Norway’s king given pacemaker in Malaysia

Norway’s king given pacemaker in Malaysia

‘Temporary’ device intended to help make trip home safer

King Harald of Norway attends an event on the royal yacht Norge in Aarhus during an official visit to Denmark in June last year. (Photo: Reuters)
King Harald of Norway attends an event on the royal yacht Norge in Aarhus during an official visit to Denmark in June last year. (Photo: Reuters)

King Harald of Norway had a temporary pacemaker implanted on Saturday at a hospital in Malaysia after falling ill while on holiday there, the Norwegian royal household said.

“The pacemaker was implanted due to a low heart rate. The decision was made earlier today, and the procedure was successful,” the palace said in a statement, adding that he is doing well under the circumstances but still requires rest.

The procedure should make the journey home safer, likely in a couple of days, it said.

The 87-year-old monarch was on a private holiday on the resort island of Langkawi when he fell ill with an infection earlier this week. He is being treated at the Sultanah Maliha hospital on the island.

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.

A medical plane operated by the Scandinavian airline SAS landed in Langkawi on Friday but authorities did not confirm whether it was intended for the king, whose return home is being arranged by the Norwegian government.

Langkawi air traffic control told AFP that the SAS plane was not a scheduled flight and that it was due to depart on Sunday.

In January, King Harald caught a respiratory infection just a few days after dismissing speculation that he might abdicate, following the lead of his distant cousin Queen Margrethe II in Denmark. The job of monarch is “for life”, he has said.

In his absence, Crown Prince Haakon, 50, has stepped in as regent.

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