The heart-breakingly handsome Duke of Tynemouth is appalled to find that his torrid affaire d'coeur with the alluring Aline, Countess of Langstone, is destined to end, because Queen Victoria insists that he marries one of Prince Albert's German relatives, who is fat and ugly. To refuse is unthinkable, so, in desperation, he agrees to pre-empt his Monarch by cynically marrying Aline's innocent young niece, Honora. The beautiful Honora is horrified at the prospect of marrying a man she has never met, let alone love, but she has little choice. Heartbroken and facing a life without the love she has always dreamt about, a husband who seems to hate her and a wedding night she dreads, she flees and falls prey to an even worse fate. Now that he might lose her forever, the Duke realises that it is not hate for Honora that beats in his heart. It is love! But has his awakening come too late?