Una Duval

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Una Duval
Una Duval Lovre and Honour and not Obey by Ethel Wright (cropped).jpg
"Love, Honour and not Obey" portrait by Ethel Wright
Una Harriet Ella Stratford Dugdale

Alma materCheltenham Ladies College
Known forSuffragette and marriage reformer.

Una Harriet Ella Stratford Duval [née Dugdale] (1879–1975) was a suffragette and marriage reformer.[1] Her refusal to say "and obey" in her marriage vows made national news.

Early life[edit]

Una was the debutante[1] daughter of Commander Edward Stratford Dugdale and his wife, who were supporters of the suffrage movement. Una was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College, and later in Hanover and Paris where she studied singing.[2] She was niece of Arthur Peel, 1st Viscount Peel, Speaker of the House of Commons.[3] Her parents household had five servants and they had a holiday home near Aberdeen.[2]


Una Dugdale campaigning at the Newcastle by-election, September 1908.

Una Dugdale was introduced to the suffrage movement by Frank Rutter. In 1907 she first heard Christabel Pankhurst speaking in Hyde Park and from thence on toured the country with Mrs. Pankhurst raising political awareness and helping her in her work.[2] In 1908 she began working with Helen Fraser in Aberdeen. She was at the by-election in Newcastle in 1908 addressing voters (male) to gain their support.

One of her sisters, Marjorie 'Daisie' Dugdale (1884–1973) led the procession to welcome Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst on their early release from prison on 19 Dec 1908.[4] On 24 February 1909 Una Dugdale was arrested in Parliament Square during a suffragette "raid" on the House of Commons. She remained in prison for one month.

In 1909 a full length portrait of Christabel Pankhurst by Ethel Wright was exhibited at "The Women's Exhibition" hosted by the Women's Social and Political Union. It was funded by Clara Mordan and held at the Prince's Ice Rink in Knightsbridge in May 1909.[5] Duval bought the painting and it stayed in her family until it was given to the National Portrait Gallery. It was first exhibited in 2018.

During 1909 and 1910 Dugdale joined Mrs. Pankhurst on her two Scottish tours.[2]

Marriage controversy[edit]

Entry by Victor Duval in Mabel Cappers WSPU prisoners scrapbook October 1910

Dugdale sparked a national scandal in 1912 before she married Victor Diederichs Duval (1885–1945), who she had met when he acted as best man at Frank Rutter's wedding. Dugdale said she would refuse to use the word "obey" in her marriage vows, but did so after being advised that its omission could cast doubt on the legality of the marriage.[6][7] The wedding took place at the Savoy Chapel, her father led her down the aisle and Christabel Pankhurst, Constance Lytton and the Pethick-Lawrences attended dressed in WSPU colours.[8]

Duval was the founder of the Men's Political Union for Women's Enfranchisement; son of Emily Hayes Duval and brother of Elsie Duval - both fellow suffragists. Elsie was the second person to be released under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913 (the so-called "Cat and Mouse law"),[9] and wife to Hugh Franklin. Duval's father, Ernest Charles Augustus Diederichs Duval, was a German immigrant.[10]

As a response to the scandal, Mrs. Duval wrote 'To Love Honour - But Not Obey'.[11]


A BBC interview with Una Duval from 1955 is here.


  1. ^ a b "Catherine Blackford, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  2. ^ a b c d Crawford, Elizabeth (2003). The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928. Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 9780748403790. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  3. ^ "The Marriage Vow". Ashburton Guardian. New Zealand. 1 March 1912. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  4. ^ "These are the female heroes who led the suffrage movement". Metro. 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  5. ^ "Clara Mordan". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  6. ^ Alan Travis (10 October 2003). "Big Brother and the sisters". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  7. ^ "SUFFRAGIST WEDDING". North West Post (Formby, Tas. : 1887 - 1916). 1912-03-06. p. 3. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  8. ^ Diane Atkinson (8 February 2018). Rise Up Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4088-4406-9.
  9. ^ Elizabeth Crawford (2013). "Elsie Duval". Women's Suffrage Movement. pp. 179–180. ISBN 1135434026.
  10. ^ "Naturalisations published in the Jewish Chronicle between 1902 and 1906. Extracted by Ian Melville". Ancestry.co.uk.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Duval, Una (1912). Love and Honour But Not Obey. UK: George Villiers Press. Retrieved 18 June 2015.