In 18th century Russia, Catherine is now the reigning Empress in a country which does not accept primogeniture (rule by the oldest born) but requires that the oldest born be male. It has taken quite a lot of almost supernatural scheming to remain on the throne which, by an accident of fate, is more or less legitimately hers. When she hears that a Polish princess is claiming to be a descendant of a Russian queen, she is quite naturally concerned for the future of her hold on the throne. The overweight, sexually insatiable monarch sends one of her loyal aides and lovers to seduce the foolish young woman and lure her into Russian territory, where the threat she represents can be eliminated in an efficient way.
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