The ratings are in, and they are golden: Nearly 30 million Americans watched Saturday’s royal wedding on broadcast television alone, Deadline reports.
The royal wedding began at 7 am Eastern Time/4 am Pacific time, but nevertheless, 29.2 million people in the US watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say their vows in front of a collection of Harry’s royal connections and Markle’s Hollywood pals.
By any measure, ratings of 29.2 million are stellar. It’s not quite on the level of the Super Bowl (watched by 103.4 million people this year), but it outperforms this year’s Oscars (26.5 million), and it more than doubles the numbers on Game of Thrones, one of TV’s most-watched shows (last year’s season finale hit 12.1 million viewers, per Nielsen). And considering that the wedding was also live-streamed on several platforms, for which there is not yet solid ratings information, it’s safe to assume the total number of viewers was much higher.
Those ratings also mean that this weekend’s nuptials outperformed the last royal wedding in terms of US viewership. When Harry’s brother Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, 23 million Americans watched their wedding, meaning that this year’s wedding was up by 6.2 million. Outlets seem to have planned to build on that 2011 success this year: While Will and Kate’s wedding was broadcast on 11 networks, Harry and Meghan’s made it to 15, which may partially account for the bump in ratings.
But there’s also the fact that this particular royal wedding was both historic and arguably of greater interest to US viewers in particular: Markle is an American and one of the first mixed-race members of the British royal family, and her wedding unapologetically centered her blackness, from the address by a black American preacher to the songs from a gospel choir. This was a historic moment, and the ratings reflect that fact.