Buckingham – A Tragic Henchman of King Richard III

The Duke of Buckingham, who was always referred to as Cousin Buckingham by Richard, Duke of Gloucester certainly played a major role in Shakespeare’s play of the same name, Richard III. Buckingham was a dedicated and loyal confidant of Richard. His quest was to get Richard on the throne as king. They both conspired to that end. He carried out commands and requests made by Richard. If not, he would get someone else to complete the job. Richard Duke of Gloucester was eventually crowned King Richard III.

One must asked then, „Why was Buckingham executed by Richard III?“ One possible answer is that Richard appeared to be the type of person who would leave no stones unturned. He also did not leave any witnesses either. He eliminated all possible trace or link that would lead a trail back to him as the person who ordered the assassination or death of someone. He didn’t want such actions affecting him when he was crowned king.

Another potential answer is this, when Richard was crowned King, he once again gave an order to Buckingham to eliminate a prince. Buckingham was apparently low in spirit and did not carry out the order. To add insult to injury, he skipped Richard III and joined the rebel forces against him fighting in the fields. He was hunted down, captured, jailed, and executed upon the ordered of Richard III.

Why was there a turning point for Buckingham? Why was it that a man so loyal to his cousin, Richard, before he was crowned king, now turned against him once he is crowned King Richard III? Was he tired of being a tool for Richard’s use by eliminating people? Did he felt that his time has come and that he would next because he knew Richard’s modem of operation?

Furthermore, why was it that Richard depended so loyally upon his cousin, Buckingham, before he was crowned King, gave him all accolades, gave him authority to act in his name, and now after being crowned king turned against him? Did Richard want him out of his way also? Was Buckingham now seen as a threat to Richard III as his cousin, now that Richard is king-one must wonder!

With Richard III eliminating everyone close to the throne, he insured that no one would get the throne but him. Upon securing his position, was he now fearful of his cousin, Buckingham, who may be too close to the throne? Bear in mind that a cousin could also become the next in line for the throne by virtue of others dying, as in this case. Buckingham had the opportunity and the motive to be king; however, he never made it to the top. His final words to the jailer before his beheading were, „You may now take me to the block of shame!“

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