How It All Started
William Richard Henry Hanson was born in Bristol on the 2nd September 1989 to two very proud parents, to which he was their first child.
William spent 18 years living just outside of Bristol in North Somerset. A common misconception about William is that he was born into a world of moats, drawbridges and servants. This is not the case, as much as William would have liked it to be. Instead, William grew up surrounded by beige sofas, weekend trips to John Lewis, and drinks coasters. There was not so much as a whiff of a butler, and the only titles his parents had were ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’
One Christmas during William’s teenage years (not that William ever behaved like a teenager) his grandmother gave him a copy of Debrett’s Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners for Christmas. If William were being honest he’d readily admit that at the time he was not that inspired by receiving the book. It was quite thick and had very small print. It should be pointed out at this juncture that William was not a bad child at all, and his grandmother’s gift was not meant with any remedial ambitions.
Begrudgingly, William began to read the book after his grandmother’s constant questions about whether he had read the part about asparagus yet. After reading said chapter, William quickly read the whole book as he found it engaging, witty and of use. But it posed some questions and William wanted the answers. A few weeks later William bought another etiquette book to see if it answered his queries. After a year or so, William had built up a small library (20 books or so) on the subject and was fascinated by the nuances of etiquette, but also the underlying message of respecting people and putting people at ease.
When he was 17, William was asked to teach the Year 9s how to set a table and dress for a black tie dinner at this school. From then on, for two years (until William left school for University), he would teach 20 12-13 year olds the basics of good manners and etiquette. During his classes, William discovered that very few people already knew what he was teaching (things like eating with your mouth closed, or asking to leave the table, writing thank you letters). William was so surprised at this he decided to spread the message of basic good manners outside his own school and he started teaching at local Scout groups, and other such organisations.
Having gained some local and then national press attention for what he was doing (the angle being that it was so unusual for a 17/18-year-old to be teaching what was perceived to be an old-fashioned subject), William left school for University.
In his first term at the University of Manchester, William was asked to join leading etiquette, protocol and household management consultancy firm The English Manner as a consultant tutor. William’s first job with The English Manner took him to Milan to teach business protocol at an international business school. Having gone from teaching young teenagers that forks go to the left of the dinner plate, and knives and spoons to the right, William was now giving seminars to adults on order of precedence for business introductions in China.
William’s first piece of press attention was a two-page spread in the Bristol Evening Post magazine. Now, William is a regular commentator and face for international media having covered the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton for a variety of international media, including the BBC and the Discovery Channel Network in America.
Never in a month of Sundays did William believe one book could launch a career that in the space of a few years would see him travel to places such as China, from where he recently returned. Originally, William wanted to be a journalist but now he’s working in what is the definition of ‘niche market’ – etiquette and household management consultancy, and is very sublimely happy.
In June 2011, William graduated from the University of Manchester and is working full-time talking to people about napkins and the like.
William's first apps for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches are now available. Click for more.