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The story unfolds with Rose, (Rudolf Rassendyll’ Rassend yll’ss sister-in-law) telling Rudolf that he needs to get himself a job.
Rudolf’s brother, (Robert) finds an interesting job for him as an “attaché ” to Sir Jacob Borrodaile. Borrodaile will be the Ambassador of Ruritania in six months’ time.
Ruritania, located in central Europe is the only country, Rudolf has not visited. So, he feels happy with the idea.
Rudolf decides to visit Ruritania and to join the merriment of the coronation of King Rudolf the Fifth since he has six months before taking up his new position. po sition.
Rudolf travels by train from London. The train stops stops at Paris for an hour, where he meets his old friend, George. Rassendyll sees Antionette de Mauban, a rich widow, who is on her way to Strelsau for the coronation. Antionette de Mauban is very fond of Duke Michael.
Rassendyll notices that the customs officer stares at him. He thinks it is because of his hair which looks flaming red. The newspaper reports that the coronation date is postponed . The new date is a day after tomorrow (Wednesday). (Wednesday).
Strelsau is packed with people and there is no accommodation or lodging available. Rassendyll decides to stop at Zenda, a small town, 50 miles away from the capital.
Rassendyll stays in an inn in Zenda. He sees the famous castle of Zenda. He is happy to be in the inn, with hospitable people (inn keeper and daughter).
Rassendyll learns about Duke Michael and the King. The King is staying in the Duke’s hunting lodge in Zenda while the Duke is making the necessary coronation arrangements in Strelsau.Johann, the Duke’s forest guard enters the inn and is astonished to see Rassendyll.
Rassendyll learns from the inn keeper’s keeper ’s daughter that the King’s King’s hair is of the exact colour with his. The Royal family members of Ruritania have red hair!
Rassendyll goes for a walk and gets ge ts closer to the famous old castle of Zenda.Rassendyll feels so carefree. He falls asleep after the tiring walk.
Rassendyll wakes up to find two men looking at him with deep interest. They are Colonel Sapt and Fritz Von Tarlenheim, who serve the King of Ruritania.
Colonel Sapt informs Rassendyll that he resembles the King.
The Englishman (Rassendyll) comes face-to-face with the King of Ruritania. Both of them look alike. They have the same physical characteristics – red hair, long nose, blue eyes. They are of the same height too. The only difference between the two is Rassendyll is bearded while the King is clean-shaven .
Both Colonel Sapt and Fritz Von Von Tarlenheim Tarlenheim inform that Rassendyll should not go to Strelsau. His life would be in danger if he h e is seen in Strelsau.
The King invites Rassendyll for dinner. Black Michael sends a complimentary bottle of wine and the King drinks it to the last drop.
Colonel Sapt splashes a bucket of water on Rassendyll to wake him up. Rassendyll realises the King is drugged by Black Michael and is senseless .
The King is unfit to attend to attend the coronation and Black Michael stands the chance to be crowned as King of Ruritania.
Sapt and Fritz convince Rassendyll to take the place of the King and to be crowned.
In the beginning, Rassendyll resists but both Sapt and Fritz coax him into doing it.
Sapt and Fritzz decide that Rassendyll should impersonate the King until King is well again. They save off his beard, dress him in the King’s uniform and take the King’s sword and revolver. They hide the King in the cellar and order Josef to guard him. The old woman who cooked for them is tied up and gagged to prevent her from spreading the news. Colonel Sapt instructs Rassendyll on how to behave like a King.
They board a special carriage at the railway station and head for Strelsau. They arrive at Strelsau and are welcomed by government and army officials. The crowds cheer the King.
The coronation procession begins with bells ringing, bands playing and people cheering.Everyone is in high spirits in the New Town but there is dislike of the King in the old town.
The people in the old town prefer Duke Michael as King. Rassendyll rides alone through the crowd in the old town to show that the King trusts them. The cheering grows as the King passes through the town.
The coronation takes place at the Cathedral . The impersonating King (Rassendyll) meets the beautiful Princess Flavia and the evil Duke Michael.
Rassendyll feels discomfort with Princess Flavia’s presence. She notices a slight difference in the King. She warns him to be careful of Duke Michael. Rassendyll makes his presence in the palace . Their conversation ended by the cheering ch eering crowds. The King’s arrival was welcomed with the great guns gun s fired. Then, he go to the dining room and sat with Duke Michael and Princess Flavia.
After the success dinner Rassendyll and Sapt go through a secret passageway under the palace into a quiet street at the back of the Palace gardens as ordinary soldiers. They leave for Zenda on horses.
Suddenly, Suddenly, after twenty-five miles they traveled, Sapt stopped and he realizes that they are followed by Duke and Max Hoff who is Johann’s brother, the forest guard. Then, they
hear a conversation between Duke and Max Hoff.
