The King of Norway had strong statement when asked about if he'd step down
On Tuesday, the King of Norway, 86, said he would not abdicate when questioned by the press during a visit to Faktisk.no, a nonprofit fact-checking website. According to VG, the question came up following Queen Margrethe of Denmark's shocking abdication on Jan. 14.
“No, I don't really have it. I stand by what I have said all along. I have taken an oath to the Storting, and it lasts for life,” King Harald said, referring to the promise he made to the Norwegian Parliament when he acceded the throne in 1991.
Harald became monarch at age 53 upon the death of his father, King Olav, in January 1991. Harald had time to prepare, as he had been acting as Crown Prince Regent since his father became ill in the spring of 1990, his royal bio states.
King Harald has faced several health issues in recent years and spent time in the hospital to treat an infection last May, but the steely nature of his latest statement signals that he doesn't plan to step down any time soon.
King Harald visited Faktisk.no at the Norwegian Press Association in Oslo with his son, Crown Prince Haakon, who is heir to the throne.
VG reported that the father and son “burst out laughing” when King Harald was asked if he had any tips for his granddaughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 20, who began her year-long military training at the Engineer Battalion in Indre Troms last week. Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the eldest child of Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and she follows her father in the line of succession.
“Don't ask too much about why,” the King said about the advice he’d give his granddaughter, the outlet said. “You get a lot of orders that you don't understand the point of, and then you shouldn't ask why, just do it. In the long run, you get much further with it in the military, compared to if you are in the opposition.”
It’s customary in Norway for those expected to become monarchs to complete military training to get acquainted with various branches and prepare for the destiny ahead, and King Harald graduated from the Norwegian Military Academy in 1959.
Elsewhere in Europe, Queen Margrethe made history when she abdicated on the 52nd anniversary of her accession and her eldest son became King Frederik X. The Queen announced her plans on New Year's Eve and became the first Danish monarch to voluntarily step down from the throne in nearly 900 years on Jan. 14.
The change of reign was made official through a Council of State meeting. The following balcony proclamation at Christiansborg Palace was a much lower-key affair than the coronation of King Charles in May 2023, and royals from around the world did not travel in to attend as they did for King Charles’ crowning.
The Scandinavian royal families are extremely close in both their royal duties and their personal connections, however, and King Harald sent King Frederik and his wife, the new Queen Mary, a warm message in honor of the accession.
“My family and I wish to convey our warmest congratulations to you as Denmark’s new King and Queen. You are succeeding a monarch who has fulfilled her function with exceptional commitment. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe has followed her country and her people through times of joy and sorrow with warmth, wisdom and dedication,” King Harald wrote in part.
“For more than 50 years she has devoted herself to Denmark – with infectious humor accompanied by deep insight and knowledge," he continued. "And with the staunch support of her immediate family. The close friendship between our two families means a great deal to all of us.”
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“Now it is your turn to carry the legacy forward, and follow Denmark into a new age. I am confident that you will flourish in your new role,” he concluded, “My family and I hope and pray that you will be given the strength and support that you need to carry out your calling.”
The King of Norway signed off as “Harald R,” using the regnal signature unique to kings and queens (the “R” standing for "rex" for king or "regina" for queen in Latin) that King Frederik has already adopted.
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