King Charles Coronation Draws 20M U.K. TV Viewers

King Charles
(Image credit: NBC News)

The much anticipated coronation of King Charles on Saturday brought in about 20 million viewers overall, according to the Broadcasters Audience Research Board,  British, an organization jointly owned by U.K. broadcasters that is responsible for audience measurement in the United Kingdom. That’s 9 million fewer than viewed the Queen’s funeral last fall. 

Average viewing figures for the two hour ceremony at Westminster Abbey peaked at 18.8 million. That total peaked at 20.4 million across 11 TV channels and services (i.e. streaming) just after noon, right after the coronation ended. 

The BBC had the highest viewership with BBC One and Two channels peaking at approximately 15 million, according to the broadcaster. 

Astoundingly, that 20 million viewership figure matches the estimated number who watched Queen Elizabeth’s coronation on television in 1953, at a time when it was estimated that only 1.5 million U.K. households actually owned a telly. 

(Also read: To crown a King: Broadcasters prepare for the Coronation of King Charles III)

The numbers probably reflect a more ambivalent attitude towards what was in essence a religious ceremony for someone who had already been King since last September, as well as the plethora of alternative viewing options for today’s royal fans. The peak number of 20 million during the coronation also matched the numbers for Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011.

None of them though came close to the most viewed royal event of all time: The funeral service for Princess Diana in 1997, which drew 31 million on the BBC and iTV. 

Viewing numbers for U.S. viewers have not yet been released. 

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.