Set at the end of the eighteenth century, The Duchess is based on the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightley). While her beauty and charisma made her name, her extravagant tastes and appetite for gambling and love made her infamous. Married young to the older, distant Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes), intimate of ministers and princes, Georgiana became a fashion icon, a doting mother, a shrewd political operator and darling of the common people. But at the core of the story is a desperate search for love. The film delves into Georgiana’s passionate and doomed affair with Earl Grey (Dominic Cooper) and the complex love triangle with her husband and her best friend, Lady Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell).
The Duchess, directed by Saul Dibb, is based on Amanda Foreman's best-selling biography of the scandalous 18th-century aristocrat.