Over 4 Billion People Watched Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral. That's More Than Half the World

Double the funeral of Princess Diana and all the Olympics.  
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

If anyone says half the world tuned in to watch the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, they’re not exaggerating. Based on the projected funeral ratings of various media reports, compiled by Statista, over four billion people in the world watched the state funeral of Great Britain’s late monarch, making it the most watched broadcast of all time if the projected numbers prove true. 

To put that into context, there are over seven billion people in the world. More than a half of the global population is believed to have watched Britain’s queen be laid to rest. This is nearly double the audience of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, which gathered 2.5 billion viewers.

Royal family events have always been a draw for global audiences, with Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 bringing in 1.9 billion viewers. But nothing compares to the spectacle of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

To commemorate the end of her 70-year reign, the U.K. government pulled out all the stops. London citizens lined up for 30 hours just to see her coffin lying in state in Westminster Abbey, and the government organized the grandest funeral procession that the world has seen in over a century. The Brits love their pomp and circumstance. 

Infographic: Queen Elizabeth’s (Predicted) Funeral Ratings in Perspective | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

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Two million people joined the state funeral procession in person, and the funeral was attended by over 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries. It goes without saying that it was the U.K.’s biggest security operation with over 10,000 police personnel tasked with protecting participants, leaders, and observers. That’s not even counting the number of forces released by MI5, GCHQ, Scotland Yard, and Interpol, which were not disclosed.

It was a logistical behemoth that cost the U.K. government anywhere from £8 million to £6 billion, which might just be justified when you consider the fact that over half the global population tuned in to watch the event. 

Talk about ratings. 

The state funeral of Elizabeth II garnered more viewers than the World Cup, the Apollo 11 moon landing, and every single Olympics. But there’s a simple explanation as to why billions tuned in—it was historic. It might be centuries before the U.K., and the world, sees another queen of the same caliber as Elizabeth II. So we might as well milk it. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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