was head of an extremely powerful family and a clever and devious
politician. Richard III granted him the very influential position
of Constable of England and when Henry Tudor's father, Edmund, died Thomas
Stanley married his widow, Lady Margaret Beaufort. By this act
he became the future king's stepfather.
however, was not very trustworthy. He and his family connections
had the reputation for changing allegiances between Yorkist and
Lancastrian supporters (depending on which House was likely to
be on the winning side). Surprisingly, not only did they manage
to get away with this, but each time they did they ended up even
aware of the Stanley's nature and, to ensure their loyalty against
the coming threat, he imprisoned Stanley's son, Lord Strange as
a hostage. A measure of Lord Stanley is that when told his son
would be executed if he wouldn't support Richard in his fight
against Henry, Stanley replied that he wasn't too worried as he
had other sons! Lord Stanley was taking a bold gamble not to openly
support one side or the other. He was waiting to see who was more
likely to win, fight for them and be rewarded for his efforts.
This was to prove decisive at Bosworth.