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Danish queen skips Chile trip due to back problems

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February 9, 2013 06:07 AM EST | AP

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The royal palace says Denmark's 72-year-old Queen Margrethe has canceled next month's trip to Chile due to osteoarthritis in her back.

The palace said Saturday doctors have advised her that the long flight and the visit itself would be hard on the monarch who has struggled with osteoarthritis for years.

The popular queen's oldest son and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian-born wife Crown Princess Mary, will step in and travel to South America for the March 10-15 visit.

The palace said the program including visits to Santiago, Valparaiso and the European Southern Observatory in the northern part of the country had not been changed.

Margrethe has been Denmark's queen since 1972. Her recent foreign trips have included northern Greenland and Afghanistan.