Act 5, scene 1
Buckingham is being led to his execution. He has asked to see Richard, but Richard has refused. Buckingham is resigned to his fate. He realizes he has acted wrongly by siding with Richard, plotting with him, and thereby betraying Edward IV’s family.
In his portrayal of Buckingham, Shakespeare follows his sources, in this case the historian Edward Hall. It was Hall who wrote that Buckingham turned against Richard because Richard reneged on a promise to create him earl of Hereford. Historically, this is untrue; Richard did keep his promise in that respect (although Shakespeare was not to know this). Modern historians have reached no firm conclusions about why Buckingham mounted his rebellion so soon after helping Richard to the crown. Whatever the reason, he had no success. Plagued by bad weather, his army deserted him. He was executed on November 2, 1483.