Amidst the exciting preparations for the grand opening of Prince Albert's prized Crystal Palace, a young orphan, Sorilda, is being forced into marriage by her recently cuckolded uncle, the Duke of Nuneaton.
Having sheltered lovely Sorilda since the tragic death of her parents, the usually fair-minded Duke has been driven to jealous retaliation by his deceitful new Duchess.
Suspecting his close neighbour, the Earl of Winsford, of ungentlemanly conduct with his beautiful wife, the Duke issues an ultimatum. The Earl must renounce the Duchess and marry the Duke's flame-haired niece or face the public embarrassment of a scandal.
Handsome, intelligent and fabulously wealthy, the Earl makes his choice and reluctantly marries Sorilda, his helpless bride. Angry at being pressured into such a union and aghast that he does not know, let alone love, his wife, the Earl remains distant and determined not to let Sorilda into his life.
Enjoying the freedom from the miserable prison of her uncle's home, Sorilda's natural charm and positive nature soon force their way to the surface, despite the coldness of her bridegroom. Delighted by everything around her, it is not long before she has made her way into the hearts of everyone she meets.
But, as London Society eagerly awaits the Great Exhibition, a spurned Duchess is busy plotting. Furious at being caught in a compromising situation, and filled with hatred for Sorilda, who has married the man she desires, she will not rest until she has her revenge.