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Monarch Has Pneumonia After Paralyzing Stroke

June 4, 1990

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Norway’s 86-year-old King Olav V, partially paralyzed by a stroke over the weekend, has developed pneumonia, doctors said Monday.

The world’s oldest reigning monarch suffered the stroke Saturday while in the Oslo’s Rikshospitalet. Doctors called his condition ″unsafe.″

Earlier Monday, they said the paralysis of his left side improved slightly but they warned of ″an approaching infection of his lungs.″ A later statement said it was pneumonia.

Well-wishers in Norway, a constitutional monarchy, sent a flood of flowers, telegrams and letters to the popular monarch, often called ″The People’s King,″ said the palace in a statement.

The king formally installs the prime minister and Cabinet but has no real political power.

Churches throughout Norway included prayer for Olav in services Monday.

Crown Prince Harald, in line to succeed Olav, stayed with his father during the weekend. All members of the royal family visited the king Sunday and Monday. His oldest daughter, Princess Ragnhild, flew in from her home in Brazil Monday, despite having influenza.

Olav had been hospitalized last Tuesday for treatment of a mild infection of his pericardium, a membraneous sac surrounding the heart. The stroke came one day after Olav was advised to remain in the hospital for observation through the weekend.

King Olav, who has ruled Norway since 1957, became the world’s oldest reigning monarch when Japan’s Emperor Hirohito died in January last year at age 87.

A 1928 Olympic gold medalist in yatching, King Olav spent his 86th birthday last July sailing in an Oslo regatta aboard his 18-foot sailboat. He last sailed in the Oslo fjord a few weeks ago.

Polls regularly rank Olav as Norway’s best-liked person. About 90 percent of the 4.2 million people in this egalitarian welfare state still favor the monarchy, according to surveys.

Queen Martha, his Swedish-born cousin and wife, died in 1954. He never remarried.

The Norwegian king, born Prince Alexander Edward Christian Fredrik of Denmark, was two years old when Norway left its union with Sweden in 1905 to become an independent monarchy. His father, Danish Prince Carl, took the name King Haakon VII when he was invited to take the Norwegian throne.

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