4 March 2024

Norway: King Harald is back in Norway

Just before 11 p.m. yesterday the medical plane which transported King Harald from Langkawi, Malaysia to Norway landed at Oslo Airport Gardermoen. The king was then driven to the National Hospital (Rikshospitalet) in Oslo where he was admitted for further examinations. He was going to stay at the hospital for treatment and rest. Queen Sonja who was also on the plane was taken back to the Royal Palace. According to the press statement which was issued just after the king had arrived, "The transportation went well, and His Majesty’s health is improving."

The Norwegian Armed Forces also produced a press release, informing among others that the medical plane had a medical team consisting of a team leader, two anaesthetists, a nurse anesthetist and two intensive care nurses on board to assist the king.

Today the Royal Palace issued yet another update on the king's health situation:

Update on The King's health situation

His Majesty The King, as informed in recent days, has been suffering from an infection and low heart rate, requiring hospitalization and medical transportation home.

The infection has recently become more under control. His Majesty has a low heart rate and will require a permanent pacemaker.

The timing of the pacemaker implantation will be determined by when His Majesty is completely free from infection. This could take several days, so The King is likely to remain at Rikshospitalet until after the weekend.

Overall, his condition is stable and improving.

04.03.2024

According to Norwegian media, the king has received visits from his nearest family today, including the queen, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Princess Märtha Louise and later in the day also the Crown Prince Regent.

Earlier articles on the King's hospitalisation in Malaysia:

3 March 2024

Norway: King Harald on his way home

Just after 5 a.m. today the Norwegian Royal Court issued a statement informing that King Harald was going home today.

Medical transportation of His Majesty The King

His Majesty The King will soon be on his way to Langkawi Airport for medical transportation. Her Majesty The Queen will accompany His Majesty.

Upon arrival in Norway, His Majesty will be admitted to the hospital Rikshospitalet.

His Majesty will be on sick leave for two weeks. During this period, His Royal Highness The Crown Prince will act as regent and assume His Majesty The King's constitutional duties.

03.03.2024

According to VG.no the king left the hospital in an ambulance at 05:25 Norwegian time (12:25 in Langkawi, Malaysia). The medical plane took off just after 6 a.m. (1 p.m.) and will make a short stop in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates before landing at Oslo Airport Gardermoen around midnight Norwegian time. The king will then be transported to the National Hospital, a department of Oslo University Hospital. The king will be on sick leave for two weeks, meaning that he will return to his duties on Monday 18 March if his health allows it. In the meantime Crown Prince Haakon will continue to serve as regent.

Earlier articles on the King's hospitalisation in Malaysia:

2 March 2024

United Kingdom: Inquest into the death of Thomas Kingston

A inquest into the death of Tom Kingston, who was found dead on Sunday 25 February 2024, was opened on Friday 1 March 2024 at Gloucestershire Coroners Court in Gloucester. In the inquest the senior coroner informed that Mr. Kingston was found dead in an outbuilding on the property of his parents in the Cotswolds "with a catastrophic head injury" with a gun "present at the scene"".

Tom Kingston (full name Thomas Henry Robin Kingston), b. 1978, was married to Lady Gabriella Kingston, née Windsor, b. 1981, a daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and thus a second cousin to King Charles III.

Sources (see links): BBC News and GloucestershireLive.

Norway: Update on King Harald's health situation – temporary pacemaker implanted

Yesterday the Norwegian Royal Court issued another update on King Harald's health situation:

Update on His Majesty King Harald's health situation

His Majesty The King´s health is still improving. His Majesty will remain at the hospital for a few more days for treatment and rest before returning home to Norway.

01.03.2024 

Today the court could reveal that the king has had a temporary pacemaker implanted:

Update on His Majesty King Harald's health situation

His Majesty The King had a temporary pacemaker implanted today at Hospital Sultanah Maliha in Langkawi. 

–  The pacemaker was implanted due to a low heart rate. The decision was made earlier today, and the procedure was successful. His Majesty is doing well under the circumstances but still requires rest. The procedure will make the return back home safer, according to His Majesty The King's personal physician, Bjørn Bendz. 

The medical transportation to Norway is likely to take place within the next couple of days. 

02.03.2024

The last statement sounds a bit more dramatic than earlier statements which has mainly dealt with the king fallen ill with an infection. But I continue to believe that the king is taken well care of and that he just needs some time to get better again. I suspect, however, that the king will not be able to preside over the Council of State coming Friday as planned, even if he will return home within the next couple of days. He might be on sick leave for a while. We will surely get more information in due course.

