Earlier this week, Time Magazine released its annual list of the world's 100 most influential people.
Few readers on this side of the pond were surprised to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry cover the issue, but apparently the news came as much more of a shock overseas.
In fact, one royal expert has described the unexpected cover story "as a stab in the heart to the royal family" that will only serve to deepen the existing divide between the two factions.
And insiders say that no one is more upset than Kate Middleton, who was infuriated by the cover for two distinct reasons:
1. Kate is currently in campaign mode, as William could ascend to the throne within a few short years, and she's well aware of the damage that the entire family suffered as a result of Meghan's Oprah Winfrey interview.
2. It seems that Middletion has reached out to Markle several times in the months since the latter welcomed baby Lilibet, but her attempts at burying the hatchet have not been reciprocated.
Yes, Meghan and Harry are feuding against the entire royal family, but it's Kate and William with thom they're compared the most -- and recently those comparisons have not been flattering to the Cambridges.
Now, it seems that Kate is very cognizant of the fact that she and her husband are losing the contest.
According to a recent YouGov poll, Harry and Meghan are now more popular than Will and Kate on a global level.
(Harry and Meghan are still not particularly well-liked in the UK -- ironically for many of the same reasons that they're so beloved elsewhere.)
This is of particular concern to Kate, who is well aware that the future of the monarchy has never been more uncertain, and who feels that it's her duty to win the hearts and minds of the international community.
Royal expert Duncan Larcombe recently spoke to OK! Magazine about the situation, and while he was unable to confirm the reports that Kate fell into a rage when she saw the Time cover, he did verify that Kate feels it's her responsibility to beat Meghan at her own game by cranking up the likability factor.
"Kate and William are in danger of being dragged into a transatlantic popularity contest," Larcombe said in a recent interview with OK! magazine.
"They will feel anxious over the cover and everything Harry and Meghan do as it always seems to reflect on them."
Larcombe says it's almost as though dueling election campaigns are being fought in two different countries.
"William and Kate are concerned about absolutely everything that comes out of America in regards to Harry and Meghan, especially Harry's tell-all warts and all memoir that's gonna hit the shelves sometime next year," Larcombe said.
"They have no control over the narrative."
Part of the fury among the royals seems to stem from the fact that Meghan and Harry gave the world the impression that they were moving to America in order to get away from the spotlight.
Instead, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are receiving more attention than ever, and in the States, the coverage is overwhelmingly positive.
At first, Kate took an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach to the situation, but in recent weeks it seems that she's been getting the cold shoulder from Meghan, and has decided to give up on the idea of burying the hatchet.
"I think it's wishful thinking when we see people say that Meghan and Kate are going to work on a Netflix project together or they're talking on the phone," royal journalist Omid Scobie told Entertainment Tonight this week.
"I even read a story about how they're Zooming whilst making cakes or something, quite recently."
Sadly, it seems that collaborative, cake-making conference calls will not be taking place anytime soon.
At this point, the royals reportedly view Meghan and Harry's growing popularity as the greatest threat to their institution's continued survival.
And since Meghan has apparently rebuffed their efforts to join forces, you can bet that the Queen and company will soon resume their efforts to discredit Meghan and undermine the reputation she's worked so hard to build.
We will have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.