12 October 2020

King Harald discharged from hospital

The Norwegian Royal Palace announced today that King Harald's condition is good and that he has been discharged from Rikshospitalet (The National Hospital, Oslo University Hospitgal), where he has stayed since last Thursday. He underwent an operation  on Friday 9 October 2020 in order to replace a heart valve. A photo of the king being driven home from the hospital can be found in several online newspapers today, including Aftenposten.no (NTB). The king is expected to resume his duties in November.

11 October 2020

King Harald is doing well after operation

Last Thursday the Royal Palace explained the reason for King Harald of Norway's problems with heavy breathing, which lead to a stay at Rikshospitalet (The National Hospital, which is a division of Oslo University Hospital) from Friday 25 September to Monday 28 September. The press statement said:

His Majesty The King to undergo surgery to replace a heart valve

His Majesty The King is being admitted to Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, to undergo surgery to replace a heart valve. The surgery is scheduled to take place on Friday, 9 October. 

In 2005, the King underwent open heart valve surgery. At that time, the aortic valve was replaced with an artificial biological heart valve. Artificial biological heart valves have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, and therefore it is not uncommon that the intervention must be repeated after some time.

The intervention this time will not be open heart surgery. The King will be awake and the procedure will be carried out under local anaesthesia via the groin.

The procedure will be carried out by the medical team led by the King’s physician, Bjørn Bendz, Head of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet. 

“His Majesty The King has had regular check-ups, and the tests we have been carrying out indicate that this procedure is necessary to improve the King’s breathing. This type of procedure is performed hundreds of times each year at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, and the Norwegian surgeons are extremely experienced,” says the King’s physician, Bjørn Bendz.

Crown Prince Haakon will continue to serve as Regent during the king's extgended sick leave.

After the operation on Friday 9 October, the Royal Palace issued the following statement:
His Majesty The King’s surgery was successful 
His Majesty The King underwent a heart valve replacement at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, today. The operation was a success and the King is in good condition.

The King was awake during the procedure, which was carried out under local anaesthesia via the groin.

The medical team involved was led by the King’s physician, Bjørn Bendz, and included section heads Lars Aaberge and Christian Eek of the Department of Cardiology at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet.

Background
In 2005, His Majesty The King underwent heart valve surgery. At that time, the aortic valve was replaced with an artificial biological heart valve. Artificial biological heart valves have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, and therefore it is not uncommon that the intervention must be repeated after some time.

Recent tests carried out on the King indicated that it was necessary to replace the artificial biological heart valve from 2005 with a new one to improve the King’s breathing.
The Royal Palace promised that updates on the King’s condition would be provided regularly. The king is expected to resume his duties in November.

On Saturday 10 October the Royal Palace reported that the king's condition was good and that he already had made a short walk.

4 October 2020

King Harald's sick leave extended

The Norwegian Royal Court announced today that King Harald's sick leave has been extended as the medical examination continues. The court does not tell for how long the king is expected to be on sick leave.

King Harald was admitted to hospital on Friday 25 September for heavy breathing, but was discharged the following Monday. The original sick leave was to expire today, 4 October. The extension means that Crown Prince Haakon will continue to serve as Regent and will preside over the Council of State at the Royal Palace on Monday 5 October at 2.30 p.m. The Crown Prince Regent will also receive the Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy in audience earlier the same day.

As of now, the official program says that the king will receive the minister of foreign affairs in audience on Thursday 8 October. We just have to wait and see if there will be any more changes in the program next week.

30 September 2020

New Emir of Kuwait, Longest reigns page updated

HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was sworn in as the new Emir of Kuwait today, 30 September 2020, following the death of his half-brother, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the day before. Sabah had reigned since 2006.

I have therefore updated my Longest reigns page tonight. I might update the page soon, as I expect that the new Crown Prince will be designated in a not too distant future. I am not too happy with the way some of the sources are listed on the website, so I might do a make-over at the same time.

King Harald on sick leave, Crown Prince Haakon to open the Storting

Crown Prince Haakon, who serves as Crown Prince Regent while his father, King Harald, is on sick leave, will undertake the formal opening of the 165th session of the Storting – the Norwegian Parliament – on Friday 2 October 2020 at 1 p.m. His mother Queen Sonja will join him for the ceremony.

