Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Dr Christian Schnee, Senior Lecturer in Public Relations at the University of Worcester, has launched a new biography of George I to mark the 300th anniversary of the King’s succession to the British throne.
In his book, George I. – The crown in London, the heart in Hanover, Dr Schnee looks at the King’s life from a communications perspective, exploring the importance of a leader’s reputation, which has to be managed and communicated.
The book is aimed at readers in Germany, particularly Lower Saxony, a state that originates from the historical Electorate of Hanover, whose ruler George became eligible for the British succession due to his kinship with the Stuart family.
George had little understanding of, or sympathy for, Parliament - a result of his absolute power in Hanover. This led to him putting his trust in a man considered a master in the art of managing and manipulating Parliament, and thus looking after the Crown’s interests – Sir Robert Walpole.
Dr Schnee suggests that the King’s failure to control and manage the complex political process in person led to the rise of powerful politicians.
He says: "A monarch's power and political impact hinges on reputation. Only genuine support and goodwill among the aristocracy, the business community, the civil service and the populace in large cities could ensure the monarch's position at the apex of the political system.
“This helps understand why royal families for centuries have systematically sought to generate and safeguard public support and consent by generating positive images and devising persuasive messages.”
He continues: “Quite obviously, the need to manufacture reputation was not new to monarchs in the era of George I. Throughout history this concern with perception management is a fascinating aspect in the lives of and histories about great leaders.
“Attempts by monarchs to generate and communicate an appealing public persona that assists in garnering popular support constitute the origins of modern Public Relations, and shapes the subject as we know it today."
Dr Schnee began his career as a spokesperson for the Christian Democratic Union in Hamburg and later Hesse. Between 2001 and 2004 he served as Director of Government Communications in the city state of Hamburg, and between 2005 and 2006 he was Head of International Media Relations for the 2006 FIFA Football World Cup office in Hamburg.