Norway’s Ailing King Celebrates Constitution Day as Thousands of Flag-Waving Children Cheer

Norway’s Ailing King Celebrates Constitution Day as Thousands of Flag-Waving Children Cheer
Norway's King Harald V waves from the balcony at Skaugum, their official residence, on the occasion of Norway's Constitution Day, near Oslo, on May 17, 2023. (Frederik Ringnes/NTB Scanpix via AP)
The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark—Norway’s King Harald V, who was released from a hospital earlier this week, appeared Wednesday on the royal castle’s balcony to salute the thousands of children marching by as the Scandinavian country celebrated its Constitution Day.

Cheering and shouting, waving blue-white-red Norwegian flags, kindergarten and school students marched in front of the royal palace where Harald, 86, and his wife, Queen Sonja, sat and waved back to the vast crowd, many of whom wore traditional costumes.

Elsewhere in Oslo, the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, who was visiting his Norwegian counterpart, stood on another balcony and waved at a cheering flag-waving crowd, saying he hoped that “we as soon as possible can celebrate like this in Ukraine.”

The holiday marks the day the country commemorates the signing of the 1814 Constitution of Norway.

Earlier in the day, Harald’s son and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Haakon, and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, had another march in front of their home,

Harald was released from Oslo’s main hospital on Monday after treatment for an infection.

The aging monarch, who has been seen using crutches in recent years, has been hospitalized several times in recent months. In August, he spent three days with a fever at a hospital and in December, he was also admitted for an infection that required intravenous antibiotics.

In October 2020, the king underwent surgery to replace a heart valve after being hospitalized with breathing difficulties.

The king is Norway’s head of state but holds no political power, so the duties are ceremonial. He ascended to the throne following the death of his father, King Olav, in 1991.