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Quickly, Duncan, the strengths!
~ Willingham, learning the proposed King is an American.
It's not enough simply to be the king. You must look and act like one.
~ Willingham training Jones on how to be a King

Sir Cedric Willingham, later known as King Cedric I, was a secondary protagonist in the movie King Ralph.

Willingham was the grandson of a palace maid who had gotten pregnant as the result of an affair with a member of the royal House of Wyndam. Willingham eventually became a private secretary to the King. After a freak accident not only caused the death of the King but wiped out the entire royal Wyndam family as well Willingham was forced to conduct a search for an heir to take over as King. A large number of academics poured through records, tracing through the Wyndam family tree to find a new King.

As the various branches were traced and leads were eliminated, Willingham's assistant Duncan Phipps came to him with the news that they had found an heir. Namely him. Feeling unworthy of such a role and having no children to eventually pass the throne to, Willingham declined the role and swore Phipps to secrecy. Soon another heir was found, a man named Ralph Jones. Willingham was happy to hear they found someone, but was horrified to find out he was an American. Willingham ordered Duncan to quickly list Ralph's strengths.

Duncan found Ralph in Las Vegas, Nevada and brought him back to London, where he then assumed his new role as King Ralph I. Willingham quickly set to work educating Ralph about the seriousness of his new role, and also the ins and outs of being a King.

A short time later Willingham met with Prime Minister Jeffrey Hale and Lord Percival Graves, an influential member of the House of Lords. At that meeting Graves outlined his objections to Jones becoming the King and suggested that Parliament declare the Wyndham royal line to be at an end, and declare the House of Stuart to be the royal line once again. Since Graves was a member of that house it would make him next in line for the throne. Hale decides that Jones has the right to the throne since he has royal blood and that the country would have to live with him. Graves says that he supposes so, and begins scheming over how he can embarrass Ralph out of the job.

When Graves learns that King Ralph was infatuated with Miranda Greene, a young London resident who took a job as a stripper to make ends meet, he went to her and offered her money to develop a relationship with Ralph in order help him get Jones into a compromising position that could be used to force Jones out of the job. She initially agreed but backed out when she fell in love with Ralph, unaware that Graves already had pictures. Willingham for his part did not want Ralph to continue the relationship, cautioning him that Edward VIII had to abdicate after falling in love with a commoner and that the House of Wyndam could not afford another such scandal. After the English approach Finnish royalty about the possibility of having their Princess Anna marry Ralph, Willingham convinces Ralph to end his relationship with Miranda, however she breaks it off herself out of a desire to protect Ralph.

Graves soon wrecks any chance of a marriage between King Ralph and Princess Anna. He does this by spreading the photographs around at a royal ball that the Finnish royalty were attending as guests, and having Miranda Greene invited to the ball. Insulted King Gustav, Queen Kathrine, and Princess Anna leave immediately. In the fallout, a Finnish company chooses a Japanese company over a British company for an important contract that would've created thousands of jobs in an economically depressed area.

Pressure mounts for Jones to resign. Willingham begins investigating to see how Miranda got invited to the ball, and finds a note supposedly written by Ralph on the back of her invitation. Comparing it to another document it becomes obvious that the note was not in the King's handwriting, but was in the handwriting of Gordon Halliwell, a royal page who was working with Graves. Scotland Yard takes over and finds that Graves had been working to engineer the whole situation. Ralph confronts Miranda, who confirms what Graves had done.

He begged to be let off. He insisted that he was undeserving of such an exalted position.
~ Willingham explaining why the other claimant was not chosen

At about the same time Ralph finally learns that there was another claimant to the throne, and asked Willingham why that man was not chosen. Willingham finally admitted that he could not face the idea of being King, and told the King that he was determined to help Ralph do the job so well that he would never have to face the possibility of becoming King. Ralph forgave Willingham for his deception, and told Phipps to contact Hale so that he could address Parliament the following day.

During that address, Jones accepts responsibility for his shortcomings and the harm they have done to the United Kingdom. He announces that he would give up the throne. Before leaving though, he presents the evidence of what Graves has done - hurting Jones and the United Kingdom in the hopes of the Stuarts being named a royal line and himself named King. Jones has Graves arrested for violating the Treason Act of 1702 which among other things forbade interference in the proper succession of a monarch. Graves is led out of the chamber. Jones says that he did not bring that up to defend his own behavior, and that while he severely embarrassed England it was unintentional, but Graves did what he did deliberately. Jones then reveals that there is another Wyndam to take the throne, namely Willingham. Willingham rose to his feet as his stunned colleagues look on. Jones announces that the following day Willingham would become their new King and he finished by pledging his loyalty to the new monarch.

KingCedricI

King Cedric I

As Ralph began packing his possessions to leave Buckingham Palace, King Cedric informs him that the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed granting Ralph a title, income, and home in the country. Ralph accepts after King Cedric informed him there would be no official obligations on his part, and that he was having a proper recording studio installed in Ralph's house.

Some time later King Cedric named Ralph as Ralph Hampton Gainsworth Jones, the Third Duke of Warren. Ralph and Miranda resume their relationship and eventually marry, having a son whom they name Ralph, who would someday succeed the childless King Cedric I as Ralph II.

Trivia

  • Willingham was portrayed by the late British actor Peter O'Toole. O'Toole had earlier played another English monarch, namely King Henry II.
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