Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest on Monday, September 19. People lined up on the streets from early hours of the morning to catch a small glimpse of the coffin being transported from Westminster Abbey, but those who couldn’t make it to Central London in person could watch the historic event from home.
Almost all channels broadcast the funeral on Monday with coverage starting from 8am and lasting until 5pm. However, people have applauded Channel 5’s choice of airing The Emoji Movie for those not interested in watching the funeral.
As reported by the BBC here, the day’s peak audience reached 28 million on the day. The peak came at 12.25 as the Queen’s coffin was being carried towards Wellington Arch after the service inside Westminster Abbey.
BBC also said around 32.5 million people watched at least three minutes of coverage during the day. Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997 drew similar numbers and the funeral was the most watched TV event since Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 statement from May 10, 2020 when 27.7 million people watched Johnson announce the gradual easing of the first lockdown.
The funeral viewing numbers don’t include those watching on mobile devices or people watching in public spaces. Several screens were set up in public parks and squares for people to gather and watch the funeral together. Some pubs and cinemas also showed the funeral on their screens.
Globally, it’s estimated that four billion people watched the coverage of the service, which is a new world record in TV viewership, as reported by the Evening Standard.