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King Harald of Norway Says He Won't Abdicate Like Queen Margrethe of Denmark: 'It Lasts for Life'

The King of Norway had strong statement when asked about if he'd step down

<p>Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Getty</p> King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23, 2024

Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Getty

King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23, 2024

King Harald of Norway has no plans to abdicate the throne like his Danish counterpart, Queen Margrethe.

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.

<p>Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Getty</p> King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23.

Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Getty

King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23.

Related: Meet Norway's Royal Family: All About the 1,000-Year-Old Monarchy

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.

<p>Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Getty</p> King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23.

Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Getty

King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon visit Faktisk.no at Norwegian Press Association on January 23.

“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.

<p>HAKON MOSVOLD LARSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty</p> King Harald makes a speech during Princess Ingrid Alexandra's 18th birthday gala in January 2022.

HAKON MOSVOLD LARSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty

King Harald makes a speech during Princess Ingrid Alexandra's 18th birthday gala in January 2022.

Related: King Frederik and Queen Mary of Denmark Make First Appearance as Monarch and Queen Consort

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.

<p>MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty </p> Queen Margrethe signs a declaration of abdication as Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark becomes King Frederik X of Denmark and Prince Christian of Denmark watches on during the Council of State at the Christiansborg Palace on January 14.

MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty

Queen Margrethe signs a declaration of abdication as Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark becomes King Frederik X of Denmark and Prince Christian of Denmark watches on during the Council of State at the Christiansborg Palace on January 14.

“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.”

<p>Patrick van Katwijk/Getty</p> King Frederik X of Denmark and Queen Mary of Denmark stand on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace shortly after the proclamation on January 14.

Patrick van Katwijk/Getty

King Frederik X of Denmark and Queen Mary of Denmark stand on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace shortly after the proclamation on January 14.

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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.

<p>MIKKEL BERG PEDERSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty</p> King Frederik X greets the crowd after a church service at Aarhus Cathedral on January 21.

MIKKEL BERG PEDERSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty

King Frederik X greets the crowd after a church service at Aarhus Cathedral on January 21.

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