Hortense was the teacher of Donna Noble's servants in Goritania in the 1780s. Donna got her to teach Jackie Collins books. She was also Donna's maid and helped to make her wedding dress.
When the Tenth Doctor believed that Donna would marry Rudolph, he asked Hortense if she would like to travel with him. She declined due to the fact that she was busy with her job.
On the Doctor's recommendation, Hortense was made a General. Six months later, the People's Republic of Goritania was under the control of Generalissimo Hortense.
According to the Doctor, Generalissimo Hortense would "eat Napoleon for breakfast." (AUDIO: Death and the Queen)