The life and times of Britain's king-in-waiting, from his debauched youth and two marriages to his father's madness and his belated ascent to the throne. George, Prince of Wales (1762-1830) waited almost 60 years to become King, despite his father George Ill's long battle with mental illness. In his youth the prince (Peter Egan) is a notorious womaniser, gambler and drinker, who runs up huge debts with extravagant renovations of his private palace, Carlton House. At 21 he falls for the charms of Maria Fitzherbert (Susannah York), a twice-widowed Catholic commoner six years his senior. Despite her unsuitability on almost every count, he rushes into a secret marriage. But his father the King (Nigel Davenport), insists he make a 'proper' marriage with his cousin Princess Caroline of Brunswick (Dinah Stabb), in exchange for support in clearing his debts. That marriage is a disaster as young George refuses to give up Maria - and takes a series of other lovers. When George III succumbs to his first bout of madness in 1788, there's a constitutional crisis. Without a King's Speech, there can be no State Opening of Parliament, and plans are drawn up for a Regency. Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (David Codings) reluctantly agrees with the prince's staunch ally and his own fierce rival Charles James Fox (Keith Barron) that there is only one suitable candidate to assume the duties of the living King. But the King recovers his wits, and the Regency is delayed for another 20 years. Not till our own times would an heir to the British throne wait so long for his coronation.