June 3 was the King’s birthday, though he celebrated it quietly. “In accordance with the King’s desire, ” reported the Globe, “there was no firing of salutes and all ordinary observances of the anniversary were dropped.” (1) Telegrams were sent from all corners of the Empire, including from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. (2)
The Canadian Courier took “the opportunity of extending to His Majesty – Greetings! The fact that he will probably never see the paper that contains the courtesy makes no difference. Kings do not exist to be treated familiarly by their – subjects we were going to say, but that doesn’t fit the case. … We are not subjects. We call ourselves citizens. Whether we clearly know what the term implies makes no difference to the democratic idea involved.” (3)
It seems the Canadian Courier reflects the growing Canadian desire not to be taken-for-granted within the Empire, but to assert greater independence as one of His Majesty’s Dominions.
In wishing King George many happy returns, we do so in behalf of a people who hope that he will long be permitted to ‘reign over us’ just in the way he is doing. And in expressing our allegiance to that kind of monarchy we mean what we say when we sing ‘God Save the King!’ (3)
(1) The Globe (1844-1936). June 5, 1916. 7. Archive available from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
(2) The Globe (1844-1936). June 5, 1916. 2
(3) The Canadian Courier. XX: 1 (June 3, 1916) Cover and page 5. Available from Early Canadiana Online