Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary

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Employment.png Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary 

Deep state position

The principal private secretary to the secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs is the head of the private office of the foreign minister of the British Government.


At the start of the 19th century, the foreign secretary would have had one or two private secretaries, who were often personal appointments of the office-holder. As the complexity of British foreign policy grew significantly, and consequently the size of the private office expanded to provide policy and administrative support; the chief civil servant in the private office became the principal private secretary. Today, he or she is the head of a small department, and the post is a senior and prestigious one, now typically held for a two-year term by an experienced officer from the Diplomatic Service.

The post is director grade equivalent in the Civil Service (SCS2), and also equivalent to a rear admiral in the Royal Navy and major general in the British Army. Holders of the post often go on to hold some of the most senior ambassador posts overseas, and also often honoured with a knighthood.

This list below shows holders' names as they were at the time of holding the post; details of their later careers and honours can be found in individual articles. In addition, the list includes holders of the posts of private secretary to the secretary of state for foreign affairs and then principal private secretary to the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1822-1968). The office of secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs was created in 1968, by the merger of the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office's secretary of state's offices.


Office Holders on Wikispooks

Serena StoneJanuary 2018April 2019
Jonathan SinclairJanuary 2018October 2018
Martin ReynoldsDecember 2014January 2018
Thomas Drew20122014
Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby20102012
Matthew GouldJuly 2007July 2010
Simon McDonald20012003
Sherard Cowper-Coles19992001
John Grant19971999
William Ehrman19951997
John Sawers19931995
Antony Acland19721975
John Graham19691972
Oliver Wright19631963
Peter Blaker19621964
Evelyn Shuckburgh19511954
Frank Roberts19471959
Pierson Dixon19431947
Eric Drummond19151919
Louis du Pan Mallet19051907
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