King Edward rejoices in his ability to reconcile all the feuding parties. He makes Hastings and Rivers hug, promising that they are being earnest. He doesn’t forget the Queen he makes her hug Hastings too and Dorset. Then he moves to Buckingham, who also agrees to forgive and forget though more long-winded than the others.
Richard enters the room just as King Edward asks for him. He also joins in the hug and makeup party. The Queen begs Edward to bring Clarence into the happy peace party. Richard takes offense at this because everyone knows that Clarence is dead. Fun fact: no one knew. Everyone is shocked and dismayed. It turns out Edward had reversed his previous death warrant, but Richard explains that it “didn’t get there on time.”
Derby enters to ask the King to pardon one of his servants who possibly killed someone. King Edward cries over the death of his brother and asks why no one intervened on Clarence’s behalf. To be clear: the King blames everyone else for not stopping him from sentencing his brother to death *facepalm*. He goes to his room with the Queen and Hastings. Richard, in front of the others, comments on how the Queen and her friends grew pale at the news of Clarence’s death even though they caused it.
Clarence’s son and daughter approach their grandmother, the Duchess of York, to ask if their father is dead. She tries to deny it, but they press her to explain why she cries out for “poor Clarence” then. She says she cries for Edward because it would be a waste to cry for one who is already dead, thus confirming that Clarence is, in fact, dead. The newly orphaned children pray for revenge against Edward. The Duchess tells them it was no Edward, but they insist that Richard told them it was his fault. She tells them Richard was lying.
Queen Elizabeth enters wailing about the death of Edward. This starts about half a page of grief-off where Elizabeth, the Duchess of York and the orphans compare their sadness. The Duchess believes she is the most grieved because Elizabeth still has her children to comfort her, and the Duchess grieves the loss of two sons while everyone else only grieves one person. Plus, now she only has Richard left and he’s just the worst. Dorset and Rivers try to comfort Elizabeth and ask her to have Edward brought to the palace to be crowned immediately.
Richard enters with Buckingham and a few others. They all agree that the prince should be crowned immediately. Buckingham explains that the Prince should be brought to London in a small caravan, just in case there is still unrest in the kingdom. Richard hopes that the King was able to make peace with everyone before he died. They all conclude that he had. Still, they should be cautious when getting the Prince since the reconciliation was so fresh. All but Richard and Buckingham leave to discuss who should go get the Prince. Buckingham urges that the two of them can not be left behind to get the Prince if they want to be successful in intervening between the new King and his mother’s kin.
Here we have the “Audience pay attention!” scene. Three citizens discuss the news of the day. Edward is dead and his son, a child, will rule. Remember how well that worked last time? Baby-King Henry VI did not work out so well and there was a big old war. The citizens fear the same will happen, especially since they don’t trust anyone who would be protector now: Richard or the Queen’s relatives. They’re pretty sure things are about to get terrible, so they shrug it off and go about their day.
Queen Elizabeth, her son the young Duke of York, and the Duchess of York await to hear news of the Prince. He should arrive tomorrow. Meanwhile, the young Duke bemoans that he grows so much faster than his brother because Richard told him that flowers take their time, but weeds go quickly. The Duchess tells him not to listen because if that were true, Richard would be a nice person. The young Duke says he was told that Richard was born with teeth by his nurse. The Duchess explains Richard’s nurse was dead long before the young Duke was born. The Queen scolds him because she is worried about who might hear such talk.
Just then a messenger comes to explain that Rivers and Grey have been taken prisoner by Gloucester and Buckingham. The Queen and Duchess recognize the danger since they lived through the war. The Queen and her son take sanctuary in the church.