The Earl of Bracken is meeting his good friend Captain Charles Kenwood at his Club on St. James Street. He has just returned from a visit to Syria where he had been introduced to Sheik Abu Hamid, the owner of the most magnificent Arab horses the earl has ever seen. They are both keen to buy horses from the sheik, who is reluctant to sell unless his greatest wish can be fulfilled. He wants to receive a royal princess as a guest at his house in the desert, so he can show his neighbours how important and prestigious he is. The earl and Charles concoct a plan to take a fake princess with them to Syria, but cannot think how they can find a suitable candidate until Charles suggests his beautiful sister, Vanda. The earl has another reason for this escapade, in that he is being ruthlessly pursued by the glamorous Irene, Lady Grantham, and is becoming disenchanted with her.