In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), governs the country in her stead, while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone), arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots.