Only twenty-five and newly crowned, Elizabeth I vows to rule the country as both queen and king. But her counselors continually press her to form an advantageous marriage and produce an heir. Though none of the suitors have worked their way to her throne, the dashing--though married--Lord Robert Dudley lays claim to Elizabeth's heart. Their flirting, unescorted outings, and the appointment of Lord Robert to Master of the Horse inspire whispers, and even rumors that Elizabeth has secretly given birth to Lord Robert's child. Events take a dark turn when Robert's wife is found dead. Universal shock is followed by accusations of murder.