How Kate Middleton and Prince William Are Raising the Next Generation of Royals

Partnership is Kate Middleton and Prince William's priority as they bring up Prince George to be a "cracking lad" and make sure Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis keep the "twinkle in their eyes"

Kate Middleton, Prince William, family
Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty
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william and kate parenting
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"I take my duties and my responsibilities to my family very seriously," Prince William once told the BBC.

But unlike previous royal generations, Kate and William (seen with Prince George, then 3, in Canada in 2016) "can mix traditional duty with being thoroughly modern parents," a family friend tells PEOPLE Royals in the fall issue (out September 10).

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william and kate parenting
The Queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with some of her family. Starmax/Newscom/Zuma

The couple is keenly aware they are raising the next generation of royals. Prince George and Princess Charlotte have been attending important family occasions since their youngest days.

The future king was just 2 years old (and his little sister was fresh off her first birthday) when great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth marked her 90th birthday on the Buckingham Palace balcony back in June 2016.

Today, one family friend tells PEOPLE the third in line to the throne is a "cracking little lad."

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william and kate parenting
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Not all days are smiley and celebratory, even when you're a royal! Kate diffused an impatient Charlotte during a visit to Germany in 2017. "Her motherly values are clear to see," says a close friend.

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The Cambridge kids are "all very polite children," says the family friend, "but they have a little twinkle in their eyes. They have all the right ingredients."

William kept a watchful eye over then-13-month-old Louis back in 2019 when Kate designed a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show.

According to a royal source, William "is conscious of making sure the children have as normal a relationship with their parents as they can."

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william and kate parenting
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Kate and William proudly dropped off their older kids at Thomas's Battersea school in London in 2019, and since then both parents have regularly handled the school run.

While Kate rightly gets plenty of credit, some of those close to the couple say William's role as co-parent should not be underestimated. The Duke of Cambridge is "pretty grounded as well," says a source who knows them.

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Kate Middleton, Prince William, family
Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

William and Kate's partnership is "something that is incredibly important to both of them," says the source who knows the couple. "Wanting to bring a good groundwork and base to family life is in her background, but it is something William has always wanted [too]. That is driven as much by him as her."

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