Meriel Buchanan was the daughter of British diplomat Sir George Buchanan and Lady Georgina Meriel Bathurst. She spent her childhood in the various European capital to which her father was posted. In 1910, Sir George was named ambassador to the Imperial Court of Russia. The family remained in the country during the outbreak of the Russian Revolution and civil war. Meriel wrote several books and articles describing this period, as well as a biography of her father.