Prince Harry surprises Kiwi Rugby League star Honey Hireme with hongi at first appearance since Megxit

New Zealand rugby star Honey Hireme admitted she almost went to kiss Prince Harry when he surprised her with a hongi at the Rugby League World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace this week. 

The Kiwi Ferns player spoke to Trackside Radio about her encounter with the Duke of Sussex at his first public appearance since he and Meghan Markle announced their plans to step back from the royal family. 

As a representative of the New Zealand women's team, Hireme was invited into the palace to meet Harry, where she was "blown away" by his demeanour. 

"We all had to line up to meet him and I got put at the front of the line," Hireme explained. 

"They introduced us, who we were and our countries, and he leant in and gave me a hongi, which I wasn't expecting. 

"I'm obviously really glad I went in for the hongi and didn't kind of like, stick my lips out and go for a kiss." 

Harry's hosting of the event may have been one of his final official duties as a senior member of the royal family, amid a furor of speculation about his future plans. 

Hireme said the rugby league players had been "heavily briefed" around questioning Harry about his personal situation. 

"It was absolutely crazy with all the media just trying to get a glimpse of him," she said. 

Despite having "all eyes on him", Hireme said Harry "came across so well". 

"He's just a really, really great guy," she said.  

"He's genuinely invested in rugby league. He was so clued up on what was going on." 

Meanwhile, some commentators are convinced Harry included a secret message in footage of the event uploaded to the Sussex Royal Instagram page. 

Clips of the occasion were backed by the Stone Roses song 'This is the One', which features the lyrics "I'd like to leave the country" and "burn the town where I was born".