Belgian socialite Mary Catherine de Rochelle met and married August Phillipe Romanovski, a descendant of Russian nobility, in Paris before the couple immigrated to the U.S. in 1923. They established a new nation in 1931, and August Phillipe served as the first emperor until his death in 1940. Catherine assumed the monarchy despite being suspected of having poisoned her husband, she ruled Rocaterrania with an iron hand until she died of cancer in 1948.
Kuhler said that his neglectful and abusive mother “couldn’t be bothered with raising (him), so she sent (him) to boarding school.” His father Otto Kuhler, a celebrated industrial designer of streamline locomotives during the Art Deco period, traveled up to 85,000 miles by rail per year on business, so he was rarely present during Renaldo’s childhood.
Kuhler lamented his misfortune in being left in the care of his mother, and claimed she was also abusive towards his father. He described her as a “tyrant who wore the pants” in the Kuhler home. The rule of Empress Catherine represented the years Kuhler was under his mother’s thumb.
Kuhler created Rocaterrania in the late 1940s, giving the imaginary country a birth year in 1931—which coincided with his own.
The character of Empress Mary Catherine de Rochelle was inspired by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.