Inside Kate's New Royal Life

PEOPLE Cover Story: Kate's Royal Life

updated 06/15/2011 AT 09:45 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/2011 AT 08:00 AM EDT

What learning curve?

She's been a royal for just six weeks, but the newly minted Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has quickly proved "she's a natural," a palace insider tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.

Gliding her way through an intense regimen of public engagements since her wedding to Prince William, Kate, 29, is "completely taking it in her stride," adds the insider.

Still, Kate's recent high-profile appearances might have proved overwhelming were it not for a few key counselors: her stepmother-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who has offered guidance on life as a royal wife; Helen Asprey, a longtime member of William and Prince Harry's personal staff, who now accompanies Kate to most engagements; and Prince William, 28, who makes sure to keep careful watch over his new wife.

"It's very much the 'home team' advising," says a palace source.

Next up for the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: an 11-day tour of Canada, including a weekend stopover of Los Angeles, kicking off on June 30.

For much more on Princess Kate's new life, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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