The royal wedding that was watched more at the time than the Sussexes’ - and no, it’s not Prince William and Kate’s!

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding was reportedly watched less at the time than another huge royal wedding decades earlier

Royal wedding that was watched more at the time than Prince Harry and Meghan's revealed. Seen here are the Sussexes on their wedding day
(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

There’s a surprising royal wedding that was watched more at the time than the Sussexes’ big day - and it’s not Prince William and Kate Middleton’s. 


There’s nothing quite like a royal wedding and although it’s been a while since the last one broadcast to fans at home, many of us can’t help looking back at the ones that have gone before. From Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding at Westminster Abbey to the late Queen Elizabeth marrying Prince Philip there've been some magical moments. Although Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day was another iconic occasion in recent years, it seems that there was another royal wedding that was watched more at the time.

The youngest of the Queen’s children, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle just like the Sussexes did 19 years later. According to Hello!, when Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, an estimated combined audience of 14.8 million allegedly watched.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand at the altar at St George's Chapel

(Image credit: Photo by Owen Humphreys - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

However, The Telegraph reported in 2018 that the average viewership for Prince Harry and Meghan’s big day across the BBC and ITV was 11 million with a further 500,000 apparently tuning in via Sky News, BBC News and Sky One. This suggests that approximately 11.5 million people in the UK watched overall. 

Of course, with US viewers estimated at 29 million according to Nielsen, the overall viewing figures globally would be far higher. Meanwhile, streaming-wise Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding has now reached 38 million views on the Royal Family’s official YouTube channel since then. 

Despite this, it might still come as a fairly huge surprise to fans that Prince Edward and Sophie’s wedding was supposedly watched by millions more in the UK.

Prince Harry and Meghan and Prince Edward and Sophie on their respective wedding days

(Image credit: Future// Image 1:Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images // Image 2: GERRY PENNY/AFP via Getty Images)

Both were significant occasions as the grooms were the Queen’s son and grandson respectively, however Meghan is a famous figure in her own right internationally. There was also a huge level of media scrutiny leading up to the Sussexes’ big day, not to mention a lot of US celebrities were invited. 

Many people were likely also intrigued to compare their nuptials with the Wales’ wedding (apparently watched by 17 million at the time). Even so, it seems that Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex’s wedding attracted more public attention in the UK. 

The couple walked down the aisle in 1999 after six years together and it was announced that they would be known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex. 

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones greet well-wishers on their wedding day

(Image credit: MIKE SIMMONDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A statement released ahead of their wedding also suggested that the couple could possibly receive another title one day too. 

“The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also agreed that the Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title held now by Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown,” it reportedly declared.

All these years later the Earl and Countess of Wessex are set to celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary in June 2023 and remain prominent working royals, supporting King Charles and Queen Camilla. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!