They reach the hunting lodge and find out that the old woman is gone and Josef (the loyal servant) is dead.
The real King is no longer in the lodge. He is missing!
The real King is not in the lodge. Rassendyll urges Colonel Sapt to rescue the real King from Black Michael.
But Sapt remains calm and explains the situation to Rassendyll. They must return to Strelsau at once and Rassendyll must continue to act as the King.
Otherwise, Black Michael will inform the people that the King is a drunkard and he would be the next King.Colonel Sapt explains further that as long as Rassend yll acts as the King of Ruritania, the real king will remain safe.
Black Michael cannot kill the real King. Rassendyll and Colonel Sapt teach a lesson to the group of eight horsemen. They killed three of them.
Rassendyll’s Rassendyll’s finger is injured by a bullet.
Rassendyll returns to the Palace safely with Sapt at eight o’clock. They entered the King’s bedroom by the secret door. When, Fritz saw Rassendyll, who he thinks that the King quickly kissed his hand. When he know that he was not the King, he quickly asked where is the King and answered by Sapt.
After they had breakfast, Rassendyll is given lessons on the duties of a king by Sapt. Sapt, Fritz and Rassendyll decide that they cannot attack or imprison Duke Michael without giving any reason to the people.
This makes the situation to save the real King becomes complicated.
Fritz informs them that Duke Michael and the three of his Famous Six are in Strelsau and the other three are guarding the King in Zenda.
Rassendyll visits Princes Flavia with Fritz. He is in love with her. Black Duke shows up at Flavia’s Flavia’s house and shows his hatred toward Rassendyll. Black Duke asks about the injury on Rassendyll’s finger. finger. The Black Duke introduces three of o f the famous six to Rassendyll: A Belgian, A Frenchman and An Englishman. Flavia reminds Rassendyll to be extra careful as he is in constant danger.
The King is held a prisoner in Zenda castle. A careful plan is needed to save him. Antoinette de Mauban sends an important message to the King (Rassendyll). She wants him to meet her. Rassendyll goes to her house and she tells him of the plot to kill him and his friends. Rassendyll finds out the location of the real King in Zenda Castle from Antoinette de Mauban. Rassendyll encounters three of the Famous Six. They try to kill him. He escapes using a round iron tea-table as a shield . A shoot-out takes place between Detchard (Englishman) and Rassendyll. Detchard is shot by Rassendyll and moans in pain.
The people of Ruritania are angry with the King for not fixing his wedding date. Sapt tells Rassendyll to ask the princess to marry the King. Rassendyll feels uneasy as he is not the real King. He wishes to be honourable. Rassendyll dances with Flavia and in the garden tell her that he loves her with all his heart. Flavia feels very happy happ y that the King (Rassendyll) loves her.
Rassendyll is confused . He is torn between love and honour . On the one hand , he loves for Flavia and on the other hand, his mission to save the rightful King to the throne. Rassendyll chooses to honour his word to save the King. Rassendyll is determined to save the King and urges Colonel Sapt to start the rescue efforts immediately. He informs Flavia, who is deeply hurt by b y his hunting plans. Flavia reminds him to be extra careful once o nce she knows that the hunting h unting trip is to get Black Michael. Rassendyll, Colonel Sapt, Fritz and ten gentlemen leave Strelsau. They reach the castle of Tarlenheim which belongs to Fritz’s Fritz’s uncle. The castle ca stle is located five miles from the castle of Zenda.
Black Michael knows of Rassendyll’s visit to Zenda and sends his messengers to meet him. Rassendyll visits the inn in Zenda to meet the inn keeper’ keeper ’s daughter. The girl in the inn recognises Rassendyll. He asks her to help him. Rassendyll tells her to get Johann to meet her at the bridge at ten o’ clock at night. Colonel Sapt meets Rassendyll and Fritz to inform them that one of the ten gentlemen is nearly killed. Rassendyll learns that the bullet is meant for him. He feels even worse and knows that Ruritania would be peaceful if the six culprits with Black Michael are no longer around.
Rupert of Hentzau (one of o f the Famous Six) arrives to meet Rassendyll with a message from Black Michael. Rassendyll and Rupert’s Rupert’s discussion turns sour . Rupert tries to kill Rassendyll by stabbing him with a dagger . Rassendyll moves quickly and is struck on his left shoulder. Rupert escapes while Rassendyll feels weak as a lot of blood is lost. Rassendyll learns of Black Michael’s evil plot from Johann. If any attempt is made to save the King, one of the famous six will kill the King and throw his body into the moat. The body will be thrown into the moat through a pipe. The King is held captive in the castle of Zenda and Rassendyll needs to work out a very good plan to rescue him.
