*** ----> Norway's king returns to work Monday after sick leave | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Norway's king returns to work Monday after sick leave

AFP | Oslo                                                        

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Norway's 87-year-old King Harald, who is in fragile health, will return to work on Monday after a lengthy sick leave, the palace said Friday.

Europe's oldest reigning monarch, Harald contracted an infection while on holiday on the Malaysian island of Langkawi in late February.

He was repatriated on a medical transport flight to Norway, where he was fitted with a permanent pacemaker.

His return to work, which primarily consists of ceremonial functions, has been repeatedly postponed.

But the palace's official calendar indicates that he will be back on the job on Monday, holding audiences with the head of the Norwegian armed forces and two high-ranking officers.

"I can confirm that the king will be back at work on Monday," palace spokeswoman Sara Svanemyr told AFP, providing no other details about the king's health.

Crown Prince Haakon, 50, has stepped in as regent in the king's absence.

Harald, who has been on the throne since 1991, needs crutches to get around and has suffered a series of health issues in recent years.

But he has dismissed speculation that he would follow the lead of his 83-year-old distant cousin Queen Margrethe II in Denmark and abdicate.