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Cardinal Richelieu (Disney)

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~ Cardinal Armand Rich

Cardinal Armand Richelieu is the main antagonist of the famous french novel Les trois mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers) by Alexandre Dumas and its numerous movie or anime adaptations. He is based on the real historical figure who was the close advisor of king Louis XIII and the de facto second-in-command of the kingdom of France, who in spite of using his position to gain considerable wealth and political influence was by no mean a plotter nor a traitor and can hardly be regarded as a villain.


"Is he a man of God, or a man of gold?" This is an appropriate question about the religious leader of France, Cardinal Richelieu. His Eminence is supposed to provide spritual guidance for the people of France and their King, but instead plots and schemes for money and power and, most of all, to satisfy his sexual desires. It is quite rare to see a man so close to God lusting to be so close to beautiful women, particularly the lovely Queen Anne.

The ruthless Cardinal's self-serving conduct and his association with the wicked Captain Rochefort provide plenty of underhanded resistance against everything King Louis is trying to accomplish in his own country. The Cardinal, meanwhile, hopes to reach an agreement with England's Duke of Buckingham to bring their two countries together under their power. Installed as the religious and political leader of the nation, the Cardinal believes he can be unstoppable. Before that can happen, however, the King's guards have something to say about that.

The Musketeers have served the throne for years, but upon Rochefort's orders to disband the guard, there appears to be no stopping the Cardinal's evil plans. Enter The Three Musketeers: Aramis, Athos, and Porthos. They defy the Cardinal by keeping the Musketeers' spirit alive and together with a young Musketeer wannabe, D'Artagnan, thwart his plans to bring the secret alliance with England to bear. However, the plans are more elaborate than they first believed the Cardinal plans to have the King assassinated as well.

Rushing home to France, the Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan foil the assassination attempt. The Musketeers reunite with their guard brothers to fight off the Cardinal's loyal guards and storm the castle, where the King and Queen are being held. At one point, the Cardinal himself pulls out a gun and shoots Aramis, allowing for an escape attempt. In the end, though, Aramis would return to capture the man of God, and the King himself would punch his lights out.

Cardinal Richelieu admits freely to those he hopes to ensnare how much of a man he is, a man driven by greed, power, and lust. He schemes to get his hands on everything and everyone and does not abide failure or dissent. He is not as charming as he thinks he is, but he certainly is intimidating. And his years in the service of France and God have taught him a thing or two, particularly: you don't want the Musketeers in your way. It's a pity for him that he couldn't execute his plans - and his King - in time.

His most recent appearances have been in the 2011 film The Three Musketeers where he was played by Christopher Waltz.

The Cardinal appears in the first series of the BBC One series The Musketeers where he was played by Peter Capaldi (who also plays Malcolm Tucker). He had a mistress named Adele whom he later had killed after learning that she was cheating on him with another man (whom he later learned to be Aramis). Sometime before the events of the second series, the Cardinal died and his funeral was attended by the King and the Musketeers whilst his position as First Minister was given to Rochefort. The reason why the Cardinal was killed off was due to Peter Capaldi being unable to continue the role due his commitments to Doctor Who (where he plays The Twelfth Doctor).

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