THE plight of Dubbo toddler Max McIntyre moved Kate Middleton and Prince William to the verge of tears.
The royal couple were visiting the Bear Cottage Hospice in Manly when they met the 9-month-old.
Max was a healthy baby, but just six weeks ago he was struck down with bacterial meningitis and doctors said he had just days to live.
New parents themselves, William and Kate struggled to hold back their tears as they met the toddler and his parents.
"I welled up and was really worried I would start crying," admitted the 31-year-old Prince.
"Once I started I wouldn't I have stopped, so it took a great effort to control myself. He's a similar age to George - it was extremely moving."
Max's parents, Daily Liberal journalists Amy and Rob McIntyre, recounted the Duke and Duchesses emotional visit.
"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," Amy said.
Meeting the royal couple held mixed emotions for the Dubbo parents.
"Kate stroked Max's leg and they were both very moved. They struggled to hold back tears - they were welling up," Amy said.
"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 has touched many hearts and he obviously touched them."
Bear Cottage is one of only two centres in Australia that provide palliative care to children.
Describing the support they received in caring for Max, Amy said: "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."
The Duchess unveiled a picture, made with handprints and footprints of the children at the hospice, including Max.
The Duke who is patron of a child bereavement trust in the UK also poke individually with the bereaved families of children who had died.
The Duke and Duchess have been travelling across Australia and New Zealand as part of their official 19-day royal tour.