Queen’s funeral attracts 26 million viewers in the UK

CNN Business

More … than 26 million people tuned in to watch the Queen’s funeral The United Kingdom Monday, the first to be televised for a British monarch.

According to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), an average of 26.2 million people watched the hour of the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on television screens.

That makes it one of the greatest moments in British television history, although it fell short of the record 32.3 million people who tuned in to see England win the final of the World Cup in 1966, which drew the biggest audience ever, according to the BBC.

BARB data for viewers watching on personal computers, smartphones and tablets will be released early next week.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth nearly 70 years ago was described by the BBC as the first mass TV event in the UK, attracting a wider audience than radio for the first time.

More than 20 million people watched the coronation in 1953, according to the BBC, and many gathered around TVs in pubs and neighbors’ homes. Cameras were installed in Westminster Abbey for the first time to cover the event.

Monday’s funeral was the first to be televised for a British monarch. The funeral procession of King George VI, her father, was broadcast in 1952, but not the funeral itself.

A lot has happened since then. The British population — and the choice of devices and platforms on which people can watch TV — has increased significantly.

Yet in 1966 around 59% of the British population saw England beat West Germany in the World Cup final. Today’s viewership figures for people watching the Queen’s funeral on TVs alone represent a similar proportion, at 55%.

— David Zurawik and Arnaud Siad contributed reporting.