The sovereign, born in 1120, was the fourth son of Roger II and Elvira of Castile. Educated at the court of Palermo, permeated by Arab culture, he was said to spend most of his time entertaining himself, often neglecting administrative affairs. Associated with his father’s throne in 1151, he was crowned King of Sicily on 4 April 1154, following his father’s death.
In this painting, William, dressed in royal robes and crowned, holds a sceptre in his right hand and a scroll in his left, confirming the donation of the Syracuse church of Saint Lucia. This donation actually took place in 1140 thanks to Roger II’s niece, Adelicia. He is known as William the Bad because of the many critical issues the kingdom went through during his regency, but the appellation dates back to the 14th century.