Anita the Living Doll - encore!
by National Fairground Archive staff
The much sought-after Royal endorsement.
With Queen Victoria and Prince Albert being fascinated with the novelties of the human form presented by prominent showmen such as P.T. Barnum, it became necessary to attach some kind of royal endorsement to the various giants and midgets on tour. As with the earlier 'Balmoral Menageries', some of these attachments may well be suprious!
Anita the Living Doll got her moment of fame in July 1912 when part of James Bostock's involvement at the Earl's Court "Shakespeare's England". The reigning royal couple, George V and Queen Mary, were escorted through the exhibition by a body of Royal Halberdiers, dressed in the uniform of the Elizabethan period. A book signing and media ceremony followed, with Anita seizing her chance to meet the royal couple.
The World's Fair (29 July 1912) records Anita shaking hands with the Queen and accepting a bouquet (as shown in the postcard above). As with all of the Bostocks, incident was not far away and the newspaper recalls: "Her majesty conversed with the dwarf for a while in German, and her attention was so much engaged that she did not notice a tiny Shetland pony which came up beside her and began to nibble at the blooms - an incident which caused general amusement".
The "Chronicle Cinderella Doll Show", Xmas 1913, Anita with the Mayor of Salford.
Anita in tinted postcard.