Princess Victoria of Kent is the heiress presumptive to the throne during the last years of the reign of her uncle King William IV. She is brought up under a strict set of rules devised by her mother (her father having died when Victoria was a baby), the Duchess of Kent, along with the comptroller of the Duchess’s household, Sir John Conroy, who calls it the “Kensington System.” Conroy hopes that William IV will die while Victoria is still a minor, which would mean that the Duchess would be appointed Regent, and he would be the power behind the throne through his considerable control of the Duchess. Victoria grows rebellious and resentful of her mother and Conroy’s oppressive control of her every move. During an illness, her mother and Conroy attempt to force Victoria to sign papers that would make Conroy her personal secretary upon her majority. Although weak and ill, Victoria is strong enough to vehemently refuse this ploy, throwing the papers on the floor.