Prince Philip’s funeral watched by 13 million beating Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview

Prince Philip funeral: Coffin carried into St George's Chapel

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Yesterday, the nation joined the Queen in saying goodbye to Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral was held at St. George’s Chapel, in the grounds of Windsor Chapel and due to current coronavirus restrictions, only 30 members of the royal family and some of the Prince’s closest friends were invited to the ceremony. Despite little attendance at the service, there were 13 million Britons who tuned in to watch the live coverage – more than the figure for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. As for the overall ratings with the liver coverage, the BBC beat ITV. 

The BBC’s live coverage for the day was fronted by Huw Edwards and had 11.4 million viewers at its peak – nearly times time the 1.2 million who had chosen to tune into ITV. 

As for those who tuned in to watch Harry and Meghan’s interview, 12.4 million decided to hear their side of the story. 

The BBC’s average viewer figure for the funeral was 6.6 million, while ITV was 851,300. 

ITV’s coverage was hosted by Tom Brady and Julie Etchingham. 

Newsreader Huw started the broadcast at 12:30pm whereas ITV’s kicked off a little later at 1.15pm. 

And at 3.08pm, the BBC pulled in its biggest amount of viewers, with ITV’s largest number of views came in a minute earlier at 3.07pm. 

These times coincided with the start of the funeral, which took place after a minute’s silence was held at 3pm. 

Throughout the BBC’s coverage, Huw gave commentary where necessary and once the service had concluded and the attendees had left the chapel, the journalist spoke about elements of the funeral and his voice broke. 

He told those watching at home: “I’m sure that you at home will have been reflecting as we did in the studio on the beauty of that service in its simplicity. 

“And really the fact the service was nothing like the original plans developed over decades for the funeral of a prominent member of the Royal family such as the Duke of Edinburgh.

“More low key, far fewer people attending, yes there were hundreds of the armed force, but not on the scale really of what has been attended originally.

“And yet, it delivered a very powerful effect and it certainly affected everyone here and I’m sure you at home too were impressed and were really affected by the elegance of what we heard and what we saw,” Huw added. 

While many praised Huw’s efforts, some criticised him for speaking too much. 

Some said they had “switched to ITV” to watch the historic event due to Huw’s “constant inane chatter”. 

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Prior to Prince Philip’s coffin emerging from the State Entrance, Huw provided context from the studio. 

And this annoyed some of those who were watching at home. 

Despite this, the amount of viewers watching the funeral might come as a surprise to some after the BBC gained 109,741 complaints for the amount of coverage they had given to Prince Philip’s death – a figure believed to be the record for complaints in British television history. 

It comes after the BBC cleared its TV schedules last Friday, the day of the Duke’s death to broadcast special programmes on BBC One and BBC Two.

As a result, shows such as MasterChef and EastEnders were moved and aired another day. 

Huw was not alone in the BBC studio, he was joined by royal correspondent Katie Nicholl for commentary and expert opinion. 

She explained how the Head of the Royal family was “not going anywhere” despite her mourning and would be passing on some duties to other members of the family as she approaches her 95th birthday this year. 

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