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The history behind the pomp and ceremony of the throne speech

Friday's speech from the throne draws its tradition from the mother of parliaments, Westminster — albeit with a Canadian slant. The Governor General is conveyed to Parliament Hill by a horse-drawn carriage — unless, of course, it's too cold. Here's more on the history of the throne speech.

Throne speech sets out government's future agenda, but its traditions date back to Middle Ages

The Governor General will deliver the Speech from the Throne Friday, the CBC's James Fitz-Morris looks at where this tradition comes from and why we even do it. 1:34

Canada's throne speech takes its traditions from the mother of parliaments, Westminster — albeit with a Canadian slant.

In the UK, for example, the Yeoman of the Guard conduct a ceremonial search of the cellars beneath parliament before the Queen's Speech — a tradition first born of necessity after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Also, as a reminder to the limits of the monarchy's power over the democratically elected House of Commons, a copy of the death warrant for Charles I hangs on the wall of the robing room the Queen uses before delivering the speech.

Regal: The Queen takes her place in the UK House of Lords to deliver her address at the State Opening of Parliament in 2013. (Roger Harris/House of Lords)
Vice-regal: Gov. Gen. David Johnston delivers the speech from the throne in the Senate chamber in 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Canada's traditions are less... stern

In Ottawa, the Governor General is conveyed to Parliament Hill by a regal (or, rather, vice-regal) horse-drawn carriage — unless, of course, it's too cold. In that case, he or she takes a car up to the Hill.

The Queen's representative to Canada also delivers the speech usually dressed in a smart suit or dress — without the Crown and jewels.

For more on the history of the throne speech's pomp and ceremony, watch the video in the player above or here.

(CBC)