Inside William and Kate's Surprisingly Real Home Life
08/21/2012 AT 04:00 PM EDT
More than one year after their epic wedding, Prince William and wife Kate are reinventing royal marriage for the modern age.
At their cozy farmhouse in Anglesey, Wales, where William is stationed as a search-and-rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force, Kate enjoys fulfilling her role as an officer's wife – which means handling her own cooking and cleaning.
The domestic duchess – who also styles her own hair, makeup and clothes – whips up "recipes learned from her mother," royals author Katie Nicholl tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "She brings a sense of ordinariness that William has always craved."
And unlike royal couples in years past, William and Kate, both 30, are not afraid to publicly express their marital bliss, from date nights to see The Avengers to their recent PDA at the Olympic Games in London.
"They are [touchy] like that in private – completely," says a friend of the couple's. "There is nothing contrived about it."
For more on William and Kate's married life, including her closeness with brother-in-law Prince Harry and volunteer work with the scouts, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday