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British RoyalsThe Sussexes

UK TV ratings down for Royal Wedding compared to the Cambridges’ in 2011

The ratings are in, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding was seen by an audience of 11.5 million viewers, far behind the audiences of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding and the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s wedding.

In the UK, 8.9 million viewers watched the wedding on BBC One while 2.6 million watched on ITV. These figures were compiled by BARB – or the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board.

Harry’s parents’ wedding in 1981 was the most-watched royal wedding using BARB’s metrics. Over 28.4 million viewers – 9 million on ITV and 19.4 million on BBC One – tuned in to watch the Prince and Princess of Wales marry. Five years later, the Duke and Duchess of York brought in 18.7 million viewers – 6.2 million on ITV and 12.5 million on BBC One.

When Prince William married Kate in 2011, their wedding was the third most-watched royal wedding: a total of 17.6 million viewers tuned in – 4 million on ITV and 13.6 million on BBC One.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, who also married at St George’s Chapel, brought in an audience of 14.8 million viewers – 5.5 million on ITV and 9.3 on BBC One.

Prince Charles’s second wedding in 2005, to the Duchess of Cornwall, was the only wedding Harry’s viewership beat. For Prince Charles and Camilla, their wedding brought in 7.4 million viewers on BBC One.

BARB’s ratings are consolidated views and include anyone who recorded the wedding and watched it up to a week later.

In the United States, however, viewership figures were higher, at 29.2 million viewers. Given Meghan’s American roots, this is likely to be the cause.

BARB was founded in 1981 to “provide the industry standard television audience measurement service for broadcasters and the advertising industry,” per its website. The board is owned by BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BSkyB, and the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising).

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.