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 HollywoodLife.com, which has been doing a wicked-thorough job of detailing the newlyweds’ big day, the afterglow, and all the fashions.)