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Awkward Hastings

Anthony Woodville provided an escort of 2,000 men for Edward V’s journey from Ludlow to London. This was no mean escort, indeed it was roughly the same size as the company that had escorted the young Henry VI to Paris for his crowning as King of France. The difference was that Henry VI was convoyed through hostile territory with a real risk of attack from the French. Edward V was merely travelling through England.
Now, the odd thing is that if the Woodvilles had got their way the escort would have been even larger. It was limited to 2,000 because Lord Hastings threatened to withdraw to Calais if it was any larger. This begs a couple of very interesting questions.
First, let us consider the Woodville family. According to many they were an amiable bunch, no more threatening than the Women’s Institute or the National Trust. They had no prior quarrel with Richard of Gloucester and he had none with them. So why did they think an escort larger than 2,000 was necessary? Contrary to those who delude themselves that Henry Tudor ended the wars and inaugurated an era of peace, England was already at peace. There was no marauding Lancastrian army ready to attack at a moment’s notice. Even 2,000 men seems a very ample escort in such circumstances. After all, the 2,000 came from the Marches, an area not noted for its tranquillity. It seems almost certain that many of them would have experienced combat, however ‘unofficial’ that combat might have been. It seems very odd that the Woodvilles (who we must remember had peaceful intentions and no ambition at all) should want to surround the young King with what amounted to a small army.
Then there is Hastings – for Hastings was an Honourable Man. What grounds had he for suspecting the intentions of the amiable, well-meaning Woodvilles? What did it matter to him if the escort was 2,000 or 10,000? Surely he didn’t think that the Woodvilles were a threat? Those Woodvilles? The peaceful, scholarly, deeply religious ones? The ones who wouldn’t harm even a particularly irritating fly? Why should he worry about them? After all, he was not paranoid like Richard of Gloucester. Will Hastings, paranoid? Never! He was after all the epitome of selfless service, with nary an ill thought in his handsome head.
No, Hastings must have had a letter from Richard of Gloucester; a deeply cunning letter that persuaded him that those lovely Woodville people were actually ambitious rogues who intended to take over the government. Because the saintly Hastings could never have come to such a conclusion independently, not about those harmless, kindly Woodville folk.
It’s the only explanation – it was all in Richard of Gloucester’s evil head. And knowing that the escort was limited to only 2,000, he was able to set off from Yorkshire with a mere 300. After all, what’s odds of 6 to 1 when you’re Richard of Gloucester! It was all part of his cunning plan, worked out years earlier after he had seen in his crystal ball that his brother would die in 1483.

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3 thoughts on “Awkward Hastings

  1. viscountessw on said:

    Marvellous reasoning. Not a stone unturned. That RofG was a marvel of sneakiness. But then, with that lot around him, he needed to be. Long live King Richard!

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  2. Well, obviously Richard suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder, and it was Evil!Duke of Gloucester wrote the letter warning Hastings about the Woodvilles, because Trusting!Duke of Gloucester never, ever would have mistrusted the Woodvilles because they were beloved by everyone — nobility, gentry and commoner. And clergy.

    Trusting!Duke is the one who ordered up those 300 men. And Trusting!Duke was in control until he reached Stony Stratford. And then Evil!Duke took over, thinking to have some fun with the innocent, chivalrous, knightly, noble, poetic, on-the-shortlist-to-sainthood Anthony Woodville. It was all meant as a joke, haw haw, it’s not his fault it got out of hand.

    Evil!Duke was in control for weeks, and that’s who Elizabeth Woodville was afraid of, and why she fled into sanctuary. (Never mind the chronology is all messed up. Historical fiction is too legitimate history!)

    Evil!Duke didn’t submerge until after Richard III had been crowned. Evil!Duke is the one who loved strawberries and murdered Hastings and cowed the Council afterward. Evil!Duke reassured London so the merchants and everybody didn’t run around like headless chickens, thinking their heads would come off next. Evil!Duke-Become-King is the one who murdered those lovely little princes just because he could.

    Once Trusting!Duke-Become-King had surfaced (because the sacred chrism oil used at his kingly anointing drove away the demonic Evil!Duke personality), Elizabeth knew the bad things (and the murders of her relations) had stopped. She obviously couldn’t blame Trusting!King for what Evil!King had done, so Elizabeth Woodville came out of sanctuary, willingly handed over her daughters to Trusting!King, and told her brother to stop being silly and come home because all was well — Evil!King was gone.

    All Witchy!Elizabeth wanted for herself was Trusting!King’s evil twin’s crystal ball. Because everybody knows Witchy!Elizabeth’s mother was a witch and she taught her daughter how to be a witch and that’s how Elizabeth ensnared Edward IV but she was all out of witchy-magic when Evil!Duke invented the pre-contract and that’s why she didn’t exhale mysteriously out the crypt window at Westminster (Westminster’s crypt has a window? It did then, I promise) and wither the brains of Evil!King and Lying!Stillington before they could hypnotize the Council into believing that nasty olde pre-contract.

    So Elizabeth Woodville got Richard’s crystal ball. And that’s why he lost at Bosworth.

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