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Elena Krug, the wife of noted Viennese psychoanalyst Dr. Anton Krug, spends an afternoon surreptiously reliving old memories in the Schoenbrunn Palace, the former residence of the Imperial family, where as a young woman she was romanced by the notorious playboy, Archduke Rudolf Maximilian von Hapsburg. When she returns home, Elena learns that the exiled Rudolf is crossing the Austrian border to participate in a celebration of the one-hundreth anniversary of the Emperor's birth. Although she maintains to Anton, who has just broadcast a speech decrying the Hapsburg legacy, that she no longer is interested in the "old days," Anton insists that she attend the hotel party and "let herself go" as a way of purging herself of her past. As the party begins, a disguised Rudolf, who has been working as a taxi driver in Paris, sneaks into the Lucher Hotel and questions its owner, Frau Lucher, about Elena. Frau Lucher tries to discourage the persistent Rudolf from seeing Elena, but Elena arrives too soon to be warned. In the face of Rudolf's rough advances, Elena calmly tells her former flame that she truly loves her husband. Undaunted, Rudolf pockets Elena's wedding ring and tries a variety of methods to get her into his bed for the night. After Elena gayly slips away from his bedroom, Rudolf follows her home, not intimidated by the local policemen who are searching the hotel for him. Although Anton is at first unflappable and civil, the archduke's self-centered and brazen behavior toward Elena forces him to challenge Rudolf to a fistfight. Before the first blow is struck, however, Anton collects his reason and expresses his dismay that Rudolf has succeeded in provoking him into a jealous rage. At that moment, Rudolf learns that the police are in the building and, at Elena's urging, agrees to hide while Anton talks with them. Soon after, Anton returns and informs Elena that, in order to save Rudolf, he must leave to see the prefect of police that night. Once aware of Anton's sacrifice, Rudolf, whose sense of honor prevents him from seducing the wife of a benefactor, bemoans his rival's cleverness. Elena consols Rudolf, who finally admits that, while she is thriving as a trustworthy wife, his days as a privileged rogue are finished. The next morning, Rudolf entertains Elena and her garrulous father-in-law over breakfast, then after Anton, who has arranged for the archduke's safe passage to the border, returns, slips Elena's wedding ring into Anton's hand and graciously says farewell.