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Kate Middleton Visits Sick Kids At Malaysian Hospice

Kate Middleton

First Posted: 09/13/2012 9:46 am Updated: 09/14/2012 6:10 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Prince William's wife, Kate, stressed the importance of specialized medical care for seriously ill children Thursday in her first speech outside the United Kingdom.

The Duchess of Cambridge said while visiting a Malaysian hospice that "lives can be transformed" by providing places of support for child patients and their families.

The royal couple is on a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

William and Kate arrived in Malaysia on Thursday after visiting Singapore. They had lunch with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other government officials before visiting a hospice in a Kuala Lumpur suburb.

Kate delivered a nearly two-minute speech from a prepared text. She read slowly, looking up and smiling occasionally at the hospice's staff and patients.

Kate, who is patron of the East Anglia Children's Hospice, a U.K.-based charity, said she was excited to be learning about Malaysia's first palliative care program for children.

During a private visit inside the hospice, William and Kate chatted with young patients and drew on clay bricks. William drew a cat and mouse that resembled cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, while Kate drew a tree with birds flying above it, according to British Embassy representatives.

About 20 children from a nearby kindergarten waited for the couple to arrive outside the facility. Some waved Malaysian flags and a colorful banner that included the words "Welcome" and "We love you."

William and Kate are scheduled to visit a Malaysian tropical jungle region on Borneo island before heading to the Solomon Islands on Saturday. They'll finish their tour in Tuvalu.

Click through the slideshow below to read more about the royal couple's charitable efforts.

SLIDESHOW:

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  • Health Causes

    Five years after taking on the role of president of the Royal Marsden Hospital -- a position once held by his late mother -- Prince William and his wife <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/prince-william-kate-middleton-attend-childrens-cancer-center-opening-2011299" target="_hplink">opened one of the largest comprehensive children's cancer centers in Europe</a>, <em>US Weekly</em> reports. The royal couple partook in the hospital's opening ceremonies in September and visited with the young cancer patients.

  • Animal Rights

    Black rhinos have become critically endangered because they're killed for their horns, and Prince William is determined to do something about it. <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18489579" target="_hplink">In an interview with the BBC</a>, the animal rights activist called the illegal practice "ignorant, selfish and utterly wrong" and said that "if we don't do something about them, it's going to be a tragic loss for everyone."

  • Homelessness

    To develop a real sense of the struggles homeless people face, Prince William -- who serves as patron for the charity <a href="http://www.centrepoint.org.uk/" target="_hplink">Centrepoint</a> -- slept on London's chilly streets one night in 2009, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/22/prince-william-spends-nig_n_400381.html" target="_hplink">the AP reports</a>. "I hope that by deepening my understanding of the issue, I can help do my bit to help the most vulnerable on our streets," he told the news outlet.

  • Anti-Bullying Advocate

    Instead of gifts, Prince William and Kate <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/16/royal-wedding-charity-gifts_n_836429.html " target="_hplink">asked their wedding guests make a donation to one of 26 charities</a> they selected, which included <a href="http://www.beatbullying.org/" target="_hplink">Beatbullying</a>, a nonprofit that offers mentoring programs to young people in the U.K. affected by bullying.

  • Veterans Issues

    Because caring for veterans' well-being is a main focus of his <a href="http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/newsandgallery/focus/the_foundation_of_prince_william_and_prince_harry_570302665.html" target="_hplink">foundation</a>, Prince William headed off to the U.S. to find out how to better address such pressing issues as veteran employment. While speaking at a hiring event in Los Angeles in July 2011, the benevolent royal remarked: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/11/prince-william-military-families-_n_894312.html" target="_hplink">"We have much to learn from you. Thank you for this opportunity."</a>

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