When King George VI dies, his elder daughter Elizabeth becomes the Queen of Britain. Younger sister Margaret, feeling sidelined, embarks on an affair with divorced palace employee Peter Townsend, sixteen years her senior. The Establishment opposes this and the Queen gives Peter a foreign posting to separate the pair. Margaret, backed by public opinion, is still keen to marry him, though she must renounce her claims to succession to the throne. Ultimately she chooses duty and privilege over love, though Elizabeth is perceived to have manipulated her.