Keira Knightley and Hayley Atwell in The Duchess
This scene is from The Duchess. Lady Elizabeth, played by Hayley Atwell, gives a sentimental course to Georgiana Spencer, portrayed by Keira Knightley. Set in the late 18th century, the story follows the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. Well known for her beauty and fashion sense, she is also remembered for her extravagance and gambling habits. Despite the blatant infidelities of her husband, the cold and much older William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, Georgiana thrives, becoming a fashion icon, a doting mother, a shrewd political operator, and darling of the common people. In befriending Lady Bess Foster, Georgiana is crushed when Bess and The Duke begin an affair. Despite Georgiana’s anger, the Duke wants Bess to remain living with them. Bess later explains to Georgiana that the reason she began the affair with the Duke was so that she could get her children back. The Duke wants a male heir, which the Duchess has not yet provided. The idea is that Bess can, since she already has three sons, of whom the Duke is very fond, treating them as if they were his own.