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KING HARALD

King Harald of Norway to undergo heart operation

King Harald V of Norway, 83, will undergo a new heart operation on Friday after weeks of respiratory problems unrelated to Covid-19.

King Harald of Norway to undergo heart operation
King Harald. Photo: AFP

The operation, to be conducted under local anaesthetic, is to fix an artificial valve he received during a previous operation in 2005.

The palace said it was “not rare” to fix such valves, which are only expected to last 10 to 15 years.

Harald, a former Olympic yachtsman who has held the throne for 29 years, has refused to abdicate despite several years of ill-health, including an operation for bladder cancer in 2003.

He was also admitted to hospital for three days late last month due to respiratory problems.

“His Majesty the King has undergone regular checks and our last evaluation shows that this operation is necessary to improve the King's breathing,” his doctor Bjørn Bendz said in the palace's statement.

The monarch plays a largely symbolic role in Norwegian society, and Harald's son, 47-year-old prince Haakon, has taken over his functions during the recent period of illness.                              

READ ALSO: Norway's King Harald has sick leave extended

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HOLOCAUST

Italian king’s heir apologises for monarchy’s Holocaust role

A descendant of Italy's wartime King Victor Emmanuel III has apologised to the country's Jewish community for his ancestor's role in dictator Mussolini's racial laws and the Holocaust.

Italian king's heir apologises for monarchy's Holocaust role
An archival picture of the Italian royal family in 1938 . Photo: AFP

“I condemn the 1938 racial laws, all of whose weight I still feel on my shoulders to this day, and with me the whole royal house,” 48-year-old Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy said of his great-grandfather.

Victor Emmanuel III had put his signature to an “unacceptable document”, he added in a letter posted to Facebook, “officially apologising” in the name of his family.

Almost 8,000 Italian Jews were deported from the country and murdered in Nazi extermination camps, most of them in Auschwitz.

Giving a TV interview alongside the letter, Emanuele Filiberto also vaunted his family's positive role in Italian unification and granting of equal rights to Jews from 1848.

Several Italian royals were themselves deported to Nazi concentration camps, he recalled.

After the war, Victor Emmanuel III abdicated in May 1946 and died the following year in Egypt.

His son Humbert II reigned for only a month before leaving for Switzerland when Italians opted for a republican constitution in a referendum.

Parliament only ended a constitutional ban on the House of Savoy's male heirs returning to Italy in 2002, after Emanuele Filiberto and his father Vittorio Emanuele swore loyalty to the republic.

The two men gave up on compensation claims demanding 260 million euros for their family's exile and the return of the royal family's confiscated property after a public outcry.

Emanuele Filiberto is married to French actress Clotilde Courau.

 
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