King Harald of Norway was quizzed on whether he would ever abdicate following his Danish counterpart Queen Margrethe’s shock decision to step down earlier this month.
Speaking to press on Tuesday at Faktisk.no, a non-profit fact-checking organisation in Oslo, King Harald, who attended the engagement using crutches, said: “No, I stand by what I said all along. I have taken an oath to the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) and it lasts for life.”
The 86-year-old monarch succeeded to the Norwegian throne in January 1991 on the death of his father King Olav V. Like his father and grandfather before him, he adopted the motto, “We give our all for Norway.” Four days later, Harald swore an oath to uphold the constitution in the Storting.
While Harald may not be in the best health – he spent a week in hospital last May after being treated for an infection; he underwent a leg operation in 2022; and he also contracted coronavirus twice during the pandemic – an abdication is looking even more unlikely because of his heir.
Harald’s son and heir apparent Crown Prince Haakon is married to Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who has experienced a number of health issues, herself in recent years.
Mette-Marit, the future Queen Consort of Norway, was notably absent from the royal family’s Christmas portrait session after contracting a mystery illness.
The mother-of-three, 50, also went on sick leave for two weeks in September. It was never confirmed why the Crown Princess needed time away from the royal spotlight, though it was presumed that the leave was linked to chronic pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that causes scarring on the lungs that she was diagnosed with in 2018.
Pulmonary fibrosis can mean that breathing becomes increasingly difficult. The condition is rare among those under 50 and is most common in people over 70. Symptoms include tiredness, a persistent dry cough and shortness of breath.
King Harald’s abdication comments come shortly after Queen Margrethe of Denmark stepped down as monarch on 14 January. Her son Crown Prince Frederik was proclaimed King alongside his wife, the new Queen Mary.