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May 13, 2015 04:20 PM

In many ways, Prince George will never be an ordinary boy. (And we’re not just talking about his hair.) But at home with his parents and newborn sister Charlotte, he’s happiest when he’s playing pretend – as a fire fighter.

The 21-month-old heir has his own ride-on fire engine, big enough for him and his friends to sit in – though not together! – during play dates at Anmer Hall and Kensington Palace.

“It’s very popular with his little pals,” a family friend tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “When he has a tea party or something like that, the fire engine is a real draw.”

RELATED VIDEO: 3 Reasons Why Prince George Is Royally Cute!

At rural Anmer Hall on Queen Elizabeth’s lush 20,000-acre Sandringham estate, Princess Kate, 33, and Prince William, 32, are ” in this position of bringing up the children in a family home away from the public gaze and that serves them very well,” says the friend.

For much more on life with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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