Perdita was born in prison, where her father had sent her mother because he believed she was unfaithful to him. Paulina takes the baby to Leontes to try to convince him that it is his daughter, but he refuses to believe it, thinking instead that she is the result of an affair between Hermione and Polixenes, King of Bohemia. He sends Antigonus to leave the infant Perdita on the seacoast of Bohemia. In a dream, Hermione appears to Antigonus and tells him to name her child Perdita, which means "lost" in Latin. He takes pity on her, but is chased away by a bear. Luckily, Perdita is rescued by a shepherd who takes her in and raises her.
Sixteen years later, Perdita has grown into a beautiful young woman, unaware of her royal heritage. Prince Florizel, the son of Polixines, falls in love with her and plans to marry her. His father, however, disapproves of the marriage and threatens the couple, so they flee to Sicilia with the help of Camillo. Eventually, Perdita's true parentage is revealed and she is reunited with her father. Leontes and Polixines reconcile and both approve of Florizel and Perdita's marriage.