Christabel Rose Coleridge was born in London, England, where her father was headmaster of St. Mark's College. Her paternal grandfather was the poet Samuel Coleridge. She helped her brother Ernest run a school for a time, but her true ambition was to be a writer. She published more than 15 novels, beginning with Lady Betty (1869).
She was a friend of Charlotte Yonge and a member of her circle known as the Goslings. The two collaborated on several writing projects, including The Miz Maze or The Winkworth Puzzle: A Story in Letters (1883). Christabel Coleridge co-edited The Monthly Packet, an Anglican magazine for girls, in the early 1890s, and then became sole editor. After Charlotte Yonge's death, Christabel published her biography, entitled Charlotte Mary Yonge: her Life and Letters (1903).
In 1880, when her father retired, Christabel moved with him to Torquay, Devonshire. She held conservative ideas about the role of women in society, and published a collection of essays called The Daughters Who Have Not Revolted (1894).