Cambridge, 1938. Women are still, for the most part, confined to their own colleges, denied degrees, and denied full membership of the university.
Meanwhile, the lords of Navarre vow to forego all worldly pleasures and devote themselves to three years of study – sound familiar? They will keep no company but Don Armado, a visiting Spaniard, and Costard the fool, who are both engaged in a competition for the favour of the seductive Jacquenetta.
Notwithstanding the University’s resistance to gender-integration, the lords decide to swear off women as well – for how can one study in the presence of distractingly stockinged legs?
Their plan is watertight – that is, until they recall the approaching visit of the Princess of France and her three ladies, Rosaline, Maria, and Katharine. Will their vows hold out against the wily charms of the fairer sex? Would it be Shakespeare if they did?