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Millions tuned out as Charles draws smaller audience than Queen’s funeral

King Charles‘ coronation drew a much smaller TV audience than the late Queen’s funeral last year, overnight ratings suggest.

The event drew an average of 18.8m viewers across 11 channels and services, according to TV ratings agency Barb – an 89 per cent share of all those watching TV at the time.

Viewing figures peaked at 20.4m at 12.02pm, an hour into the ceremony, as the King was crowned.

The ratings are down significantly from the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September, which was watched by an average of 26.2 million viewers and drew a peak viewership of 29.2 million.

The King’s coronation also had a lower combined audience than the televised address by former prime minister Boris Johnson in March 2020, during which he announced the first Covid-19 lockdown, which was watched by 28.2 million people.

Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997 drew more than 32 million viewers in the UK, making it the nation’s second-most watched live broadcast of all time, behind only the 1966 FIFA World Cup final.

However, the figures only account for those watching on TV – with a number of public viewing events taking place to mark the coronation, as a moment of celebration rather than mourning.

There are no reliable viewing figures from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, when televisions were still a rare luxury for many and the population of the UK was lower, but it was claimed at the time that the majority of Britons tuned in either via TV or radio.

BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore said: “The BBC brought people across the UK together to share a once-in-a-generation event with over 14 million watching the King being crowned live.

“I’m proud of the unique and special role the BBC plays in delivering audiences moments of such huge historical significance and the celebrations continue with our Coronation Concert.”

UK’s most-watched TV events

1966 World Cup final – 32.3 million

Diana’s funeral – 32.1 million

1969 Royal Family documentary – 30.69 million

Euro 2020 final – 29.85 million

Apollo 13 splashdown – 28.6 million

1970 FA Cup final replay – 28.49 million

Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer – 28.4 million

Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips – 27.6 million

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing lockdown – 27.1 million

State funeral of Queen Elizabeth II – 26.2 million

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