The Court Jester was the First PR Counsel

The Court Jester was the First PR Counsel

During the middle ages and the Renaissance, the role of the “fool” or Court Jester was actually an ennobled calling.  Believe it or not, his job was to tell the King truths that the aristocracy was afraid to say.

This man used satire, wit, jokes and song to help rulers understand and appreciate the plights of the people and kingdom.  A good example is King Henry VIII: after the death of his beloved Jane Seymour (the only one of his wives to bear him a son), he retreated into hiding – visited only by his “fool.”  During this tenuous time, it was the Court Jester who counseled the King on all matters of state.  In fact, he is the very reason we cite the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer: “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory” was not in the original verse!

I bet you didn’t know you quoting a fool when you said these words!

A few years ago it was pointed out to me that a good agency or in-house PR counsel is responsible for telling the President, Chairman and directors “hard truths.”  Often helping them understand that the message they want communicated is not in their best interest.  Shaping the narrative and selecting the media to distribute a message that ultimately serves the cause.  The role is a modern day “Court Jester.”  Using new tools to help break boardroom myopia.  And ideally with better wardrobe than a multi-colored hat with bells on it!

If you find yourself in such a position, remember this:  history was shaped by the advice from these ‘fools.’  Subtle.  Powerful by proximity and by finding a way to share how a message would hit the ear of the public.  If you have such a story – please share it with a reply!