From the moment they welcomed son Prince George on July 22, new parents Prince William and Kate have signaled their intention to forge a path that is both respectful of tradition and "totally modern," a close friend tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.
In their biggest departure yet from custom, the couple opted to leave their home in Kensington Palace for the Bucklebury home of Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton.
For now, they have also passed on hiring a nanny, leaning on Carole and a housekeeper to provide extra help.
"Going to stay with the Middletons allows William and Kate to put their stamp on things," says Marcia Moody, author of Kate: A Biography, "in a way that makes them both feel comfortable."
For much more on this story, including a look back at previous generations of young royals and “the Kate Effect” on new moms, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.