Royal Wedding Ratings: William/Kate Outdraws Charles/Diana In the US But Not In UK

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A total of 22.77 million U.S. television viewers RSVP’d for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Based on Nielsen tallies from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, E!, FOX News, MSNBC, TLC, BBC America, Telemundo and Univision, of live viewership from 6 to 7:15am EST, that number ranks the affair well ahead of the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana, which drew an estimated 17 million viewers (across far fewer outlets).

Across the pond, however, Charles and Diana still rule. According to Deadline, nearly 27 million viewers in the UK watched Kate trade vows with William on BBC, ITV or Sky News, compared to the 28.4 million who tuned in for the royal wedding 30 years ago. Friday’s ceremony also ranked behind UK coverage of Princess Diana’s 1997 funeral.

UPDATE: As passed along by TVLine reader Kristal, Today‘s Digital Life blog estimates that 1.6 million people watched the event via the Internet, setting a record for such online viewing. It is also estimated that “hundreds of thousands” gathered in London in the Westminster Abbey vicinity the day of the ceremony.

Do the royal ratings surprise you at all? (And if you’re among those glomming onto any and all coverage of every little detail, I refer you to our sister site, which has been doing a wicked-thorough job of detailing the newlyweds’ big day, the afterglow, and all the fashions.)

Comments (19)

  • Is anybody counting how many people watched it live online? I watched part of it on Hulu, until I finally found the strength to get out of bed and watch it on my television.

    Comment by Marlene – May 1, 2011 06:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t watch it live. I was knocked out by 1am. :(

    Prince William and Kate did get the a total of better ratings, though.

    But you’re not counting the other countries that watched it.

    Comment by Nina – May 1, 2011 07:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Just comparing the most relevant apples-to-apples here – those in US and UK who watched (on the telly) in 2011 versus 1981 ;)

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – May 1, 2011 07:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yeah, what about the online numbers? I watched it on GMA’s facebook page up until 7:30 and then I turned it on on the TV. I’m sure a few million people were watching it online as well.

    Comment by Brittany – May 1, 2011 07:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think that it is also interesting!

    Comment by hienvtm – May 1, 2011 07:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Twenty Seven whole viewers?! <3

    Comment by Caiti – May 1, 2011 07:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This has been fixed; thank you to those who pointed it out politely )

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – May 1, 2011 09:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What is the total viewership worldwide? 1 billion, 2 billion?

    Comment by Jen – May 1, 2011 08:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m willing to bet that Charles and Diana had more viewers in the UK because Will and Kate had more people actually show up around the abbey and palace…

    Comment by Hillary – May 1, 2011 08:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “According to Deadline, nearly 27 viewers in the UK watched Kate trade vows with William on BBC, ITV or Sky News”

    Wow nearly 27 people in the whole of the uk… guess there must have been a footie match on! And why was it nearly 27? Was the 27th guy switching between a couple of channels?? :-D

    Comment by Dave – May 1, 2011 08:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow, only 27 people in the UK watched? I knew they weren’t as excited about it as they were Charles and Di, but gee whiz….

    /sarcasm. The original Deadline article said 27 million, of course. But thanks, Matt, you gave me a good giggle this morning. Gotta love typos… and a good royal wedding.

    Comment by Royal Watcher – May 1, 2011 08:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seems to me that the MASSIVE crowds on the streets of England might account for some of those not home watching on TV in the UK.
    Millions were literally on the streets and in parks all around England watching the whole thing on jumbo screens or in front of the palace & abby.

    Comment by Laurel – May 1, 2011 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • FYI to you Americans, but 27 Million viewers in the UK alone, would match up to around 150 Million viewers in the US.

    Comment by Mo – May 1, 2011 09:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was interesting just how many more viewers BBC had than the other channels in the UK. But why you guys were watching in the US is beyond me. Though I suppose Kate pippa and Harry supplied good eye candy.

    Comment by Jay – May 1, 2011 01:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well, considering it aired before the sun rose in most of the US, that’s a pretty impressive number.

    Most of primetime can’t even get 1/5 of that audience! Womp womp.

    Comment by DryedMangoez – May 1, 2011 02:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Worldwide viewing of the nupitals: over 2 BILLION viewers!!! Yes, 1/3 of the world’s population tuned in for the coverage in one form or another…Congrats to Will & Kate on their marriage & superb ratings!!

    Comment by LH – May 1, 2011 07:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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