Of all the things the royal family probably dislikes – such as reminders they once accidentally harboured a KGB spy or anyone donning a kilt south of the Scottish Borders – half measures must be up there. Inside the rarefied world of palace life, things are done in a considered and deliberate manner, in fact hastily cobbled together plans are simply not in the royal lexicon, like polyester, gluten-free or voting.
So it would make sense that the palace's PR fightback to counter Harry and Meghan Duke and Duchess of Sussex's recent Oprah Winfrey TV outpouring was never going to be an in-the-heat-of-the-moment barrage; anger and recrimination were never going to erupt like a geyser cracking open the vast Buckingham Palace lawn.
Over the weekend the UK Telegraph broke the story that Harry and Meghan had been in talks with streaming platform Quibi from early 2019, while they were very much part of the royal family, and had "well-developed proposals in place". The multi-billion-dollar streaming service ultimately crumbled during the pandemic.
The UK paper reported "that the couple spent more than a year in the lead-up to "Megxit" in talks with a now-defunct US streaming platform which would have seen them make a series of 10-minute videos."
According to the article, "the discussions are understood to have led to tensions with Palace staff fearful they would be accused of "cashing in" on their status.'
(Ultimately the deal did not go ahead and in the later months of last year, the Sussexes announced they had signed deals with Netflix and Spotify that have been estimated to be worth more than $180 million.)
This Quibi information runs counter to what Harry told Oprah during their interview in which he said, "The Netflix and the Spotify, they're all … that was never part of the plan … That was suggested by somebody else by the point of where my family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford … afford security for us."
However there is a bigger and more interesting takeaway from this piece beyond the question marks it raises over the Sussexes' claims, and that is, we may very well be in the midst of a covert briefing war.
Because while it might have taken the palace nearly 40 excruciating hours to respond to the Sussexes' Oprah claims of royal cruelty and racism at the time, ultimately putting out a terse and restrained 61-word statement, if anyone thought that would be the sum total of the monarchy's response they would be sorely mistaken.
Harry and Meghan's narrative of them nobly pitting themselves as truth tellers unmasking an unfeeling institution, was never going to go unchecked nor was the palace going to allow the nascent antipathy towards the monarchy take hold or to metastasise.
Consider: This Quibi information is hardly brand new thus suggesting that perhaps someone with knowledge of the Sussexes' pre-Megxit talks has sat on the information, only for it to be deployed at a crucial moment.
This is far from the only incident of this stripe.
In the feverish days leading up to their Oprah close-up, the Times broke the news that the duchess had faced a bullying complaint back in 2018, a claim her spokesperson has denied and said was part of a "calculated smear campaign."
While the bullying allegations came from sources who are said to have independently approached the paper because "they wished to tell their side" of the story, the same piece also sensationally alleged that Meghan had worn a pair of diamond earrings on 2018 which had been a wedding present given to her by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who's alleged to have approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"At the time it was reported that the earrings were borrowed," the Times' Valentine Low wrote. "The duchess does not deny this was what she said, despite being aware of their provenance."
Again, the fact that this damaging earring claim has been kicking around for more than two years only to be weaponised at this particular juncture seems unlikely to be a coincidence.
Similarly, in recent weeks, the UK press has enjoyed a steady stream of quotes from royal insiders and sources taking precise aim at the duke and duchess. Their behaviour, one of the Queen's closest aides told the Times, was "verging on treasonous" while another palace source spoke of "an incredible act of disloyalty".
Elsewhere, the first black female Lord-Lieutenant Peaches Golding and Seyi Obakinthe Nigerian-born Chief Executive of the homeless charity Centrepoint (of which Prince William is patron) both penned pieces for the Telegraph decrying the notion that the royal family is racist.
Then there's the fact the past two weekends have seen two lengthy pieces in the British press profiling individual William and Kate Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, casting them as invigorating forces who will propel the monarchy to new heights.
All of this seems like it is part of a concerted, organised campaign to push back against the Sussexes while simultaneously buttressing the monarchy's image and public standing.
But this is a game that two can play – two skilled, experienced communications teams that is.
Across the pond in Los Angeles, a similar swath of reports casting Harry and Meghan in a perpetual glow of good PR.
Prior to their Oprah appearance Harry was interviewed by TV host James Corden atop a bus in Los Angeles, a TV outing that seemed primed to sell the royal to US audiences.
To mark Mother's Day in the UK Harry arranged for flowers to be laid on his mother's grave at her ancestral home of Althorpe, a fact we know because People magazine confirmed it. The same month it was also revealed that the Sussexes had crashed a teenage girl's virtual mentoring session, which again we know because People broke the big news.
Also in March it was revealed that Harry had signed on to become the Chief Impact Officer of a billion-dollar coaching and mental wellbeing company and that he had joined the Aspen Institute's Misinformation Commission, announcements which could not have come at a more fertile or opportune moment for Brand Sussex.
What is interesting is that both the royal family and the Sussexes might be engaged in the same media guerilla warfare but they are fighting to ultimately prevail in different territories.
The Sussexes' entire strategy, including even that they did their explosive Oprah interview, seems to be to ultimately win over the US to their side and to convert them to their cause. Likewise, the royal family's response seems entirely geared towards shoring up their support in the UK, their standing in their former colony across the Atlantic be damned.
This combative state of play could be here to stay, given that it seems unlikely that either side is going to stop seeding advantageous titbits to the media anytime soon.
With neither side showing any signs of ceding an inch of ground and instead seem to be digging in for a protracted battle, the events of the last month may well just have been an opening round.
Batten down the hatches chaps because we're a long – long – way off anything resembling a ceasefire.
• Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia's leading media titles.