2020. More recently, however, King Harald has suffered periods of bad health and was at times seen in public using walking aids. He underwent heart surgery in 2020 to replace a valve that he had installed in 2005, and in recent months has also taken sick leave for infections. His son, Crown Prince Haakon, has taken on many of the monarch’s royal duties during his absence.

The king was set to appear at a state council meeting on March 8, according to his public calendar. When his second cousin and the longest-serving monarch in Europe, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, unexpectedly announced her abdication in December, it set off speculation about the king’s future. But he has said he has no plans to follow suit.

“I have taken an oath,” he told reporters in Oslo in January. “It lasts for life.”

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