Boris Johnson is reported to have called Prince William to see if he could “pinch his man” ahead of giving the former royal private secretary a top job in government.
According to a Times Radio report, which has not been denied by Number 10, Johnson called the Duke of Cambridge to speak to him about hiring Simon Case, who was the duke’s private secretary for about two years.
The duke is understood to have agreed, and 41-year-old Case was confirmed on Tuesday as the youngest head of the civil service since 1916.
Case, who has a doctorate in political history, has worked in the civil service since 2006 after he finished his PhD. In March 2018 he moved to work for William at Kensington Palace.
He reportedly wanted to move back to working for the royal but instead has become the youngest person to lead the civil service since 1916.
Case will take over from Sir Mark Sedwill, who is leaving the top job of cabinet secretary after effectively being sacked by Johnson.
It comes after a tricky few months for the civil service, with the departure of five permanent secretaries who were either ousted or quit. The PM’s top advisor, Dominic Cummings, s reported to be driving much of this change. and is reported to have told a briefing in June that a “hard rain” was coming on the civil service.
Case also saw the royals through a difficult time, and was present at the so-called Sandringham Summit, at the beginning of the year, where senior royals met to discuss the potential terms of Prince Harry and Meghan leaving their working royal roles.
According to Times Radio, Johnson and William, 38, have a good relationship formed when they worked together on the failed 2010 bid for England to host the 2018 World Cup.
Case’s new job was confirmed on Tuesday, as Johnson’s team said he’d take up the role on 9 September.
Johnson said: “Simon will make a fantastic cabinet secretary and head of the Civil Service. His years of experience at the heart of government and working for The Royal Household make him ideally suited for this crucial role.
“I would also like to thank Mark Sedwill for his outstanding service to the government and the country as a whole. After serving for decades with great distinction, I believe he has earned the gratitude of the nation.”
Case said: “It is an honour to be appointed as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service. Over these few months of working on the COVID response, I have seen how much hard work is being done by the civil service to support the government and our country through unprecedented times.
“It is a privilege to come into this role to lead a service that is working day in, day out to deliver for people right across the country.
“I’m grateful to Mark for the kindness and support he has given me in my career and I wish him well for his next chapter.”
According to The Telegraph, Case will still be able to offer advice to Prince William, but on an unofficial basis.
The two men became friends while Case was William’s private secretary.
The paper reported: “They have a close personal friendship so I am sure the Duke will want Simon to remain in touch. He was very sad to see him go but realised he needed to give him up for the sake of the country.”
Case’s previous work includes helping to deliver the London Olympic Games in 2012, and dealing with the border issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William met Harry at the Queen’s Norfolk home after Harry and Meghan had released the shock statement that they no longer wanted to be senior royals.
Case, originally from Bristol, is married with two daughters.