Royal wedding UK TV audience peaks at 18m

BBC One dominated viewership of Saturday’s spectacle, averaging 8.7 million viewers

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding drew a peak UK TV audience of 18 million, making it the country’s biggest broadcast of the year so far.

BBC One dominated viewership of Saturday’s spectacle, averaging 8.7 million viewers for its five-hour special and hitting a peak audience of 13.1 million.

Rival ITV, which went uncharacteristically ad-free for its live broadcast, averaged 2.5 million viewers and reached a peak of 3.6m.

Further rolling coverage from Sky News and the BBC News Channel took the peak audience up to the 18 million mark.

Though comfortably 2018’s biggest TV event so far, the ratings are down on the numbers that tuned in for 2011’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Then BBC One averaged 13.4 million viewers and a peak of 19 million and ITV enjoyed an audience of more than 5 million.

Saturday's ceremony was not only a boon for broadcasters but also for social media, with Twitter saying it had seen 3.4 million tweets about the wedding between midnight and 1.30pm on the day of the nuptials.

The event predictably dominated Sunday's newspaper front pages around the world and major brands tried to capitalise on the interest with the likes of Marks & Spencer, KFC and Tesco rolling out royal wedding-themed stunts.

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