Georgiana Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightly), was the original people's princess. Like her direct descendent, Princess Diana of Wales, Georgiana was a woman of ravishing beauty, glamorous style, burnished intellect, and populist mystique. A political mover and shaker, Georgiana used her popularity with the masses to draw attention to the great social causes of her day, and proved that she was more than a match for the aristocratic, male-centric world into which she was born. And yet, for all of her success and popularity, the one man who seemed beyond her seductive charms was the one man she yearned for the most—her husband, the Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes).
They were married in 1774 when he was 26 and she only 17. It was an arranged marriage to be certain, but the vivacious Georgiana looked on her mother's (Charlotte Rampling) shrewd brokering not with fear and trepidation, but a chance to love and be loved. But her husband is a dull cold fish, utterly disinterested in her or her pursuits. He shows more affection to his dogs than he does his own wife. Desperate for a male heir, he shows ore affection in his e cares only for Georgiana's submission and the fertility of her womb. When she grants him two daughters and a pair of stillborn sons, his apathy turns to revulsion. To punish her, he engages in numerous affairs and even orders his wife to raise a daughter he sired by a servant girl.
Crushed, Georgiana turns her passions elsewhere. A fashion plate who still possessed a common touch, Georgiana used her status with the general public to promote the politically liberal issues of her day, including the abolishment of the slave trade. She became friends with everyone from political leaders to playwrights. ...1