Noticed by George Romney (Boy Gobert), an artist, Emma (Michèle Mercier), a young shepherdess, leaves her sheep behind to settle down in London with Romney, who employs her as a model. In return, the painter transforms the young peasant into an elegant young socialite, soon surrounded by a crowd of admirers. Her rise in society is meteoric. Her hand is asked for in marriage by old Lord Hamilton (Sir John Mills), the English ambassador in Naples. Emma accepts the offer and follows her husband to Sicily and becomes the confidante of Queen Marie-Caroline (Nadja Tiller) of Naples. She will also live a great love with Admiral Horatio Nelson (Richard Johnson). Unfortunately, Lord Nelson is killed at the Battle of Trafalgar while Emma is pregnant with her child.