The following contains spoilers for Requiem of the Rose King Episode 19, “I will protect Edward. This child is my son.” now streaming on Funimation.
As Richard and Buckingham try to extend their night in paradise together by Requiem of the Pink King, Richmond has returned to the kingdom, casting doubt in people’s minds about the new king. But this time he is targeting Edward of Middleham, Richard’s son. Edward is nothing like his father, which makes him the perfect target for Richmond to use to overthrow Richard from the throne.
Rumors hang over Edward. He had always admired and adored Richard, so to hear that he might not be his real son is a blow. Richard sees himself in Edward so much that he can’t help but try to comfort him – but in doing so, he grows further and further away from Buckingham.
In an effort to be more like his father, Edward tries his hand at sword fighting with Catesby, knowing that one of Richard’s passions is fighting. The boy would rather study than fight, but this seems to be the only way for him to prove to all the gossip that he is Richard’s son. After hearing Richmond’s insinuations about his lineage at the banquet, the rumors kept coming. More and more people started whispering that Richard and Anne weren’t really a couple, that Edward wasn’t Richard’s real son, and that Richard was a demon.
But it wasn’t the people saying all those horrible things that upset him. Edward was more distraught because he had no way to protect Richard. The sword fight is not just so he can bond with his father, but to ensure that one day he can be strong enough to stand against those who have hurt him, as well than to his family. Edward reminds Richard too much of his past. He is afraid that once his son realizes his father is truly a “demon”, he will be abandoned by Edward, just like his mother did when he was a child. He and his father didn’t look alike either, Richard told Edward, but that didn’t matter because the bond they shared transcended appearance.
Edward embraces his father, proclaiming that Richard is his light. It’s a heartbreaking echo of how Richard saw his own father and now Edward, despite his perceived flaws and demonization, sees him the same way. And it’s interesting to note that for Richard, that’s the point in Requiem of the Pink King where he realizes what love is like. This revelation did not occur when he fell in love with Henry or Buckingham, but ironically with the son of his nemesis.
Nevertheless, with Buckingham, Richard believes he has found his soul mate – they are two halves of one whole. When he fell into darkness as a child, he had always been afraid of being alone and trapped there, but this time he had someone else. Buckingham was equally willing to be a “demon” alongside Richard and inadvertently found himself falling in love with him. This acceptance and love was all Richard had ever wanted.
Except it turns out Buckingham’s feelings aren’t as unconditional as he thought. After realizing the truth about Edward’s lineage, Buckingham feels betrayed. After all, they had promised never to keep secrets from each other and now Richard was hiding yet another crucial detail from her. Worse still, Edward’s existence threatens Richard’s place on the throne.
Buckingham’s callous cruelty shocks Richard when he orders him to disinherit Edward. Even though it breaks Richard’s heart to oppose Buckingham, he won’t allow Edward to be in any danger. Richard sees himself so much in Edward even though they are not related by blood; when he was younger, no one protected him after his father died, and he doesn’t want that to happen to Edward either.
The departure of Buckingham plunges Richard into a crisis of anguish. It hits too close to home – another reminder of his traumatic childhood and how he was left alone in the dark. If he really loses Buckingham like Requiem of the Pink King continues, Richard might not be able to recover this time.
Requiem of the Rose King: Richard and Henry’s relationship has become more complicated