Queen Elizabeth’s funeral has been forecast to pull in more than four billion viewers worldwide today, breaking the record for the “most watched broadcast of all time”, according to media reports. If industry experts' predictions are accurate, then the funeral will nearly double the UK’s previous most watched royal broadcast - the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 with a viewership of 2.5 billion people.
The UK royal family’s televised events have historically brought in huge audiences from the world over. Where William and Kate’s wedding saw 162 million people tune in worldwide in April 2011, Harry and Meghan’s saw an estimated 1.9 billion in 2018.
Music events such as the Live 8 charity concert of 2005, and sporting events including FIFA World Cup finals also bring in peak figures, with the most watched broadcast event in history reportedly the Atlanta Olympics opening ceremony of 1996, where U.S. boxing legend Muhammad Ali lit the torch to kick off the games.
The late queen’s funeral is also touted to attract some two million people to join the state funeral procession in person, including more than 70 heads of government. It will be the UK’s biggest ever security operation, with over 10,000 police personnel on duty.
While the exact cost of the funeral has not yet been reported, estimates for the entirety of the proceedings following the queen's death have been placed anywhere between £8 million and £6 billion, expected to be part-funded by taxpayers and part by the royal family. This has raised debate in the UK over the use of public funds as the country faces a cost of living crisis.