Many have already pointed out the historic occasion as this Friday it is exactly 30 years since last time a Crown Prince Regent undertook the formal opening and read the speech from the Throne. On 2 October 1990 the then Crown Prince opened the Storting as his father King Olav V had been on sick leave since May that year. And of course, Aftenposten on 3 October 1990 pointed out that the last time a Crown Prince Regent undertook such a task was in 1957 when Olav served as Regent . King Haakon VII died on 21 September later the same year. The Storting sessions were organised differently at the time, so the last time Crown Prince Olav undertook the opening as Regent was on Saturday 12 January 1957. 

King Harald was admitted to Rikshospitalet (The National Hospital) in Oslo early on Friday 25 September. This meant that Crown Prince Haakon as Regent presided over the Council of State at the Royal Palace at 11 a.m. the same day, and Queen Sonja traveled alone to Lillehammer to attend the completion of Tuengen allé 1 B – the queen's childhood home – at Maihaugen Open-Air Museum. The Royal Palace informed that the king had been admitted to hospital for heavy breathing, but added that Covid-19 was already ruled out, and that king underwent a medical examination. Later the same day the public was informed that the king's health was improving while the examination continued. He was to be on sick leave until 4 October. King Harald was discharged from hospital on Monday 28 September while the hospital continued to review the king's condition.

According to the official website, King Harald will have his first public engagement on Monday 5 October when he will grant the Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy, Counter admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, an audience. Crown Prince Haakon will also be in attendance.

Updated on 4 October 2020 at 20.00 (I had written Tuesday 5 October instead of Monday 5 October in the last paragraph).

Grave of Ari Behn, Our Saviour's Cemetery, Oslo, Norway

 © 2020 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth

The author Ari Behn, former husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, died on 25 December 2019, 47 years old. The funeral service took place at Oslo domkirke (Oslo Cathedral) on 3 January 2020

Due to the pandemic, the urn interment at Vår Frelsers gravlund (Our Saviour's Cemetery) in Oslo was postponed. The family finally decided to have a private interment ceremony on 30 September 2020, which would have been Ari Behn's 48th birthday.

On the headstone one can find his name, birth and death date and signature engraved, besides the text «Du er høyt elsket av alle» («You are much beloved by everyone»). 

5 September 2020

Norway: Prince Sverre Magnus' confirmation

The confirmation of Prince Sverre Magnus took place in Asker Church at 4 p.m. today. Vicar Karoline Astrup, curate Marita Elvemo Sivertsen, who delivered the sermon, and congregation educator Liv-Iren Westnes, performed the ceremony. The preses of the Church of Norway, Bishop Olav Fykse Tveit, was also present. 

This was the fourth and last confirmation ceremony this Saturday. Due to the pandemic the number of confirmants and guests was reduced, so Prince Sverre Magnus – called Magnus only among family and friends – was one of 10 youths being confirmed. King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Marius Borg Høiby, his partner Juliane Snekkestad, Princess Märtha Louise, Leah Isadora Behn (cousin), Marit Tjessem (grandmother), Per Høiby (uncle), Kristin Høiby (aunt), Julia Høiby (cousin), Espen Høiby (uncle), Bjørn Stensland and Marianne Gjellestad  (the latter two are friends of the Crown Prince couple) were present. 

Sponsors at the christening in 2006 were Queen Sonja, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Rosario Nadal (formerly Princess of Bulgaria, Princess of Preslav), Espen Høiby, Bjørn Andersen-Steinsland and Marianne Gjellestad. As mentioned earlier, due to the pandemic and the current travel restrictions, the foreign sponsors were not able to attend, as they would have to go into quarantine for ten days upon arrival in Norway. 

The ceremony was broadcast on Norwegian TV. It was a nice and traditional ceremony, despite the limitations, an the soloist, Beate Løvås Solem, made a great impression with her beautiful voice. Prince Sverre Magnus was marked by the gravity of the occasion, he had a very serious and consentrated look, but gave a great smile when he came out of the church.

After the ceremony Prince Sverre Magnus and his guests drove to the Skaugum estate nearby for a private dinner. The official website has published photos from the ceremony. Photos taken at Skaugum can be found here. According to the official website (see the latter link), Prince Sverre Magnus received several gifts from the official Norway. From the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) the Prince received a canoe, oars and a flotation device. The government and Asker municipality gave works of art by Morten Andenæs and Magne Furuholmen (of Aha fame) respectively. The Supreme Court gave the prince a surfboard and a book about the Supreme Court, the Church of Norway gave a bible in the new translation from 2011, while the county governors gave a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad.