Little girl who made Duchess Kate laugh during her tour of Australia passes away aged nine

Her plucky spirit had a visible impact on the Duchess

A nine-year-old girl who delighted the Duchess of Cambridge with her humour and playfulness has passed away after battling a debilitating illness called Batten disease. Mia Murchison, who made Kate laugh when she met her during a visit to an Australian children's hospice in 2014, was robbed of her eyesight and ability to walk by the incurable disease before dying in her parents' arms on 17 August, her family announced on Facebook. When Mia met Kate at Bear Cottage Children's Hospice in the Sydney suburb of Manly during the Duchess's tour of Australia alongside Prince William, the cheeky girl provided lots of laughs when she tried to steal the British royal's bouquet of flowers. She also said the word "baby" to Kate, who reportedly replied: "Yes, I have a baby, baby George."

Kate met Mia in 2014 (© Bounce4Batten)

Mia's family announced the tragic news in a Facebook post 10 days ago, saying: "Mia died this morning at home in our arms. So incredibly sad and beautiful. So very loved and adored." Following her funeral, her father Peter later wrote: "Yesterday was the saddest and most beautiful day for our family. Mia's casket had a simple wooden name plate that we will keep forever. I never thought you could like a casket but hers was so beautiful covered in flowers and so very Mia. I loved it. I was never going to ready for this goodbye but it was heavenly and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined."

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Little Mia was born in Dublin before relocating with her family to Singapore and then new South Wales, Australia. She suffered her first seizure in 2013 and was diagnosed with Batten disease nine months later. Her family have dedicated a huge amount of time to fundraising and raising awareness of the disease.

The duchess delivered an emotional speech at the hospice

Kate's visit to Mia's hospice had a huge emotional impact on her, and she admitted during a speech that day that she was "ready for a big sob". She told parents, children and staff: "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."

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