Meanwhile the king's health situation, his vacation and the transportation home has been among the topics in the general and social media the last days. First of all, as I have already commented earlier, I don't think the king would have traveled to Malaysia if his health had not allowed it. He was just a bit unlucky that he got ill while on vacation. He should be allowed to go on vacation as everyone else, even if he is 87 years old. 

The media has also covered the flight of the medical plane which has already landed at the Langkawi International Airport. The transportation is said to cost above NOK 2 millions (as of today about 189.222 USD). The expenses will be covered by the defense budget. Of course this is a lot of money, but we are talking about the head of state here, and this is is the most efficient, secure and comfortable way of getting him home. It should not be a discussion about the form of government. A Norwegian president (God forbid!) fallen ill while on vacation would surely also be transported home the same way to make it possible for him or her to resume governing (just as in case of a monarch to resume reigning) as soon as possible.

Earlier articles on the King's hospitalisation in Malaysia:

29 February 2024

Norway: A new update on King Harald's health situation

The Norwegian Royal Court has today issued yet another update on King Harald's health situation:

Update on His Majesty King Harald's health situation

His Majesty The King's personal physician reports that His Majesty is improving. King Harald is still undergoing treatment at the hospital.

As reported yesterday, His Majesty will remain at the hospital for a few more days, and he is being well taken care of there.

The aim is for His Majesty to be able to return to Norway by plane in a few days. The Norwegian Government is facilitating the transportation, and the Norwegian Armed Forces are responsible for the practical arrangements for his return to Norway.

29.02.2024

In other words, the king seems to be doing better and the court is now, with the assistance of the government and the Norwegian Armed Forces, preparing to getting the king home to Norway. It is somewhat worrisome that he is not coming home on an ordinary flight, but given the situation it is understandable that the government will provide a more comfortable transportation for him. We can rest assured that the king is in good hands and just hope that he will get a speedy recovery.

Earlier articles concerning King Harald's hospitalisation in Malaysia:

28 February 2024

Norway: Update on King Harald's health situation

Following the news yesterday that King Harald had been admitted to hospital during his vacation in Malaysia, the Norwegian Royal Court issued a new statement today:

Update on His Majesty King Harald´s health situation

His Majesty 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.

His Majesty will remain at the hospital for a few more days. No decision has been made regarding his return home. The Norwegian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has offered practical assistance during the visit.

The official program for the rest of the Royal Family continues as planned.

The king's personal physician is Bjørn Bendz, b. 1964, who took over the position after Otto Smiseth in 2020. Bendz is a professor in medicine and in charge of the Heart, Lung and Vascular Clinic at Rikshospitalet (the National Hospital), which is a part of Oslo University Hospital.

The king is on vacation in Langkawi in Malaysia together with Queen Sonja. As the press statement says, no decision has been made regarding the king's return home, but as I mentioned yesterday the official program says that the Crown Prince will serve as Regent for another week and that the king has planned to preside over the Council of State on Friday 8 March. We just have to wait and see if changes to the program of official engagements will be made. 

Crown Prince Haakon said to the press today that he had talked with his parents, that his impression was that the king's health situation had improved and that he was in good hands. 

King Harald celebrated his 87th birthday last week, so it is natural that necessary precautions are taken when he has fallen ill. Some people has criticized the king for traveling, but even though he has had periods of sick leave in the last few years I don't think he would have traveled if his health had been at risk. He could easily have fallen ill while in Norway as well.

27 February 2024

United Kingdom: Thomas Kingston, husband of Lady Gabriella Kingston, found dead

Buckingham Palace issued tonight a statement on behalf of Lady Gabriella Kingston, Martin and Jill Kingston, Joanna Connolly and Emma Murray, informing of the death of Thomas Kingston.

It is with the deepest sorrow that we announce the death of Thomas Kingston, our beloved husband, son and brother. Tom was an exceptional man who lit up the lives of all who knew him. His death has come as a great shock to the whole family and we ask you to respect our privacy as we mourn his passing.
According to BBC News, Mr. Kingston was found dead at an address in Gloucestershire on Sunday evening, 25 February 2024. "There were no suspicious circumstances and no one else was involved", BBC News writes.

Gabriella, b. 1981, is the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and thus a second cousin to King Charles. She married the financier Thomas Kingston, b. 1978, at St. George's Chapel, Windsor on 18 May 2019. The couple had no children. Thomas was the son of William Martin Kingston and Jill Mary Kingston, née Bache, and had two sisters, Joanna and Emma.

Updated on Wednesday 28 February 2024 at 07:40 ("on Sunday morning" corrected to "on Sunday evening").