Semi-autobiographical tale from the early life of director Franco Zeffirelli. An illegitimate child is raised by an Englishwoman in pre-WWII Fascist Italy, part of an English community in Florence presided over by a diplomat's widow. Elsa Morganthal Strauss-Armistan is a wealthy American collector of modern art who visits these "Scorpioni" on occasion.
Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance