Victorian society hadn’t seen a scandal to match it. Two wealthy young men – an aristocrat and a country squire – vied for the hand of the loveliest girl in England. She accepted one man’s proposal. Invitations were sent. The dress was ready. But on the eve of their wedding, Lady Florence Paget jilted Henry Chaplin and eloped with Harry, Marquis of Hastings.
No one understood. Chaplin was handsome, imposing, a friend of Royalty. Hastings was notorious for reckless gambling and wild nights in the docklands drinking dens. Chaplin struck back by invading Hastings’ favourite playground, the racecourse. He bought expensive horses to challenge Hastings’ champions. The rivalry between the men played out in the Derby at Epsom. If Chaplin’s horse won he’d land a fortune in bets: Hastings would lose the modern-day equivalent of £11 million.
Duel reveals the story of that afternoon and its consequences for all involved – the men, Lady Florence and a colourful supporting cast.