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The Senate and the Crown

Why is the Diamond Jubilee Window a fitting gift from the Senate to commemorate Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and the Canadian Crown, and why is it appropriate that it be located over the Senate entrance to the Parliament Buildings?

By long tradition, all parliamentary ceremonies take place in the Senate Chamber. It is only in the Senate that all three elements of Parliament assemble, forming the apex of Canada's system of government. This assembly of the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons takes place at key moments in the parliamentary process: at the beginning of a new Parliament or a new session; at the investiture of a new Governor General, the Queen's representative in Canada; and at the approval by the Crown of bills passed by the Senate and the House of Commons (a process known as Royal Assent). This is why the thrones of the Sovereign of Canada and consort are permanently found in the Senate Chamber; while by convention, the Sovereign and Governor General never visit the House of Commons, it is in the Senate that all ceremonies involving them take place.

It is thus fitting that one of the best views of the Diamond Jubilee Window is from the doors of the Senate Chamber. There are many decorative references to the Crown in the Senate precinct: the painted monarchs' portraits in the foyer and the nearby Salon de la Francophonie; the corbels carved with the faces of sovereigns; the fine bust of Queen Victoria above the thrones in the Chamber; the numerous depictions of the Crown itself. Lighting the Senate foyer, the window enhances these reminders that the Senate is the House of Parliament in which the Crown is always present.

The "Red Chamber," as the Senate is sometimes called, is decorated with many images that evoke the Senate's close association with the Crown.