Queen Elizabeth’s funeral attracts 26 million viewers in the UK

More than 26 million people watched the Queen’s funeral in the United Kingdom on Monday, the first televised funeral for a British monarch.

An average of 26.2 million people watched an hour of the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on TV screens, according to the Broadcaster Audience Research Committee (BARB).

It made it one of the biggest moments in British television history, although it fell short of the record 32.3 million people watched to watch England win the 1966 World Cup final, attracting largest audience ever, according to the BBC.

BARB data for audiences viewing on PCs, smartphones and tablets will be released early next week.

Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, nearly 70 years ago, has been described by the BBC as the first mass televised event in the UK, attracting a larger audience than radio for the first time.

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

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

A lot has happened since then. The UK population – and the choice of devices and platforms on which people can watch TV – has grown dramatically.

However, in 1966, about 59% of the British population watched England beat West Germany in the World Cup final. Today’s viewing figures by those who watched the Queen’s funeral on TV accounted for a similar share, at 55%.

David Zurawik and Arnaud Siad contributed reporting.

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