Tensions between the two royal women boiled over on at least one occasion shortly before Meghan and Prince Harry's royal wedding

By Monique Jessen and Simon Perry
December 19, 2018 10:00 AM
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Rumors of a rift between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have dominated headlines in recent weeks, and tensions between the two royal women boiled over on at least one occasion.

A family friend confirms to PEOPLE in this week’s cover story that Meghan, 37, and Kate, 36, clashed in the days ahead of the Duchess of Sussex’s royal wedding to Prince Harry in May.

“There was an argument between Meghan and Kate over the fit of [3-year-old] Princess Charlotte‘s dress,” the source confirms.

A different insider adds, “There were very few fittings for the bridesmaids. Everything was left to the last minute, and it was really stressful for everyone involved.”

Kate was reportedly “left in tears” over the incident — though exactly what upset her is unclear.

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Princess Charlotte and Kate Middleton at the royal wedding
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Several sources have said that there was a notable amount of “stress” surrounding those involved in the wedding. Still, a royal wedding guest previously told PEOPLE that Prince William “was in a jokey, wonderful mood” at Meghan and Prince Harry’s private evening reception — and that Kate was in “great form.”

Tensions around the wedding also escalated when Queen Elizabeth turned down Meghan’s first choice of tiara to wear on her wedding day. It was one of many fraught royal wedding conversations, which, according to royal biographer Robert Jobson, left Harry shouting at staff, “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets!”

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On Dec. 1 their shared office at Kensington Palace took the rare step of publicly denying a report that Kate had warned Meghan not to scold staff members. (The palace has not commented on other reports of conflict.)

Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Since Meghan officially joined the royal family, there has been a shake up in its synergy – one that many believe was inevitable.

“Wives do change the dynamic, and they both have very strong wives,” a palace insider tells PEOPLE. “If you bring two independent-minded women from the real world into the royal world, they are going to want to have an impact.”