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Norway's King Harald Has No Plans to Abdicate

norwegian royals attend military tattoo
Norway's King Harald Has No Plans to AbdicatePer Ole Hagen - Getty Images

Norway's King Harald V will not be joining other monarchs who have abdicated in the 21st century.

"I stick by what I've always said, that I swore an oath to the Storting [parliament] and it is for life," the King said, according to Norwegian media, reiterating what he has previously said on abdication. He made the comments during a visit to the Norwegian Press Association with his son, Prince Haakon.

norwegian royals visit faktiskno
King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23, 2024 in Oslo, Norway.Rune Hellestad - Corbis - Getty Images

Yet, in light of Queen Margrethe's abdication, those statements were clearly being called into question, as Queen Margrethe had famously said that she was in it for life, but obviously changed her mind.

King Harald, 86, is currently Europe's oldest monarch, and has been beset by a number of health issues in recent years. In October 2023, he had COVID for the second time, and in May, he was hospitalized with an infection. When he goes on sick leave, his son, Crown Prince Haakon, has served as regent. He's also been using crutches for the past few years.

norway royals
The Norwegian royals: Crown Prince Haakon, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus, King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Marit Tjessem (Mette-Martit’s mom), and Crown Princess Mette-Marit.HEIKO JUNGE - Getty Images

The Norwegian king ascended to the throne in 1991, and he and his wife, Queen Sonja, have two children: Princess Märtha Louise and Prince Haakon. Märtha is older than her brother, but until 1990, the Norwegian constitution held that only male heirs could inherit. That changed, so Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit's eldest daughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, is currently second in line for the throne behind her father.

Princess Märtha Louise gave up her royal duties in 2022 ahead of her planned wedding this summer to American shaman Durek Verrett.

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