Paris, early 17th century – a world of political intrigue where no-one can be trusted.
The main players of the court are introduced: King Louis XIII, Queen Anne and their loveless marriage; the love affair between the Queen and the Duke of Buckingham; and the King’s advisor Cardinal Richelieu.
The Streets of Paris and Madame Bonacieux's House
Excitement reigns during arrangements for a ball celebrating the King and Queen’s anniversary. The three musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, interrupt the preparations with their playful antics and try to keep lady-in-waiting Constance from attending to the Queen. d’Artagnan arrives, dazzled by what he sees. He manages to insult all three musketeers and ends his first day in Paris with little hope of surviving the three duels with them the following day.
At the Palace
Queen Anne meets the Duke of Buckingham in her secret chamber. That night, in the Throne Room, she attends the anniversary ball with the King, who presents her with a magnificent diamond necklace. The Queen retreats to her secret chamber to be consoled by Buckingham, where they express their feelings of love for each other.
In the Early Hours
Hautbois, a lady in waiting, leads Buckingham through the streets of Paris where he finds his servant and hears of the loss of some secret letters. He writes a note to the Queen and gives it to Hautbois before fleeing. Milady de Winter, a secret agent of Cardinal Richelieu, appears and Hautbois shows her the note.
The Streets of Paris
Athos and his two friends are awaiting the first duel. Athos fights first, and quickly realises d’Artagnan’s ability. Five of the Cardinal’s guards appear and d’Artagnan finds himself in the midst of a fight on the side of the musketeers.
Madame Bonacieux's House
The musketeers re-enact the morning’s fight. Constance arrives and thinking Athos is in trouble, attacks d’Artagnan. The musketeers intervene and d’Artagnan and Constance see each other for the first time.
There is a pounding on the door and Buckingham enters, explaining his plight. There is another knock and d’Artagnan is face to face with the Queen. Alone, the Queen gives Buckingham the necklace as a love token.
Meanwhile, Constance and d’Artagnan express their feelings for each other.
A Room in the Palace
The King and Queen prepare a new ballet, watched by the Cardinal. When Milady brings news to the Cardinal – that Buckingham has fled with the Queen’s necklace – he seizes his chance to ruin the Queen, offering to hold a ball to show off her new necklace. In panic, the Queen turns to Constance, who helps her write a letter and departs with it.
The Dark Streets of Paris
Constance fears she is being followed.
She is grabbed by three men.
Madame Bonacieux's House
Three men in cloaks burst in with Constance in tow. d’Artagnan reaches for his sword but they pull back their hoods to reveal the musketeers. Constance produces the Queen’s letter and all agree to help. d’Artagnan takes the letter and shares an intimate parting with Constance, who gives him the only thing she has with her, her scissors, as a token. d’Artagnan takes the present and leaves.
The door opens and Milady storms in. Finding no one, she departs.
The Road to Calais
The musketeers ride towards Calais but are attacked along the way. d’Artagnan must continue the journey alone. Once he arrives at the port, d’Artagnan fights Rochefort, one of Richelieu's secret agents, and is near to success when Milady arrives with Constance at knifepoint. He surrenders, allowing Milady to take the letter and board the ship.
Milady seduces Buckingham and takes the necklace for the Cardinal.
A Cell in Calais
Constance and d’Artagnan are imprisoned. Remembering the scissors, d’Artagnan frees Constance.
Milady arrives, shows off the necklace and takes advantage of d’Artagnan’s vulnerable position. Unable to restrain herself, Constance leaps at her and the two fight. Constance rips Milady’s sleeve exposing the fleur-de-lis, the brand of a criminal. Milady flees. Minutes later the musketeers arrive and they head for Paris.
The Queen waits, hoping that Constance will return with the necklace. Time runs out and she departs for the ball.
The ball is in full swing and the King and Queen begin their performance. Milady and Rochefort arrive, closely followed by d’Artagnan, the three musketeers and Constance. Together they distract their enemies and intercept the necklace, returning it to the Queen who wears it proudly.
With the Queen’s honour restored, d’Artagnan and Constance share a tender dance.
The ball continues and then finally, in recognition of his gallantry, d’Artagnan achieves his ambition of becoming a musketeer.
Header photo taken by Emma Kauldhar.