From the Queen’s funeral to Diana’s interview: Here are the most-watched Royal events EVER
*Billions* of people were expected to have tuned in today
As the Queen’s long-awaited funeral service ends, people are speculating about how many people will actually have watched it around the world. In a long line of high-camp, high-spectacle and high-glamour Royal events, it’s possible this could be the most-viewed of all time.
One thing’s for certain: The Royal Family love a big, white wedding and an explosive interview. With millions – potentially even billions – of people around the world watching, it’s easy to see why.
So, here are the most-watched Royal events of all time:
1. The Queen’s funeral – est. 4 billion worldwide
According to Metro, the Queen’s funeral has been the single-biggest policed event the UK has ever seen, and it’s been estimated to draw in BILLIONS of viewers all over the world. Thousands of people have come to leave floral tributes and cards outside Buckingham Palace, and some even lined the streets to say goodbye as the coffin was brought to Westminster Abbey.
2. Princess Diana’s funeral – 32.1 million
I won’t lie, Princess Diana’s funeral was the singular saddest event in TV history. Gone way before her time, shellshocked mourners gathered around the funeral procession to throw flowers on her coffin and tell her they loved her.
Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, delivered a eulogy which made digs at the press, and even the Royal Family themselves. Breaking Royal protocol, his speech was met with roars of applause both in-and-outside Westminster Abbey.
3. King Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding – 28.4 million
The wedding of Princess Diana to the then-Prince Charles had been described, leading up to it, as a fairytale. Finally, the handsome (er… lol) Prince was marrying the gorgeous Princess. It was hugely anticipated in its time – but no-one had any inkling of the drama, devastation and chaos the marriage was about to cause.
It was branded in the press as the “Wedding of the Century”. You might still say this is the case, even now.
4. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’ wedding – 27.6 million
Princess Anne got married to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973, once again not anticipating it’d end in divorce. In a modern first for the family, Anne and Mark decided they didn’t want to bestow titles on their two children, Peter and Zara, even though they were entitled to them. By 1989, the pair were rarely seen together as a couple, and it was an open secret they were getting with other people.
But, in 1992, a year the Queen called her “Annus Horriblis”, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips got divorced. Princess Diana and Prince Charles separated at the same time, as well as Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
5. The Queen’s Coronation – 27 million
In 1953, a year after she officially became the sovereign, the Queen’s Coronation aired to 27 million people. After years of war, ration and plummeting public mood, the Coronation was a symbol of hope and joy at that time; almost like a turning point. It’s possible no other coronation will evoke the same feeling from people in this country again, so you have to hand it to them, I guess!
6. Prince William and Kate’s wedding – 26 million
After knowing each other all throughout uni, breaking up a couple of times and a long engagement; these two finally got it together and married in front of the watching world. With Prince Harry as best man and tales of a cursed, chaotic stag floating around, it truly was a different era.
Also – remember when the press was fixated on Pippa Middleton’s bum in her bridesmaid dress? That was gross, why didn’t anyone say anything?!
7. Princess Diana’s Panorama interview – 23 million
Now, this is a tricky one.
Princess Diana’s Panorama interview – officially titled An Interview with HRH The Princess of Wales – aired in November 1995. While she and Charles were separated, the pair weren’t actually divorced yet, and everyone thought she wanted to take part in the interview in order to set the record straight.
It was shocking how many home truths were told during the course of the episode; with Diana confessing to cheating on Charles while she was being cheated on herself; opening up about her experiences with Bulimia, depression and self-harm, as well as her desire to see Prince William become king instead of her ex.
Documentaries on Channel 4 and ITV, broadcast 25 years later, revealed the interview had been obtained through deception, after Panorama producers fuelled the already-paranoid Princess with rumours people close to her were spying on her. They forged bank statements with alleged payments from the press, making her feel she had to do the interview before anyone else got there first.
In 2021, Martin Bashir, the journalist who carried out the interview, was investigated internally by the BBC for deceit. He was found guilty, and left due to “ill health”.
8. Prince Andrew and Fergie’s wedding – 19 million
While Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, are still good friends, their wedding was also ill-fated. The pair married in front of millions in 1986, before separating in 1992, later divorcing four years later.
9. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding – 18 million
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex married at at Windsor Castle in 2018. Meghan was walked down the aisle by King Charles, and the wedding was attended by BIG celebrities like David Beckham, Priyanka Chopra, George Clooney and Serena Williams.
10. King Charles’ ITV interview – 13 million
Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role was broadcast to millions of people on ITV, and hosted by journalist Jonathan Dimbleby. This tell-all interview was actually a year-and-a-half before Diana’s Panorama interview, and was the first public admission of cheating on King Charles’ behalf. He admitted he was faithful to his ex until the marriage became “irreparably broken down”.
Fun fact: Princess Diana wore her *infamously iconic* Revenge Dress the same night Charles’ interview was broadcast, making sure the headlines the next day would be on her, rather than the fact she was cheated on. We love a tactical queen!
11. Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview – 12.4 million
Following in the trend of explosive royal interviews, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex took part in a groundbreaking documentary with Oprah Winfrey. The horrific revelations included blatant racism within the family (Harry confessed a relative asked him “how dark” Archie was going to be before he was born), false reports of Meghan making the Princess of Wales cry, as well as the Duchess’ own suicidal feelings.
Luckily, the pair are living in much happier times, with the pressure of royal duties no longer hanging over their heads, and a beautiful home away from the UK.
12. The Queen Mother’s funeral – 10 million
The Queen Mother passed away in her sleep at the age of 102, just one month after her youngest daughter, Princess Margaret, also died. Unlike Margaret, the Queen Mother was entitled to a public funeral, and she was also able to lie in state at Westminster Hall before the ceremony.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
- From Bear Grylls to Killing Eve star Sandra Oh: These are the celebs at the Queen’s funeral
- ‘They weren’t VIPs’: Read This Morning’s full, grovelling statement about The Queue
- From David Beckham to Sharon Osbourne: Every celeb sighting in ‘The Queue’ so far
Featured image via BBC.