Royal News

Prince William snub: Simon Case ditches role with Duke to become UK’s top civil servant

Simon Case, who was spent almost two years working as Prince William’s right-hand man, is set to become the next Cabinet Secretary, following Sir Mark Sedwill’s departure from the role. But the news may disappoint the Duke, as Mr Case was well liked by the royal and his move to Downing Street was only supposed to be temporary.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic Mr Case, 41, was temporarily moved to Downing Street to assist with the Government’s response to the crisis.

The move was only meant to last a few months, with the aide expected to return as Prince William’s private secretary later this year.

But Mr Case, who had been working as permanent secretary since May, has been chosen by Boris Johnson to become the UK’s top civil servant.

No10 is expected to announce the change tomorrow, according to the Financial Times.

Government insiders have yet to confirm the reports, but a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “An official announcement on the new cabinet secretary will be made on Tuesday 1 September.”

Mr Case has worked for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for several years and is credited with turning the couple into a PR success story.

Before poaching him, Mr Johnson is understood to have contacted Prince William directly and asked his permission to borrow his leading aide.

The Prime Minister considers Mr Case to be part of his inner circle, and the pending announcement has been viewed as a sign Mr Johnson and his chief political aide Dominic Cummings intend to push through a series of tough reforms.

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Senior officials have commented that his appointment has the potential to send shockwaves through the civil service, as it highlights the Government’s new tough approach.

One senior official told the newspaper: “Simon’s appointment is very much a ‘hard rain’ appointment.

“It’s a sign they want to do things quickly.

“But if the other permanent secretaries don’t recognise that person as ‘the boss’ there will be trouble.

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“Will he find that the levers aren’t attached to anything?”

It comes after Mr Cummings told political aides in June that a “hard rain is coming” and promised to overhaul an “incoherent” Cabinet Office, creating a smaller and more elite centre of government and shaking up Whitehall culture.

Mr Case has been in the civil service since 2006 and has had several key roles advising Government.

He hand a hand in planning the 2012 London Olympics and also worked as private secretary to former prime minister David Cameron.

The civil servant has also had a leading hand in Brexit negotiations, particularly in matters regarding the Irish border.

The pending announcement of the new cabinet secretary comes after Sir Mark Sedwill announced in June that he would be stepping down from the role.

Sir Mark, who will now take up a seat in the House of Lords, reportedly clashed with the Prime Minister and his chief aide on a number of occasions.

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