This Day in History: 1483-06-18

On 18th June 1483, reports began to spread that 20000 men that had gathered at Pontefract (including 300 from York) on the orders of Richard III, were now heading to London from the north in ‘frightening and unheard of numbers’. Following the death of Edward IV on the 9th April that year, Richard, through manipulation, had taken the two princes into his custody for safe-keeping – Edward Prince of Wales at Stony Stratford on the 30th April, and Richard, Duke of York, from sanctuary at Westminster Abbey on the 16th June. A week earlier on the 9th June, William, Lord Hastings and one of Richard’s great supporters, had, at a council meeting, opposed the removal of the young Richard from sanctuary, perhaps coming to realise the true intentions of Richard himself. It would seem that the council meeting was the final straw for Richard and he decided to strike first. Richard was now showing his hand and his actions leading to his intended usurpation of the throne were now in full force (see entry for 10th June 1483 for the content of Richard’s letter asking for men to be sent to the capital).