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Norway’s King Harald V hospitalised in Malaysia with infection

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Norway’s King Harald V, aged 87 and in poor health, is “improving” from an infection that forced him to be hospitalised while on holiday in Malaysia, his office has said.

The king will remain in hospital on the island of Langkawi and it is not yet known when he will return home, the Royal House of Norway said in a statement on Wednesday.

The king’s “personal physician is in Langkawi and confirms that the king is improving from his infection. His majesty is well taken care of at the hospital and is receiving good treatment,” the statement said.

“His majesty will remain at the hospital for a few more days. No decision has been made regarding his return home,” it added.

Europe’s oldest ruling monarch, who turned 87 in February, needs crutches to get around and has suffered from a series of ailments and illnesses in recent years, including heart surgery and various respiratory problems.

He has been repeatedly ill over the past few months. In January, the palace said he was on sick leave until 2 February because of a respiratory infection, just a few days after dismissing speculation that he might abdicate, following the lead of his second cousin, Queen Margrethe II in Denmark.

“I stick by what I’ve always said, that I swore an oath to the Storting [parliament] and it is for life,” said Harald, quoted by Norwegian media.

He was also admitted to hospital with an infection in December and treated with intravenous antibiotics, and hospitalised in August with a fever.

In his absence, Crown Prince Haakon, 50, steps in as regent. The prince told reporters in Norway his father was “in good spirits” and that he had spoken over the phone with his parents on Wednesday.

“It is clear that his age means that it is good to treat this properly. They are very good at the hospital,” Haakon said. “We don’t know when he will come home. We will have to decide on that later.”

The palace in Oslo told NTB news agency there were no plans to alter a planned trip by Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit on Wednesday and Thursday to southern Norway.

Two days before his birthday last week, NTB reported that the king would be undertaking a private trip abroad together with his wife, Queen Sonja, without specifying the destination or dates.

According to the royal house’s calendar, Harald’s first official task after the holiday is scheduled for 8 March, when he and Haakon are due to preside over the state council – a monthly meeting with the government – at the royal palace in Oslo.

Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report

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