The Duke of Buckingham is Richard’s closest ally as he maneuvers himself onto the throne.
An enemy of the Queen’s family, he disregards Queen Margaret’s warnings about Richard; he believes himself to be much more in control of the situation than he actually is, not realizing that Richard allows him to see himself in the driver’s seat. A good actor, Buckingham is the major force in the coup that sets Richard on the throne, and the mastermind of the show that convinces the citizens that the Duke of Gloucester is reluctant to take the crown. He is cunning and cynical, but cannot go as far as Richard does; the thought of putting the Princes to death shocks him, which immediately loses him Richard’s favor. Realizing that he will never be safe and that the new King does not intend to share any form of power, he flees the court and soon raises a rebellion against the man he put on the throne. His army is scattered by a flood, and the invading Richmond does not trust him, leading to the failure of his rebellion and his own capture. He realizes as he is led to execution that he is paying exactly the penalty he begged for himself should he break his oath when he swore friendship with Queen Elizabeth. Buckingham is a proud, daring, and ambitious man who suffers from not realizing the extent of Richard’s malice and the fact that nobody can trust him. His ghost comes to haunt Richard the night before the battle of Bosworth and to bless Richard’s opponent Richmond.