UK Royal Mail Releases Stamp Featuring Indian-Origin Princess

Indian princess Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh is featured on one of the eight stamps released to mark the centenary of the suffragette movement.


The Royal Mail of the United Kingdom honored Indian princess Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh with a special stamp on Feb. 6 to mark the occasion of the centenary of the suffragette movement. Out of the eight stamps that were released in honor of the centenary of the movement, the princess is the only woman to get featured all by herself on one.

In the stamp, Singh can be seen with copies of the WSPU newspaper, The Suffragette, in April 1913. The daughter of deposed Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was exiled to the United Kingdom, and Cairo-born illegitimate daughter of a German merchant and an Abyssinian slave, was a member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League. She was taken to court on several occasions for refusing to pay taxes.

The motto of the Women’s Tax Resistance League was “No Taxation Without Representation.” The princess was also a part of other women’s suffrage groups, including the Women’s Social and Political Union.

The Norfolk Council posted a message about the stamp on its Twitter account: “Great to see Princess Sophia Duleep Singh featured on the latest batch of @RoyalMailStamps, announced today. A prominent Norfolk women’s rights campaigner marked on the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. Her family has links to @AncientHouseMus #Vote100.”

Sophia was the sixth of Maharaja Duleep Singh’s surviving children, and was brought up like an aristocrat in Suffolk estate. Maharajah Duleep Singh was the last ruler of the Sikh empire in Punjab before the British annexed it. He was removed from his throne at the age of 10 in 1849, and exiled to the United Kingdom in 1854, where he converted to Christianity. Queen Victoria is said to have been very fond of him and used to treat him like an exotic “favorite son.”

Sophia, who was born on Aug. 8, 1876, grew up to be a socialite interested in breeding dogs. She became a political activist after visiting her elder sister Bamba in Lahore. She met Indian freedom fighters Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Lala Lajpat Rai and returned to the United Kingdom an anti-colonialist.

In the United Kingdom, a meeting with a disciple of Christabel Pankhurst, a British suffragette who co-founded Women’s Social and Political Union, led her to the path of becoming a leading campaigner for women’s suffrage.

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