When Catalina Rivera, 2, woke up the morning of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's visit she put on a bracelet, donned her favourite dress and told her mother she was going to hug the Duchess.

Her mother, Mercedes Rivera, didn't believe it would actually happen but by that afternoon Catalina had slipped through a fence and was hugging the Duchess of Sussex.

The moment was captured and picked up by media around the world including USA Today, the Mirror and Yahoo News, as well as Spanish news sites.

Mercedes and Catalina had gone to the Government Gardens in Rotorua with friend Bianca Alvarez for the royal couple's public walkabout. They arrived at noon to nab a front-row spot.

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When Meghan was finally approaching Catalina slipped through the fencing into the Duchess' path, Alvarez said.

The Duchess of Sussex hugs Catalina Rivera, 2, who got through the security at Government Gardens during the visit to Rotorua. Photo / Alan Gibson
The Duchess of Sussex hugs Catalina Rivera, 2, who got through the security at Government Gardens during the visit to Rotorua. Photo / Alan Gibson

"When Meghan was coming closer and closer we were trying to take her picture and suddenly Catalina was in the photo. I saw Catalina on my phone and Meghan going to her."

Meghan crouched down to hug and play with Catalina and hold her hands.

Catalina told the Duchess to "look at my bracelet and my dress".

Her mum told the Rotorua Daily Post Catalina chose her outfit every day and always chose a dress, but the one she wore on the day was her favourite.

Afterwards, Catalina said she wanted to hug Prince Harry too.

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Mercedes said her daughter loved the royals, princesses and dancing and had watched the royal wedding on television.

"She plays princesses and says her name is Meghan Catalina."

Mercedes couldn't believe the moment had been shared and viewed around the world.

Mercedes, who is 8 months pregnant, said Meghan congratulated her on the pregnancy.

As Catalina's first language is Spanish, the Duchess had difficulty communicating with the youngster at first.

She said she was "very happy" to get a hug from Meghan.

When Catalina was asked why she liked Meghan she said she was "muy linda", very pretty.

Alvarez said she didn't think Catalina would ever forget the moment.