Katherine Steiner was a German-Scandinavian descendant, whose family originally came to the Protectorate of Donegal as employees of the Marsden family's Donegal Freight and Goods transportation company. In her thirties, she was a tall, blonde, athletic woman, who was considered to be very beautiful. She was courageous, shrewd, and possessed a considerable amount of determination. She also had respect for others' emotions.
Katherine was an associate professor of military history at Tharkad University. In 2399, she had been hired by Lyran Military High Command to give lectures to their staff when she met Archon Alistair Marsden. They developed friendship shortly after their meeting, finding they shared the same views on many things. During her courtship with Alistair, she handled the limelight of being the love interest of the interstellar statesman with calm, confidence and courtesy. When she married Alistair in 2405 their marriage was celebrated thought the Commonwealth. This was a bright spot of the period as war soon erupted throughout the Inner Sphere.
In early 2407 her husband set off on a military campaign to invade the Draconis Combine while she was pregnant with their first child, to whom she gave birth to in December. Unfortunately, her husband was killed during the tank offensive against Combine stronghold on Menkent a month later. Alistair's body was returned to Tharkad, where she gave a moving eulogy and showed the distaste of what the conflict had cost her.
Archon of the Commonwealth
In March of 2408, Katherine changed her and her son's surnames from Marsden to her maiden name. Then she proclaimed herself Archon, and that her son would be Heir-designate to the throne. With this act, she became first of the Steiner dynasty to take the throne. However, the Dukes of Tamar and Skye had lost much their political power after the ascendance of Alistair's brother, Robert. They decided to meet with Katherine and the late Archon's uncle, Timothy Marsden, offering their support in exchange for greater policy-making powers. Timothy balked at the two Dukes' suggestions, citing that the Archon was the supreme ruler, with which Katherine immediately agreed.
In April, she was confirmed by the Estates General, and was officially recognized as the new Archon. During the meeting, she assembled her advisors to help her govern the Commonwealth. She appointed Duke Devon Reynolds of Fatima to lead the Lyran military on Combine Border and dispatched her predecessor's second-in-command to Meachem, where he routed Kurita forces from the planet. The leaders of the Tamar and Skye regions supported the move to entrust the region's defense to the Duke.
During her early reign as Archon, Katherine conducted a number of changes to the Commonwealth's makeup. In a special meeting of the Estates General, she had her infant son brought into the meeting wearing a tiny military uniform, saying she wished her son would grow up only playing soldier and not having to become one. By doing so, she also expressed her wishes to the Commonwealth at large that her realm would be peaceful instead of being plunged into a civil war. She later reorganized the Commonwealth's economic structure, where she eliminated the red tape that hampered trading between provinces.
In 2413, she signed into law the Brandenberg Edicts that has the military reorganized adding the title of "Duke" and began the process of organizing the military into the modern Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces known in later times. The nonheritable "Duke" and other titles were bestowed only to bolster her military's egos and had no real power behind them. Katherine also created the Commonwealth Scout Corps during the same year. The organization, consisting of specially modified JumpShips, helped to establish new colonies within the Commonwealth. During this time, the German cultural stylings Katherine kept in her old household came into vogue around the Commonwealth, as people adopted the practices of the popular leader.
By 2414, with the Commonwealth embroiled in multiple conflicts of the Age of War, she had her political enemies out of her way. Timothy Marsden, one of her staunchest critics, had died in combat within a year of assuming a post leading the LCAF on the Marik front. Meanwhile, Katherine enjoyed happier times. After eight years mourning her late husband, she married Duke Deven Reynolds on Fatima. In the interest of her eldest child, and to avoid a potential succession crisis, she publicly affirmed that her second child, Michael Reynolds, would be excluded from the line of succession.
The fall of St. John to the Combine would become a bad omen for the Archon. When a major offensive to retake the key resource world failed, it sparked a movement among the legislature to have Archon Katherine step down. Before their demands could be broadcast, Katherine had the Royal Guard storm government house under the auspices of protecting the delegates, and had their demands seized. Though the demands eventually leaked, the populace dismissed the affair as a "political squabble." As if to compound Katherine's problems, Duke Reynolds was killed in the assault to retake the world of St. John from Draconis Combine in 2443.
One of her later actions as Archon was Operation PROMETHEUS, where the LIC infiltrated a factory producing the Terran Hegemony's new BattleMech designs. However, when her son Alistair offered to join the operation, she ensure that he is called elsewhere. Ultimately, Colonel Simon Kelswa would be selected to lead the operation, which secured BattleMech technology for the Commonwealth
After 37 years on throne, she resigned her post due to her failing health in 2445. One of her final acts was to grant her son's wish that the Steiner Fist, previously the insignia of just the LCAF, become the symbol for the Lyran state, replacing the original three-stringed lyre.. In her final moments as Archon, she stood up from her throne and asked her son Alistair to take her place, quietly leaving public life. She retired to Gallery where she last days on estate there writing her memoirs and riding horses in dark forests of the planet.
Family and Legacy
Katherine had two sons. Her son Alistair from her first marriage would go on to succeed her as Archon. Her second marriage to Duke Devon Reynolds produced Michael Reynolds, who was officially excluded from succession.
As the founder of the Steiner dynasty, Katherine's impact on the history of the Commonwealth cannot be understated. Her creation of the Brandenberg Edicts reorganized the LCAF and introduced noble titles to the Commonwealth which persist to the modern day. Her family's German roots are also largely responsible for the Germanization of the Commonwealth, as public style seemed to imitate everything Katherine did. Katherine's face is on the 1,000 kroner bill as well as the pfennig.
Titles and Positions
|Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 16: "The First Steiner": Katherine Steiner was 32 years old when she meet her future husband in 2399.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), House Steiner family tree (in back of published boo): shows Katherine died at age 72
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 16: Katherine Steiner's ethnic background and description given as age 32.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 16: First Steiner & Eulogy - Raise and marriage with Alistair and Katherine's sorrow of her life with cut short.
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 18
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 18: Katherine put Duke Reynolds into leadership of Combine' front and wins support of some rebellious regions.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 17: Birth of a Dynasty - Katherine uses her child to help ease tensions inside Commonwealth.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 17: Dukes - Katherine adds noble titles such as Duke as part of her reforms.
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 116: The Germanization of the Lyran people.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) p. 20: The Steiner Fist.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) p. 19: BattleMech Era - Katherine's later career and retirement.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 17
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 116: The Germanization of the Lyran people.
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 131
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 126