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Europe’s oldest monarch, the ailing King Harald V of Norway, gets a permanent pacemaker

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Europe’s oldest monarch, King Harald V of Norway, received a permanent pacemaker on Tuesday, the palace said, adding that the monarch will remain in the hospital for a few days.

The 87-year-old underwent the procedure at Oslo’s university hospital, Rikshospitalet, the royal household said in a brief statement.

“The operation was successful, and the King is doing well,” the palace said.

Last month, Harald fell ill during a private holiday with his wife Queen Sonja on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. He underwent surgery and received a temporary pacemaker due to a low heart rate.

Harald returned to Norway aboard a medical airplane and was immediately transferred to an Oslo hospital.

The king’s doctor, Bjørn Bendz, told a news conference that the king had contracted an undetermined infection in Malaysia.

”We saw that the heart rate was too low, and that is not good in case of an infection. It can affect several organs,” Bendz said. “When people who are almost 90 years old are admitted with an infection, it is always serious.”

Bendz said that the operation went well and lasted an hour.

The monarch has been in frail health in recent years with numerous hospital stays. He had an operation to replace a heart valve in October 2020 after being hospitalized with breathing difficulties.

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.

His 50-year-old son, Crown Prince Haakan, is assuming the monarch’s duties.

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