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Prince Philip’s funeral watched by 13.6 million people

Leah Sinclair
·2-min read
Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)
Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

More than 13 million people in the UK tuned in to watch the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday.

Official figures from BARB overnight averages show that the one-hour service was viewed by 11 million people on the BBC, 2.1 million on ITV, and around 450,000 on Sky.

The emotional service at Windsor Castle was also broadcast on radio and numerous YouTube channels.

The BBC’s live stream had registered 7.5 million global views by Sunday morning.

A separate BBC Two funeral programme in the evening was viewed by 1.31 million.

The BBC’s coverage began at 12.30pm as Huw Edwards was joined by guests including Sir David Attenborough, Gyles Brandreth and Alan Titchmarsh to share memories of the late duke, who died on April 9 at the age of 99.

Edwards concluded the coverage at 4.15pm, reflecting on a “deeply moving service,” including “a very dignified and sharp and stylish military procession which symbolised all that was vital and salient in the long life of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh”.

He added: “He now rests in peace in the royal vault beneath St George’s Chapel, having fought the good fight, having finished the race, and having kept the faith.”

Ahead of the event, Edwards wrote in the Spectator: “In four hours of live broadcasting, watched by an audience of millions, the focus is on accuracy and tone.

“Most of the people doling out advice online have – predictably – never been entrusted with such a duty. But thanks anyway.”

The BBC received 110,000 complaints about its coverage of Philip’s death, after it cleared its schedules and put mirrored coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and the news channel.

The complaints were the highest number ever published in the UK about television programming and made coverage of Philip’s death the most complained-about piece of programming in BBC history.

However, a BBC spokesperson said: “We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance.”

BBC Two did not air coverage of the funeral, instead showing the Snooker World Championship. The funeral was shown on the BBC News Channel.

ITV committed just over three hours to the funeral, anchored by Tom Bradby and Julie Etchingham and featuring guests including Philip’s goddaughter India Hicks.

Channel 4 showed episodes of reality show Four In A Bed, while Channel 5 aired the film A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger.

Prince Philip’s was the second most-watched royal funeral after Princess Diana’s, which was watched by 31 million people.

In 2002, more than 10 million watched the Queen Mother’s funeral.

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