It gets awkward when it seems like everyone’s dad, brother, and uncle all seem to have the same name in Requiem of the Pink King. Richard is named after his father and Edward is named after Edward of Lancaster. Although it seemed like a conspiracy to Richard never to have made the connection that the Henry he secretly loved was the same Henry he hated, once put into perspective – there are multiple “Henry” characters in Requiem of the Pink King.
As if Richard’s life wasn’t hard enough, he now has to come to terms with the fact that he has three Henrys in his life. The Henry who haunted his nightmares for years, a Henry he fell in love with, and a Henry who aims to take everything from him.
Now that he is crowned king, Richard must fulfill his duties, which means nurturing a relationship with Anne. The thought of being with someone who isn’t Buckingham fills Richard with a sense of foreboding. He doesn’t know when it all started – but his relationship with Buckingham had gone beyond physical intimacy.
After being rejected by Richard and seeing him in the Buckingham flats late at night, Anne can’t help but recall how her late husband taunted her by saying that Richard was a woman and couldn’t take it. ‘to like. Taking advantage of the “Richard’s paradise” banquet, she decides to test Richard. Anne dresses as a man and Richard as a woman. The scene is uncomfortable to watch – wearing the dress makes Richard wonder if things would be different if he lived as a woman.
When Richard appears in feminine attire, everyone is amazed, admiring his beauty. In “Richard’s paradise”, anyone can exist as themselves, and although Richard aspired to be king, for just one night he wanted to be someone other than himself. If he wasn’t Richard; he would be free to love Buckingham.
Richard drags Buckingham out of the castle and the two escape on horseback. Soon, he finds himself heading for the woods. The two crash into a lake filled with white roses and Buckingham confesses he can no longer deny his feelings for Richard. What was once a pact had become something real for both of them.
After so many years, Richard could never escape his past. In his desperation, he had unknowingly taken Buckingham to the same places he had been with Henry: the woods that had served as his and Henry’s hideout so many years ago, and the cottage that had been their haven. All the memories come rushing back, overwhelming Richard. Amid his panic, Richard tries to convince himself that Henry and Buckingham are two different people. Except it turns out that Buckingham’s real name is also Henry – Henry Stafford.
Returning to the cabin with Buckingham reminds Richard of what he has to lose. Richard is scared, the two Henrys begin to overlap. James Tyrell, the silent assassin Buckingham hired appears to be Henry VI – except he has no memory of who he was. But he seems to know Richard. Richard has lost Henry before; he doesn’t want to lose this one either.
The paradise that Richard had sought before had been the light of the king’s crown, for he thought he could find happiness and the light of the throne. But now that he’s figured it out, he’s still not happy. The banquet, “Richard’s paradise,” and the cottage that had been a haven of peace for him had been mere distractions. Heaven no longer seems to be a possibility for him. Richard seems to be moving further and further away from a happy ending, becoming entangled with another Henry: Henry Tudor, the eventual successor to the throne after Richard III.
Requiem of the Rose King shows how blood means nothing in the face of power