Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was one of the important figures in the movement to secure the vote for women in Great Britain. Before 1918 no women were allowed to vote in elections and even afterwards only women who were aged over 30, were householders, were married to a householder or held a university degree were granted this right. In 1928 the British parliament finally passed the Representation of the People Act, which meant that women were granted the right to vote on the same terms as men.
As an active member of the Women's Social and Political Union, the Women's Tax Resistance League and The Suffragette Fellowship Sophia joined many other women, including Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, in campaigning for a change in the law. As well as marches and demonstrations, Princess Sophia helped to spread the message of their movement by selling 'The Suffragette' around London and was often seen at her stand outside Hampton Court Palace.
An important part of their campaign was based around a refusal to pay taxes, because they were not to be allowed a say in the way that the money was spent by the government. On two occasions she was charged with refusing to pay taxes and licence fees and was fined on each occasion.
Princess Sophia was a close friend and associate of Emmeline Pankhurst, a woman who in 1999 was listed by Time magazine as being one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
"...she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back".