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 visited the Kranji Commonwealth War Memorial in Singapore on Thursday and 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.