Kate Middleton and Prince William were moved to tears on Friday, April 18, when they visited Bear Cottage Hospice in Manly, Australia, a suburb of Sydney. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 31 and 32, respectively, visibly struggled to keep it together while meeting with the family of baby Max McIntyre, a 9-month-old little boy who was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis six weeks ago.
"I welled up and was really worried I would start crying," William told an aide afterward. "Once I started, I wouldn't have stopped, so it took a great effort to control myself." Of the child, Max, he added, "He's a similar age to George. It was extremely moving." Click here to see more pics of Kate.
Max's mom, 28-year-old photographer Amy McIntrye, told Us Weekly that both royals were "very upset" about her son's condition. "They could totally see themselves in us," she said, noting that Max and Prince George were born around the same time last summer. "Kate was very sympathetic and stroked Max's leg. They were welling up."
She continued: "Obviously it was lovely meeting them, and they are very charming and caring. But meeting them was bittersweet -- we'd give anything not to be here."
Amy and her husband, Rob, have been at Bear Cottage for a month, ever since Max was diagnosed. "Initially they said Max just had days to live, then perhaps weeks, and now maybe months," she told Us. "It's just a case of keeping him comfortable and if something happens, we'll let nature take its course."
Palliative care is a cause very close to the Duchess' heart; she's even a patron of the East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH) in the U.K. During her visit to Bear Cottage with Prince William, she joined some of the kids for a sing-along in the garden. She also gave a speech to families and staff at the hospice. (Prior to her remarks, she was given some encouragement by her husband, who let out a little "Whoo!" as she took the stage.)
"First-class delivery of children's palliative care is life-changing," the Duchess said. "When families are confronted with the shattering news that their children have a life-limiting condition, their world can fall apart. It is at those times that professional support is imperative...The haven that you have created here is inspirational, and there is so much that you can share with each other as you continue to support and nurture those in your care."
She went on to thank everyone for welcoming her family so warmly. "To be here together as a family has been very special," she said of the trip to New Zealand and Australia, "and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories."