Catherine Meyer, Baroness Meyer

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Catherine Irene Jacqueline Meyer, Baroness Meyer,[1] CBE (born 26 January 1953) is a British life peer and the wife of Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to the United States. She was the founder and chief executive of the charity PACT, now, Action Against Abduction. [2]


Meyer's Handbook on the Mechanism of the London Metal Exchange Option Market was published in 1982. In 1983 she registered as a stockbroker. In 1985 she moved to Germany with her German husband, Dr. Hans-Peter Volkmann, by whom she had two sons. Despite her having custody of the children after the divorce, their father refused to return them to London after a summer holiday visit in 1994.[2] This led to her almost decade-long legal battle in the German and English courts to gain access to her sons. It was not until 2003 that she was able to see them again.[3][4] Her account of these events is found in her two books, Two Children behind a Wall[5] and They Are My Children Too.[6] There is also an account in DC Confidential,[7] the memoirs of her 2nd husband, Christopher Meyer.

In October 1997, she married Christopher Meyer on the eve of his departure to Washington to become British Ambassador to the United States. During their five and a half years in America, she campaigned against international parental child abduction alongside a number of American parents in a similar situation with Germany.[8][9]

In 1998, she was involved in the launch of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC),[10] launched by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and subsequently becoming CEO of ICMEC/Europe.[11] In 2000 she created Parents & Abducted Children Together (PACT), affiliated to NCMEC and ICMEC.

During her time in Washington D.C., Meyer co-chaired with Ernie Allen two international conferences on improving the effectiveness of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction[12] and gave evidence to committees of the United States House of Representatives and the US Senate[13] which led to several concurrent resolutions urging better compliance by certain signatory states, including Germany, with the Hague Convention 1996;[14] and persuaded both Presidents Clinton and Bush to raise with the German Chancellor cases of parental child abduction to Germany, including her own.[15]

She has also taken her campaign against international parental child abduction to Europe, giving evidence before the Belgian Senate.;[16] successfully lobbying the EU to tighten its rules against parental child abduction;[17] and, together with ICMEC, persuading the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Convention to produce a good practice guide to the implementation of the Convention.[18]

In the UK, Meyer instigated adjournment debates in the House of Commons on her case and the issue of parental child abduction in general across frontiers. In 2005, the Parliamentary Ombudsman upheld her complaint of maladministration against the then Lord Chancellor's Department with regard to the handling of her case.[19]

Since 2003 and her return to the UK from America, she has broadened PACT's mission to embrace children who go missing for any reason.[20] This has led to close co-operation with the Home Office, the police, CEOP and other charities.[21] She is a member of the Home Secretary's Strategic Oversight Group on missing people, created in 2006 by David Blunkett. Her campaigns have focussed on the difficulties of measuring exactly how many children go missing every year;[22] the adoption by police forces of the Missingkids Website;[23] and the Child Rescue Alert.[24] On 25 May 2011, International Missing Children's Day, the Home Office announced major changes to child protection services in the UK, in particular the passing of responsibility for missing, abducted and exploited children to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency (CEOP). This was the culmination of a ten-year lobbying campaign. Meyer's role was recognised in the Home Office press release.[25]

In 2003, Meyer was co-chair of Vote 2004,[26] which campaigned for a referendum on the still-born European Constitution.[27] She is a National Treasurer of the Conservative Party.

From 2003 to 2007 she was a non-executive director of LIFFE (London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange).[28]

From 2013 to 2014 she was a trustee of the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences.[29]

In 1999, Meyer received the Adam Walsh Rainbow Award[30] for outstanding contribution to children's causes and was named by British Airways Business Life magazine for her campaigning on behalf of abducted children. In 2009 and 2010 PACT successfully passed rigorous inspection and audit by, respectively, the City Bridge Trust[citation needed] and the financial services company ICAP to qualify for major donations.[31]

During her time in Washington, Meyer was entrusted with the last major redecoration of the Ambassador's residence, a building designed by the eminent British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, and built in the 1920s. Under her guidance the reception rooms were redecorated, the bedrooms redesigned and the bathrooms modernised.[32]

Meyer was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to children and families.[33]

Meyer was created a Life Peer on 19 June 2018 taking the title Baroness Meyer, of Nine Elms in the London Borough of Wandsworth.[34]


  • Catherine Laylle (1997), Two Children Behind a Wall, Arrow Books Ltd. (ISBN 0-099-25504-9)
  • Catherine Meyer (1999), These are My Children, Too, PublicAffairs,US (ISBN 1-891-62015-0)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Parliamentary Debate, 11 June 2002
  3. ^ Interview
  4. ^ And no-one lived happily ever after, March 2002, The Independent
  5. ^ Meyer, C.Two Children Behind a Wall. Random House, 1997 Google Book Search. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  6. ^ Meyer, C.They Are My Children Too Public Affairs, 1999
  7. ^ Meyer, Christopher DC Confidential, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.
  8. ^ Hearing before subcommittee on Criminal Justice Oversight, USA, 1999 Archived 7 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Campaigning against parental child abduction
  10. ^ Launch ICMEC "Launch ICMEC" Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "International Children's Organization Names Respected Leaders to Spearhead its Global Agenda" 1 May 2000.
  12. ^ "Forum Conclusions" Archived 24 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine April 1999.
  13. ^ "Missing Children: Testimonies" on "1 October 1998" and "14 October 1999",
  14. ^ "March 2001:US Con. Res. 69," "May 2000: US Con. Res. 293," "March 2000:US Con. Res. 98"
  15. ^ "The Independent" 31 May 2000. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Seminar on the Application of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction" 29 March 2000.
  17. ^ "Parental responsibility". European Judicial Network. Retrieved 27 June 2006.
  18. ^ "Guide of Good Practice"
  19. ^ "Parliamentary Ombudsman" Archived 26 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 25 May 2011
  20. ^ "Campaign supported by Tesco"
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ "Every Five Minutes" Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Missingkids website"
  24. ^ "Child Rescue Alert
  25. ^ "Home Office announcement", 25 May 2011
  26. ^ "Daily Telegraph, 7 June 2003
  27. ^ "Daily Telegraph", 17 October 2003
  28. ^ "Debretts"
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Adam Walsh Awards"
  31. ^ "ICAP Charity Day"
  32. ^ "British Embassy Residence" Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 8.
  34. ^ "No. 62333". The London Gazette. 25 June 2018. p. 11196.

External links[edit]