Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stunned royal fans across the globe when they exchanged vows in a beautiful ceremony at Windsor Castle last week. It has since been revealed that a combined audience of 11.5 million people tuned into to watch the magical moment on May 19. However, the ratings were a third lower than those who tuned in to watch the marriage of Harry's brother, Prince William and Duchess Kate. Approximately 17.6 million tuned in for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's royal wedding in 2011.
Surprisingly, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding failed to pull in as many viewers as his uncle Prince Edward, whose wedding in June 1999 to the Countess of Wessex, enjoyed a combined of 14.8 million. The new figures – published by Barb - are consolidated ratings, and include those who recorded the wedding and watched it up to seven days later. Just like most royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed in tradition and married at Westminster Abbey on April 29.
Their big day was a huge affair, with around 1,900 guests invited to the religious ceremony and some 600 people then invited to a luncheon at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen. Around 300 of William and Kate's closest friends and family members had the privilege of staying for the evening dinner. For Harry and Meghan's big day, the couple allowed 2,640 members of the public to watch the wedding inside Windsor Castle's grounds. A total of 600 guests attended the church ceremony, while only 200 close family and friends were invited to the evening reception at Frogmore House.
Royal weddings have a history of being one of the most-viewed TV events of the year, but 2018 may turn out to be different. Harry and Meghan's ratings of 11.5 million could be beaten next month by audiences for England's matches in the World Cup. Later on in the year, it's likely that BBC's Strictly Come Dancing and ITV's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! are likely to have 12 million. The biggest ever UK TV audience for a royal wedding was recorded in July 1981, when an estimated 28 million watched Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer.