Based on Theodore Bonnet’s novel, a poor boy gets into Windsor Castle to see the secluded Queen Victoria, whom Disraeli is trying to persuade to appear in public.
The little boy Wheeler (Andrew Ray) finds a cameo of the Queen and refuses to sell it. Sparrow (William Strange) takes it and throws it in the water. Wheeler jumps in to get it and nearly drowns. An old man tells Wheeler about Queen Victoria in Windsor Castle. Wheeler goes there, and Benjamin Disraeli (Alec Guinness) is let in.
John Brown (Finlay Currie) leads Disraeli to Queen Victoria (Irene Dunne). Disraeli tells her that people are protesting her seclusion. He says she is invited to a hospital. She remembers Albert and says she will try.
Wheeler falls down a coal chute into a cellar. He goes upstairs and hides. Brown summons Lady Emily Prior (Beatrice Campbell). Wheeler goes in her room and takes some fruit. Victoria asks Emily about Lt. Charles McHatten (Anthony Steel). Her mother, Lady Margaret Prior (Marjorie Fielding), says Emily shouldn’t marry him. Victoria forbids Emily to see him.
Wheeler enters a dining room, and the servant Kate Noonan (Constance Smith) sees him. An Irish servant talks of burning the castle and finds Wheeler. When Victoria dines and hears Wheeler snoring, they find the boy. Victoria tells Disraeli she won’t go out. Wheeler is given a bath. Sergeant Footman Naseby (Raymond Lovell) questions Wheeler, who says a man plans to burn down the castle. Brown questions Wheeler and gives him food. Wheeler learns to use a fork.
Naseby and McHatten sent servants to look for Wheeler and Brown. Emily waits in the rain. Brown drinks and takes the boy to the throne. McHatten comes in and takes Wheeler away from Brown.
Newspapers report the story, but Victoria asks Disraeli to get past it. In the Tower his friends say they don’t know Wheeler. Sparrow tells Wheeler they killed the Queen. Disraeli summons McHatten, and Emily waits in the snow. Disraeli asks McHatten about Wheeler. Victoria talks with Emily, who is encouraged to run off with McHatten.
In the House of Commons, Disraeli says there is no Irish conspiracy. He marvels that the mudlark survived. He says that Wheeler went to Victoria to find a mother. Disraeli speaks of over-population and British character. He says the conspiracy was against the boy.
Brown tells Victoria they are all her children. Disraeli sends Wheeler to school. Victoria tells Disraeli that he rebuked her. He offers to resign. Brown tells Victoria that Wheeler is alive and needs her help. Wheeler is found. Victoria orders him removed, but Disraeli gets her to talk with him. Victoria tells Brown to take care of the boy. In the final scene Victoria goes to the hospital and appears in public.
This drama contrasts the elegance of the royal castle to the squalor of a poor boy and implies that the government should do more to help the poor. A subplot also depicts the theme that love is more important than social status.