King Harald of Norway puts illness behind him as he announces visit to Jordan

The King and his wife Queen Sonja will meet King Abdullah and Queen Rania

King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway have accepted an invitation from King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan to pay a state visit in 2020. The news comes as King Harald resumed his duties following a two-week period of sick leave. The Norwegian royals will visit Jordan from 2 to 4 March, marking King Harald's first state visit to the Middle East. It's also been 20 years since King Abdullah and Queen Rania travelled to Norway in an official capacity.

Norway's royal court says the state visit will begin with the country's capital city Amman, where the official welcoming ceremony will take place. It adds that the visit will provide "an opportunity to explore new prospects for business cooperation between Norwegian and Jordanian partners." Highlights of the trip will also include a visit to a girls' school in the city of Salt and the ancient city of Petra.

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King Abdullah and Queen Rania in Norway in 2000

On Thursday, King Harald hosted a lunch for members of the Supreme Court at the Royal Palace, where he was accompanied by his son and heir to Norway's throne, Crown Prince Haakon. The 46-year-old was acting as regent of Norway while his father recovered from his illness. The crown prince was among the European royals in attendance to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on Monday. He was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, as well as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

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King Harald ascended Norway's throne in January 1991 after the death of his father King Olav V. He married Sonja in 1968 and the pair have two children – Princess Martha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon. 

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