Kate Middleton and Prince William fight back tears on visit to children's hospice
It was an emotional day for the Duke and Duchess as they meet a baby with only days left to live at a children's hospice in Sydney
Published 18/04/2014 | 15:39
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge admitted they had difficulty holding back tears today when they met a dying baby the same age as Prince George.
The couple struggled to keep their composure when they met nine-month-old Max McIntyre at the Bear Cottage Hospice in Manly, Sydney.
Born a happy, healthy baby, just six weeks ago he contracted bacterial meningitis and was given days to live.
The Duke said: "I welled up and was really worried I would start crying. Once I started I wouldn't have stopped, so it took a great effort to control myself.
"He's a similar age to George - it was extremely moving.”
Max’s mother Amy McIntyre, a 28-year-old photographer, said: "Kate and William were fighting back tears when we told them about Max. They could totally see themselves in us, as both our sons were born around the same time.
"Kate stroked Max's leg and they were both very moved. Obviously it was lovely meeting them, and they are very charming and caring.
"But meeting them was obviously bitter sweet - we’d give anything not to be here.”
Max’s father Rob McIntyre, a sub-editor, said: “He was born perfectly fine but then on the exact day he was nine months, he had a temperature and vomited.
"The hospital said it was viral and sent us home - two days later he had a series of massive strokes and was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis."
Mrs McIntyre said: "It still feels very surreal. Initially they said Max just had days to live, then perhaps weeks and now maybe months.
"We've been at Bear Cottage for a month, and it's been great as we can stay here as a whole family and Max can get the treatment he needs. It's just a case of keeping him comfortable and if something happens, we'll let nature take its course."
Max, now 10 months old, is Rob and Amy's first child-and he was healthy until nine months old. The Duchess unveiled a picture, made with handprints and footprints of the children at the hospice, including Max’s footprints.
Bear Cottage is one of only two centres in Australia that provide palliative care to children.
Giving her only speech of the royal tour, the Duchess said she wanted to create a "community of best practice" with East Anglia Children's Hospices, of which she is patron.
She also thanked everyone for welcoming her and George on their "first visit" to Australia and said :"To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories."
The Duchess also met Isabella Hannay, 12, who is wheelchair bound, stroking her hand and her hair. Her mother Lynne Chillemi said: "It was lovely. They were both very relaxed and there was so much laughter.
"She wanted to know how Isabella was and took such an interest."