EWTN Catholic Q&A
Canopies Over Cardinal Electors
Question from Dean on 04-16-2005:

At some point in the past, there were apparently canopies that extended over the cardinal electors in the Sistine Chapel during the conclave. When one of the cardinals was elected as Bishop of Rome, all of the cardinals' canopies but his would fall. Has this practice been abandoned? If so, when?

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-16-2005:

It would seem so. A recent photo released of the Sistine Chapel preparations shows tables rather than thrones with canopies. It is probably too small a space too accomodate 115 electors otherwise.