The Norwegian magazine Se og Hør today publishes an opinion poll which shows that a surprising 79 % agree entirely or partly with the idea that King Harald should be allowed to abdicate if he wants to retire. 55 % think that there should be a retirement age for kings and about the same percentage agree with the sentiment that Crown Prince Haakon should not be too old before he succeeds to the throne.
Se og Hør is a gossip magazine, but before someone jumps to conclude that the poll therefore cannot be taken seriously it should be pointed out that this is a scientific poll carried out by the serious polling agency YouGov by asking a representative selection of 971 people.
The results can be compared with similar polls in Sweden and Denmark. A Swedish poll earlier this year found that 32 % think King Carl Gustaf should abdicate when he reaches the age of retirement next April, while 50 % think he should remain on the throne.
A Danish poll in connection with Queen Margrethe’s 70th birthday this spring found that only 42.6 % wanted her to remain on the throne until her death, while 23.5 % thought she should use the birthday to abdicate and 22.1 % thought she should do so before she turns 80.
It should be pointed out that the three polls are not fully comparable, as the question in the Norwegian one includes a reservation about the King’s own wishes.
The only kings of Norway to abdicate in modern times were Christian Frederik on 10 October 1814 and Oscar II on 26 October 1905, but both abdications happened because of extraordinary political circumstances.
The photo shows King Harald in the company of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, in whose country abdication seems to have become a tradition, during her state visit to Norway in June.