Princess Kate Will Take Longer Maternity Leave the Second Time Around

"She felt she came back too soon last time," a royal source tells PEOPLE

Photo: Lia Toby/WENN

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Don’t be surprised if Princess Kate stays out of the spotlight in the months after she has her second baby.

As anticipation builds, and the hospital and doctors are preparing to help Kate, 33, welcome a brother or sister for Prince George, 21 months, the princess has decided to take a longer maternity leave than she did last time, a royal source tells PEOPLE.

She has told friends that she wants to fully enjoy the bonding experience for her two children under 2 years old.

“She felt she came back too soon last time,” the royal source tells PEOPLE. “She wants to have that [family] and enjoy it with George and the new baby.”

Prince Charles’ Blessing

Sources have told PEOPLE that the couple are concentrating on family with the full blessing – indeed, encouragement – of dad, Prince Charles, 66, who wants them to have as much of a normal life as possible.

After George was born in July 2013, Kate returned to royal duty less than two months later on Sept. 12, when she appeared at a glitzy evening with Prince William.

A month earlier, even, she had made a surprise appearance at an event in Anglesey, not far from the home she and William, 32, shared in their early years of marriage.

Now, the couple have their huge country home at Anmer Hall, on Queen Elizabeth‘s Sandringham estate, as a perfect haven for them to raise their children and spend family time in the run-up to George’s second birthday.

The estate is close to where William will work as an air ambulance pilot once his training has finished in early summer, meaning he can often be at home in the mornings and evenings, too.

That is an arrangement that will be going down well with one little addition: George, who a friend tells PEOPLE “is great fun. He is really enjoying the new environment.”

Kate’s Work for Children

When she returns to royal duties, Kate will continue her push to highlight the difficulties facing vulnerable children and families, especially those with family members suffering with mental health issues.

It is something she is passionate about and is a big theme of her public work in recent months, culminating in a video address and a series of visits around Children’s Mental Health Week.

For more on Kate’s parenthood plans, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, out on newsstands Friday.

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