Princess Flavia hears that the King is ill and visits him in Castle Tarlenheim. Rassendyll, Colonel Sapt, Fritz and six horsemen set out to the Castle of Zenda. Rassendyll swims across the moat to the wall of the old castle. He examines the pipe to know if there is any way to get into the old castle. Rassendyll kills Max Hoff, one of the Famous Six, while he is a sleep. He also hears the King’s voice but is unable to get to the King. The place is heavily guarded . Rassendyll and Sapt hide Max Hoff ’s body under some trees. Rassendyll confronts Rupert of Hentzau but he escapes. Three of Rassendyll’s and Black Michael’s men are killed in the clash.
The Chief of Police of Ruritania informs the King that an Englishman Rudolf Rassendyll is missing. He suspects that the person is a prisoner in the Zenda Castle. This makes matters more complicated. The situation is more dangerous for Rassendyll. He orders the Chief of police to return to Strelsau at once. Rupert of Hentzau is present at a funeral procession and informs Princess Flavia that his friend is dead. Rupert and Rassendyll have a serious discussion. Rassendyll offers to pardon him if he helps to save the King. Rupert wants Rassendyll to order his men to attack the castle. He wishes for Rassendyll’s Rassendyll’s men and Black Michael Michae l to die. So, he will be rich and powerful. Rassendyll receives a message from Madame Antoinette. She asks Rassendyll to rescue her from the castle in return for her favour .
Rassendyll faces several problems. The people of Ruritania are questioning his stay in Zenda. The police are looking for Rudolf Rassendyll. There is a demand for a date for the royal wedding. Johann brings more news of what is going on in the ca stle. The King’s condition is getting worse. A doctor is attending to him. More quarrels are taking place between Black Michael and Rupert of Hentzau over Madame de Mauban. Rassendyll finds out more about the locations of the rooms in the castle. Rassendyll lays out a plan to save the King. He is desperate .
The plan is set and the men take their position at the Zenda Castle. Rassendyll swims across the moat and waits near the drawbridge . He notices Rupert Hentzau talking to Antoinette de Mauban. Black Michael joins them and tells Rupert to leave. Rupert crosses the drawbridge to go back b ack to his room in the old o ld castle. Rupert gets into the moat and swims towards the direction of the new castle.
Rassendyll waits with great patience. Antoinette de Mauban screams terribly as Rupert is in her room. Her scream draws Black Michael to her room. A fight breaks out between Rupert and Black Michael. Rupert dives into the moat to escape Black Michael’s men. Rassendyll gets a chance to enter the old castle killing one of the Famous Six on guard (De Gautet). He kills another one of the Famous Six (Bersonin). Detchard (another of the Famous Six) rushes into the King’s King’s room to kill him. The loyal doctor tries to prevent Detchard from killing the King. But he is killed. Rassendyll confronts Detchard. He is injured but continues to fight on and kills Detchard. The King is hurt in the fight. Rassendyll hears Rupert’s Rupert’s voice reaching the drawbridge.
Rupert challenges Black Michael to fight him. Antoinette de Mauban shouts out that Black Michael is dead. She holds a revolver and tries to shoot Rupert but misses him. Rupert jumps into the moat to escape. Rassendyll jumps into the moat to get Rupert. Rassendyll challenges Rupert to a one to one fight but Rupert declines . Rupert is only interested in escaping. Rassendyll cuts Rupert on his face with his sword. Rupert is injured. Fritz arrives and Rupert flees upon seeing him. Rassendyll is too weak to go after a fter Rupert and faints. The King is safe.
Rassendyll gets the full story from Antoinette de Mauban on what happened in the castle. Fritz and Sapt inform the King of the situation at Zenda Castle. The Princess, Marshal and guards arrive at Zend a to see the King. Princess Flavia meets Rassendyll and finds out the truth. But she faints upon hearing that Rassendyll is not the real King.
Rassendyll meets the real King (Rudolf the Fifth). The King appreciates Rassendyll’s Rassendyll’s efforts to save him and his kingdom. Rassendyll meets Flavia and confesses his love for her. She does the same. However, between love and honour, both choose honour. Rassendyll keeps to his word to save the King and country. While Princess Flavia honours her country and knows of her duty towards her he r country. Rassendyll, Sapt and Fritz ride throughout the night and reach the border of Ruritania. Rassendyll gets onto the train.
Rassendyll sends a postcard to his brother in England to end their worry. He meets his friend George in Paris and writes to Madame Antoinette de Mauban. Antoinette de Mauban writes to assure him that she will not tell anyone of the secret of the prisoner of Zenda. Rassendyll returns to England. Rose is upset that Rassendyll does not leave her an address to contact him during his travel. Rassendyll declines the offer to be the “attache” of Sir Jacob Borrodaile, Ambassador to Ruritania. Each year, Rassendyll travels to small town outside Ruritania to meet Fritz and his wife Countess Helga. He receives a red rose from Princess and likewise sends one to her. To Rassendyll, Princess Flavia is the Queen of Ruritania – the Queen of his heart.