Harald V of Norway

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Harald V, King of Norway (Photo from the October 2003 State Visit to Brazil).
Harald V, King of Norway (Photo from the October 2003 State Visit to Brazil).

Harald V, styled His Majesty The King (born February 21, 1937), acceded to the throne as Norwegian Monarch on January 17, 1991. The son of the then Crown Prince Olav and of Princess Märtha of Sweden, Harald was born at the Crown Prince Residence at Skaugum, Asker, near Oslo.

Harald was the first Norwegian-born prince since the birth of Olav IV in 1370. As he is a descendant of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, he is also in the line of succession to the British throne (currently placed 60th). As King of Norway, Harald is the head of the Church of Norway.

King Harald has two sisters, Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen (born 1930), living in Brazil, and Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner (born 1932), living in Oslo.


Childhood and education

Norwegian Royal Family

After the royal family fled the German invasion of 1940, Harald and his mother and sisters lived in Washington, DC during World War II (his father Olav and grandfather King Haakon residing in London with the exiled government). Prince Harald returned to Norway along with his family at the war's end in 1945.

In the autumn of 1955 Harald began studies at the University of Oslo. Later he enrolled at the Norwegian Military Academy, graduating in 1959. In 1960 he entered Balliol College, Oxford where he studied history and economics.

Adult life

Harald married a commoner, Sonja Haraldsen, in 1968, a marriage which sparked much public controversy. The couple have two children, Princess Märtha Louise and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon, heir to the Norwegian throne.

An avid sailor, Harald represented Norway in the yachting events in the Olympic Games several times during his Crown Prince years, and carried the Norwegian flag at the opening parade of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. With his sailing crew he won World Championship bronze, silver and gold medals, in 1988, 1982, and 1987, respectively. In July 2005, the King and his crew aboard the royal sailboat Fram XV won the gold medal at the European Championships in Sweden.

Twice during recent years King Harald has been in absence as ruler owing to hospitalization and reconvalescence: in December 2003 to mid-April 2004 due to urinary bladder cancer, and in April to early June of 2005 due to aortic stenosis (for details see "The King's health", below). Crown Prince Haakon served as the country's regent on both occations.

Positions as King of Norway and honorary titles

As king of Norway

Styles of
King Harald V of Norway
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

The King is the nominal head of the Church of Norway.

He is a Four-star General, an Admiral and the Supreme Commander of the Norwegian Armed Forces. His Majesty the King's Guard are considered the King's lifeguards, they guard the Royal residences including the Royal Palace and the Royal Mausoleum at Akershus Castle.

Honorary titles

In the British Army, the King is the current Colonel-in-Chief of The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales' Own Yorkshire Regiment).

The King is a Knight of the Garter, and is The Grand Master of the Order of St. Olav.

The King's health

On 1 December 2003 King Harald was announced to be suffering from cancer of the bladder. A successful operation took place on December 8 at Norway's National Hospital, Rikshospitalet, in Oslo: his bladder was removed and a new one constructed. The King was then on sick leave from all official duties. Crown Prince Haakon was Norway's regent during King Harald's illness and convalescence. The King resumed his duties on April 13, 2004.

The King and Queen, greeted by Laura and George W. Bush at the White House during the March 2005 State Visit to the U.S. Upon returning to Norway, the King underwent heart surgery.
The King and Queen, greeted by Laura and George W. Bush at the White House during the March 2005 State Visit to the U.S. Upon returning to Norway, the King underwent heart surgery.

The King was once known to be a chain-smoker, but quit that habit entirely when he was diagnosed with cancer.

On 1 April 2005 Harald underwent successful heart surgery, an aortic valve replacement, correcting his aortic stenosis. It had been known for some time that he had this condition; however, until early 2005 it had only been of a moderate degree. During the three-hour operation at Rikshospitalet the doctors also performed a coronary bypass procedure on the King. On 10 April it was announced that the King had also undergone a pericardiocentesis to treat a complication of surgery, a pericardial effusion (an accumulation of fluid around the heart).

After the two operations in the spring of 2005 King Harald remained on sick leave for almost two months, Crown Prince Haakon again substituting as the country's regent. The King returned to work on 7 June, a date which carried particular significance in 2005, with Norway celebrating the centennial of the dissolution of the 1814–1905 union with Sweden. The King recuperated well enough to win the European Championships in ocean sailing just three months after his latest operation.

External links

Preceded by:
Olav V
King of Norway
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Amelia Mary Carnegie Etherington
Line of Succession to the British throne
Succeeded by:
HRH Crown Prince Haakon
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