The BBC won the UK royal wedding ratings battle – but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were an even bigger hit in America

Almost two thirds of viewers in the UK tuned in to the BBC to watch the royal wedding on Saturday

Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

All the broadcasters went into overdrive with their royal wedding coverage on Saturday – but as the confetti settles, the BBC has emerged as the decisive winner in the ratings battle.


The BBC peaked with nearly four times the number of viewers compared to its main competitor ITV, according to The Telegraph.

With an average of 8.7 million viewers (a 64% share), the royal wedding became the BBC’s most watched television event of the year as it peaked at 1pm with 13.1 million viewers tuning in to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George’s Chapel and take their first tour of Windsor as a newly-married couple.

By comparison, ITV’s peak came at 2pm – when the BBC broadcast had just ended – with 3.6 million viewers, up from an average of 2.5 million across their coverage of the big day.

Over both channels, the average combined viewing figures were 11 million, with an average of 500,000 additional viewers tuning in to Sky News and Sky1 for their royal wedding coverage.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Getty, EH)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Getty)

But celebrations weren’t confined to this side of the Atlantic, despite the time difference.

As the American actress married the British Prince in a fairytale wedding, our US cousins were up early to join the festivities – with at least 22.4 million of them tuning in, quite a few million more than the combined figure in the UK.

Six major networks aired the royal wedding in the US, but the biggest winner was NBC. Figures are still being counted, according to the Hollywood Reporter, so that audience number is likely to rise well above the 23 million in America who watched Prince Harry’s older brother Will marry Kate in 2011.


In the UK, it remains to be seen whether the catch-up figures for Harry and Meghan’s wedding will close the gap with Will and Kate’s wedding which enjoyed a higher combined audience of 17.6 million, according to consolidated figures.

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