As they prepare to leave the comfort of their first home in Wales, this week’s special double issue of PEOPLE reports on Prince William and Princess Kate as they adjust to life with 5-week-old son Prince George and get ready for the next chapter. The couple’s new normal means sleepless nights and diaper duty for the happy family of three – four, counting beloved cocker spaniel Lupo – transitioning into a new life.

He’s only been at this royal baby thing for a little more than a month, but Prince George has already mastered the job’s two main duties: 1) getting bigger; and 2) thoroughly exhausting his parents. While the future king – a “little bit of a rascal…he either reminds me of my brother or me,” William told CNN – continues to exert his newborn authority, his mom and dad are working their way through a to-do list that include settling on godparents, packing up their first home – an idyllic four-bedroom farmhouse in Anglesey, Wales for the grandeur of Kensington Palace in London, and scheduling their first joint engagement since welcoming George on July 22. Amid all the change, how are the new parents feeling? “On a scale of 1 to 10, it must be near a 10,” says a close family friend. “Everything is spot-on and they’re tremendously happy.”

One constant throughout all the change, however, remains the couple’s steadfast determination to do things their way, including the decision to have the heir’s first portraits snapped by Kate’s dad, Michael Middleton, 64. “Once again William wants a new way of being royal, which is what his mother always wanted,” says royals author Judy Wade. Don’t look for William and Kate to strictly conform to traditional expectations. “I am as independent as I want to be, same as Catherine and Harry. We’ve all grown up differently to other generations,” William told CNN.

The new mom, meanwhile, is still finding her footing. After a smooth “natural birth,” as the Palace termed George’s delivery, Kate and William initially declined help. “Everything, including breast-feeding, went so well that they decided not to hire a private maternity nurse,” says an insider. But word in aristocratic circles is that the couple changed course after a few days and called for backup, possibly by taping one of the midwives who assisted Kate at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. Life will inevitably get busier as Kate resumes her royal engagements beginning with a Sept. 12 event benefiting William’s conservation charity Tusk Trust – the first time she will have stepped out publicly since leaving St. Mary’s on July 23. As William and Kate say goodbye to one chapter of their lives and start another, the couple “has never had so much love around them,” says a close friend. “They are in a great place at the moment.”

Also – this week’s double issue of PEOPLE features Hollywood’s Cutest Kids, a 21-page special section that goes inside celebrity family life where babies, toddlers, and kids play a starring role. In “Stars with Twins,” seven celebrity parents including Michael Strahan, Lisa Marie Presley, and Ken Jeong find that raising kids is twice as sweet. “Digital Debuts” features a roundup of famous infants introduced to the world via social media. In “Born to Rock,” meet the adorable offspring of two pop princesses (Christina Milian and Mel B), a superstar songwriter (Kara DioGuardi), and a country queen (Joy Williams). Sarah Jessica Parker’s daughters, Tabitha and Loretta, who are following in their mom’s fashionable footsteps, are featured in “Best-Dressed Twins.” Brooke Burke-Charvet shares her student-approved back-to-school picks, plus a look inside the fashionable nursery rooms in the homes of Ian Ziering, Josie Maran, and more.

More on Prince George, plus Hollywood’s Cutest Kids, is featured in the 9/02/13 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

*Also In This Week’s ‘People’*
Gia Allemand’s Shocking Suicide: “She Was So Beautiful, But So Insecure”
Kim Kardashian Out With Baby North: “She Was Perfect”
My Life With The Beatles: Their Secretary Speaks
Patrick Dempsey: “I’m A Big Crier”