Catherine Montaigne
Female civilian.png
Full Name
Catherine Montaigne
"Cathy" "Lady Prancer"
Female   Female
MP High Threadmore
Head of the Liberal Party
  ●   Brother(s): 
  ●   Spouse(s): 
Anton Zilwicki (common law )
  ●   Daughter(s): 
Helen Zilwicki (adoptive)
Berry Zilwicki (adoptive)
  ●   Son(s): 
Larens Zilwicki (adoptive)

The Honourable Catherine Montaigne, MP High Threadmore, was a Manticoran citizen and one of the primary leaders of the Anti-Slavery League. She inherited the title of Countess of the Tor as well as great wealth and retained it for much of her life.

Physical characteristics[]

Montaigne had a wide mouth, a stub nose, and blue eyes. Her hair was curly blond. (HHA3.3: FtH)


Catherine was the oldest daughter of the previous Earl of the Tor. She had one younger brother, Henry. (HH10, HH11)

Her mother came from an extremely wealthy Manticoran family that had been active in the merchant shipping industry for generations. This side of the family did not talk to Catherine much due to her political opinions. (infodump)


As the child of a shareholder family, Catherine Montaigne traveled in the highest social circles and was a friend of and shared minor crimes with Crown Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth III. Even as a young lady, she was rather intemperate and managed to get herself banned from the Palace and from continued contact with her friend Elizabeth.

As an adult, active in politics, her intemperateness continued. Even hardcore Liberals like Lady Marisa Turner, Countess New Kiev and long time leader of the Liberal Party, considered her "utopian and irresponsible." She once denounced the Countess of the Tor on the floor of the House of Lords as a "dangerous demagogue".

When she was young, she defended Commander Honor Harrington's actions in demolishing a Mesan slave depot in the Casimir System. Montaigne argued in the House of Lords that a Queen's officer who was actually enforcing the law should be commended, not criticized. (HHA3.3: FtH)

Her language and attitude was sufficiently disturbing that she was expelled from the House of Lords, largely for a speech she gave there, which was witnessed by a young Michael Oversteegen. Her speaking style was very effective and much less intemperate than might be expected from those who knew her and her nervous energy and inability to sit still when she was thinking; she earned the name "Prancer" from her friends in part for this and in part because she was tall and quite slender.

In response, she went into a lengthy exile on Old Earth, all the while maintaining her work within the Anti-Slavery League, hostility to genetic slavery and genetic slavers, and her support for escaped slaves. Privately, she was friendly and supportive of the Audubon Ballroom and its leader, Jeremy X. Since the Ballroom was regarded by nearly all star nations as terrorists, her suspected contacts with them were controversial and she was several times charged with consorting with those terrorists, though the charges were never proved.

After the Manpower Incident on Old Earth, she came into possession of voluminous files bearing on the genetic slave trade and implicating a considerable number of public and private figures in, among others, the Star Kingdom of Manticore. She returned to Manticore with her new acquaintance, Anton Zilwicki and his children, including the foundlings rescued by his daughter Helen, Berry and Lars aboard her private yacht. She turned the files over to the High Ridge government, which was less than enthusiastic about prosecuting using that evidence.

After a period of continuing agitation against the genetic slave trade. She renounced her title and stood for a seat in the House of Commons, representing the Borough of High Threadmore. Shortly after winning it, and after the fall of the High Ridge Government she became the new leader of a reformed Liberal Party after the disgrace of its former leader, Lady New Kiev, regarding her participation in High Ridge's schemes of corruption and malfeasance in office. Even after renouncing her peerage, she retained much of her personal wealth as it was not entailed with the title. (CS1)


Preceded by
Countess of the Tor
Succeeded by
Lord Henry Montaigne

Preceded by
House of Commons
Representative for the Borough of High Threadmore

Succeeded by