The little prince doesn't know it yet, but he is likely to be protective and lead the way for his sibling in the gilded royal life

By Simon Perry
April 24, 2015 11:00 AM
John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty

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Family friends report that he is “great fun” and he certainly knows how to boss a room.

But what will Prince George be like when he is faced with a new sibling?

The confident little prince, 21 months older than the brother or sister who will arrive any day now, has become accustomed to getting all the attention around Kensington Palace and the grand country house, Anmer Hall, that mum and dad Prince William and Princess Kate call their homes.

Clues of that boldness came a year ago when George took part in his first public playdate in New Zealand with a group of local children and first-time parents.

He was “bubbly, quite feisty and he took control,” parent Grant Collinge said of George at the time. “He owned the place. No one was going to stand in his way!”

Adds an observer: “A lot of children that age aren’t really aware of other babies. He knew exactly what he wanted and took it!”

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And he is likely to go from being King of the Playgroup, to protective older brother to his sibling as they grow up side-by-side within the Cambridge family.

And that aid will go both ways.

“Having a sibling will be as much a support for George as the other way around,” a well-placed observer says. “Making friends can be difficult, and knowing who you can trust. But there is that unconditional understanding of the situation that is unparalleled with a sibling.”

Few, if any, outside the rarefied royal world can fully grasp what it’s like to be raised within that environment, with its mixture of full-on media spotlight and the responsibilities that eventually come with the roles the children inherit.

Add in family dramas and, in William and brother Prince Harry‘s case, tragedies like the loss of their mother, and that bond is even further enhanced.

“Outsiders, even like [Diana, Princess of Wales], don’t know what it was like going into that royal life,” says Darren McGrady, who watched William and Harry grow up as he worked as a chef at their Kensington Palace home.

“[William and Harry] have always been very close and since [Diana] died, that emotional bond between them has grown even stronger.

“Zara and Peter Phillips are pretty close and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are too. When you are in that royal group, you are thrown together and have a special bond. George and the new baby, will have that bond too eventually.”

Keep reading PEOPLE.com for more on the royal birth.

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