OSLO, Feb 28 — Norway’s King Harald appeared to be feeling better today after being hospitalised in Malaysia with an infection earlier this week, the Norwegian crown prince said.

The 87-year-old monarch was on a private trip to the South East Asian country when he fell ill, the royal household said yesterday.

“We spoke to my mother and father this morning... It seems that his health was a little better,” Crown Prince Haakon told reporters.

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He said the king was receiving good care from both Malaysian and Norwegian medical personnel.

“What he needs now is to be in the hospital for a few more days and to get some rest,” Haakon said during a scheduled trip with Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

“It’s good that things are getting better,” he added.

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The sign for Sultanah Maliha Hospital, where Norway's King Harald has been admitted with an infection, is pictured near the entrance of the facility on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi on February 28, 2024. Norway's King Harald, aged 87 and in poor health, was hospitalised with an infection while on holiday in Malaysia, the Royal House of Norway said on February 27. — AFP pic
The sign for Sultanah Maliha Hospital, where Norway's King Harald has been admitted with an infection, is pictured near the entrance of the facility on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi on February 28, 2024. Norway's King Harald, aged 87 and in poor health, was hospitalised with an infection while on holiday in Malaysia, the Royal House of Norway said on February 27. — AFP pic

The crown prince presides in his father’s absence, including at the weekly meeting with the prime minister and the government, which is due to take place on Friday.

King Harald has been Norway’s ceremonial head of state since 1991 and is Europe’s oldest living monarch. He has repeatedly been hospitalised with infections in recent years, and has also undergone heart surgery.

The former heavy smoker had a health scare in 2003 when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and another in 2005 when he underwent heart surgery, but made a full recovery from both and resumed duties within a few months.

In 2020, he underwent surgery to replace the artificial heart valve he received in 2005.

Harald, a popular king and a great, great grandchild of Britain’s Queen Victoria, has dismissed talk of abdicating, insisting that his oath to serve Norway is for life.

Born in 1937, some three decades after Norway won independence from Sweden, Harald was the first heir to the throne to be born in the country in more than half a millennium.

The institution of the monarchy is firmly ensconced, and widely regarded as a symbol of Norway’s sovereignty. — Reuters