“As the boy becomes the man, so he must bear new burdens of sufferance and sacrifice. A monarch’s duties are, I find, no more heavy than those of a common man; they are, however, more devastating in the breadth of their effect. It is, therefore, with a heavy heart that I must commit these words, that they be recorded truly, and I pray, never acted upon.
My trueborn son shines in my heart as the light of all my days. He grows stronger and wiser with each passing moment and yet, I must prepare for the most dire of circumstances. A king cannot leave a mote of future in the hands of chance. He cannot let any situation rest in the hands of hope. I am not unaware of my situation, last of my line, with only one son of my name. If there be any justice, the kingdom will never need more than that.
But if there is tragedy where justice should reign, we must be prepared. My boy is young, and has no royal consort. He dallies with no mistresses, and the arrangements for his marriage are too distant for consummation. My boy, Cadvan, is true to his station, and will surely rule well, providing his own progeny. And while my heart rests on this hope, my mind flies to the obvious opposing view.
Faith is small hope for a mortal man planning his demise. But a king’s duties require that he protect his country, even after his last breath. I must, therefore, add another to the line of succession, a byblow shame who shall sit just below my boy Cadvan. Should abdication or misadventure rob the nation of my noble family, my dishonor shall protect our line.
Should the fates show love of our nation, these words need never be read; my ignominy will live in quiet peace. But if duty removes him from his freedom, let him know I was unwilling. Let him know that I have viewed him from afar, and protected him as well as a shamed stranger could.
If God is good, let the boy forgive me.”
— Excerpt from the Will of King Richard