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After his father's death Richard was considered by many to be a lame duck, specially after he was groomed to apparently be the next Lord Protector and was despised by the old ironsides. There were rumours that he would be sent to a colonial post as a sinecure and far from power. It came as surprise that he was keep as member of the Council of State and later named Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall. The hearsay was that he held the post of the Duchy so he could pay his gambling bets.
He served in the Council's National Estate Board in charge of the former lands of the King. In this role he successfully advocated the preservation and cession of large patches of woodland as hunting grounds later to be established as National Forests and Estates. He was well liked by foresters and spent long hunting retreats in the Forest of Dean.
He continued to serve in the Other House and later the Senate, being more then once elected briefly as its Lord Speaker.
Elected MP for Hamspshire (1654-1655) and Oxford (1656 until 4 February 1657), Named member of the Other House (1657-1663), Named Senator (1663-...)