The Queen’s funeral service at Westminster Abbey on Monday was watched by 26 million viewers in the UK, one of the biggest TV audiences in the country, provisional figures show.
The service is simulcast on some channels between 11am and after noon, including BBC One and Two, ITV and Sky News.
Overnight ratings released by research firm Barb averaged 26.2 million viewers across all channels.
This figure was not much higher than the official ratings for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997.
It was watched by an average of 32.1 million viewers, including 19.3 million on BBC One and 11.7 million on ITV, and remains the biggest audience for a television broadcast since comparable figures began in August 1981.
This is lower than the 28.2 million viewers who watched former prime minister Boris Johnson’s televised speech in March 2020, during which he announced the first Covid-19 lockdown.
But big enough to rank as one of the biggest TV audiences in modern times.
Ratings were higher than the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games, which had 24.2 million and 24.5 million viewers respectively on BBC One, and the Euro 2020 football championship final in July 2021 attracted a total. 22.5 million on BBC One and ITV.
The 26.2 million figure is a tentative measure of the television audience and does not include those who watched the funeral service on other devices.
Official ratings for the funeral will be published by Barb next week and will include data for people who watched the service on tablets, PCs and smartphones.
Sky’s sports channels were among several other TV channels that switched from their normal coverage to air the historic moment of the late emperor’s funeral.
Several channels continued to broadcast alternative content during the funeral, with Channel 4 airing the Oscar-nominated 1953 Technicolor documentary of the Queen’s coronation, instead of A Queen is Crown, narrated by Sir Laurence Oliver.
Channel 5 screened 2017’s The Emoji Movie starring James Corden, Sir Patrick Stewart and Anna Faris.