William, Lord Hastings

A friend and supporter of Richard III’s brother, Edward IV. In Edward’s government, he was Chamberlain of the Royal Household, and Captain of Calais. He was married to Katherine, a sister of the Earl of Warwick.

Hastings was prominent in Edward’s IV’s return from exile in 1471. At the Battle of Barnet, he commanded the left wing of Edward’s army, fighting against his brother-in-law.

Despite his friendship with Edward, his relationship with the Woodville faction, headed by Edward’s Queen, was strained.

After Edward IV’s death, Lord Hastings sent word to Richard, who was in the north, to notify him of his brother’s death and the plans for the coronation of Edward V. Hastings initially supported Richard in his political struggle with the Woodville faction, but in time his support weakened.

It is speculated that Hastings would not tolerate the removal of Edward’s eldest son from the throne—or that he may have resented the rise of one of Richard’s early supporters—the Duke of Buckingham, which threatened Hasting’s own political power.

On June 13, 1483, at a council meeting in the Tower, Hastings was accused of conspiring with the Woodvilles against Richard. Without benefit of a trial, he was taken immediately to Tower Green and beheaded.


Back to list