The countdown to baby No. 3 is on!

By Simon Perry Monique Jessen
March 28, 2018 12:44 PM

Now that Kate Middleton has wrapped the final official engagement of her third pregnancy, she’s officially on maternity leave — and getting ready for a whole new chapter.

As she nests in Apartment 1A of Kensington Palace, Princess Kate, 36, is helping her children, 4-year-old Prince George and 2-year-old Princess Charlotte, adjust to the idea of a baby brother or sister. Both kids are “excited” for the impending new addition, a friend tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, while noting, “Charlotte, as the youngest, may find it hard.”

Sarah Dixon, a former maternity nurse who has worked with friends of the royal family, says: “The family will be doing all they can to talk about the new baby and get the children as involved as possible, including them assisting with nursery decoration and choosing toys for the new arrival.”

For more on Princess Kate’s baby preparations and a look at her pregnancy style, pick up a copy of this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Like she did with George and Charlotte (who turns 3 on May 2), Kate is planning to give birth at the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s hospital in London. Dixon says that after the baby’s arrival, Kate and Prince William may hire an additional set of hands to work alongside their trusted nanny,  Maria Turrion Borrallo.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Chris Jackson/Getty Images/PA Wire

Kate “feels it’s an incredible privilege to be a mum,” says Peter Fonagy, head of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

RELATED VIDEO: Prince William & Princess Kate Honor Irish Guards on Saint Patrick’s Day

“She’s very keen on children and keen that they should be happy,” says Fonagy, who has worked alongside Kate, 36, with her mental health advocacy through the Heads Together initiative. “Part of her interest in prevention is to make sure that she does things right in her own parenting.”

“She’s genuinely interested in how to make children’s lives better — and what parents and professionals can do to positively influence the lives of children,” he adds.

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