HELSINKI – Norway’s King Harald had a temporary pacemaker implanted Saturday at a hospital on Malaysia’s resort island of Langkawi, where Europe’s oldest monarch was treated for an infection he contracted while on vacation this week, the Norwegian royal household said.

“The pacemaker was implanted due to a low heart rate,” the Norwegian royal household said in a brief statement, adding that the procedure performed at Sultanah Maliha Hospital was successful.

Following the operation, Harald, 87, would likely be transported back to Norway “in the next few days,” the statement said.

“His Majesty is doing well given the circumstances, but still needs rest. The procedure will make the return home safer, according to the king’s personal physician, Bjørn Bendz,” the Oslo palace said.

The royal household said Tuesday that Harald, Europe’s oldest monarch, was hospitalized after falling ill during a private vacation in Langkawi. Norwegian media said Harald traveled to the Malaysian resort island to celebrate his 87th birthday.

Two days before his birthday last week, Norwegian news agency NTB reported that the king would take a private trip abroad with his wife, Queen Sonia, without specifying destination or dates.

A Scandinavian Airlines medevac plane, which took off from Oslo on Thursday, arrived in Langkawi on Friday. Norwegian authorities have not yet confirmed whether the Boeing 737-700 aircraft, which has previously been used as an ambulance, will pick up King Harald.

The Norwegian government is arranging the transport, with the Norwegian Armed Forces making practical arrangements for the king’s return trip, according to the royal household.

The elderly Norwegian monarch has suffered from delicate health in recent years and has been admitted to hospital for treatment on numerous occasions. Harald, who has been seen using crutches, underwent an operation to replace a heart valve in October 2020 after being hospitalized for breathing difficulties.

Harald has repeatedly said he has no plans to abdicate, unlike his second cousin, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who stepped down earlier this year. The heir to the Norwegian throne, Crown Prince Haakon, has generally assumed his father’s duties while he has been hospitalized.

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