Sophie Scowen, major ceremonials manager for the Greater London Authority and ceremonial delivery team lead for DCMS shares her pride in the active role she played in the delivery of the the Ceremonial events in London for the Coronation of TM King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

It has been the highlight and a great privilege in my career to plan and deliver both the State Funeral of the late HM the Queen, as well as the Coronation of HM the King Charles III and Queen Camilla. In my role I am responsible for the overarching event management plan for all the events taking place in London, bringing the partnership of agencies together to develop, challenge and scrutinise plans so they are fit for purpose. The key themes that I am responsible for are all public facing including crowd management and public safety, accreditation, licensing, traffic and transport, business and resident engagement, signage and wayfinding. As well as oversight of all infrastructure for the public including sanitation, water refill stations, concessions and first aid across all sites in London including the processional routes, public viewing and ticketed stands as well as the screen site locations.

The last year has seen three high profile ceremonial events take place and the London partnership is extremely strong, bringing together local authorities, government departments, emergency services, transport partners and event professionals. There are no two similar ceremonial events, depending on the circumstances the content and objectives will change and it is up to the London partnership to remain flexible and adaptable. Each of these three events were delivered successfully with a full review of lessons learned which has enabled the partnership to refine and create a blueprint for events of this scale in the future. 

Over the last five years I have worked to develop the command-and-control process for the multi-agency delivery of large-scale events and the protocol has now been successfully rolled out for both Operation London Bridge and the Coronation, strengthening the way in which the London partnership resolve operational issues and take key decisions.

The event management company for the planning and delivery of the Coronation was Identity, who brought on an array of suppliers across the industry to support. 

The biggest challenge faced with the delivery of the Coronation was the tight timeline, with six months to bring all the plans together, complete testing and exercising as well as assurance ahead of the event date. The other challenge that we see for ceremonial events of this scale is the sheer volume of people coming to London. Because these events are not ticketed and free to the public, planning for exact numbers is extremely difficult. However, we have worked with the London partnership over the last few years to understand the capacity of the transport networks in the area surrounding the event footprint to mitigate and assess risk.

We worked with a key expert panel and sought advice throughout planning and delivery to ensure it was as accessible as possible, with sustainability built in throughout.

The delivery of these events is a once in a lifetime opportunity and to play my part in such a historical occasion has been an honour and a privilege. They say it takes a village to raise children, but it really does take the support and willingness of the whole London partnership and events industry to deliver ceremonial events.