With billions of people around the world estimated to witness Queen Elizabeth II’s historic state funeral, television officials are dealing with ‘abnormally high’ audiences.
Britain’s stunning farewell to the nation’s beloved monarch is expected to be the most-watched moment in TV history, with more than half the world’s population expected to have watched it.
After a record 70 years as Commonwealth head of state, he was given the biggest send-off in British history on Monday.
And the sheer number of viewers watching the spectacle from homes, fields and cinemas, has left statisticians struggling to fathom the total.
The numbers were expected to be released by the Broadcaster Audience Research Board (BARB) by 9.30am on Tuesday.
But it is now believed that it will take more than hours to count the huge number of visitors.
In a statement, Overnights.TV – which aggregates television figures – told MailOnline: ‘We have been informed by BARB that there will be delays today due to an unusually high level of viewing of state funeral data.’
The Queen’s historic state funeral on Monday drew a record-breaking number of spectators from around the world, who watched as her coffin was dragged through the streets of London.
The numbers are believed to have eclipsed those who tuned in to witness Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, which was watched by nearly a billion people.
1985: Over 1.9 billion people watched the late Freddie Mercury rock the Wembley crowd for their iconic Live Aid show
People flew from far and wide to be part of the commemoration, with millions of mourners at Westminster and Buckingham Palace to witness the Queen’s funeral.
And countless more lined the roads from London to Windsor, where Her Majesty was eventually laid to rest, along with six or seven deep figures during the Queen’s final 22-mile journey from Wellington Arch to St George’s Chapel, where she was laid to rest. Her husband, father, mother and sister in the royal crypt
Such is the love for the 96-year-old monarch around the world, his funeral was always expected to draw huge crowds – with a total predicted to surpass the previous record-breaking opening of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 by 3.5 billion people.
More than half the world’s population was expected to witness the final chapter of the Second Elizabethan era when the Queen was laid to rest at Windsor.
Live coverage of the event was broadcast throughout the day across BBC One, BBC News and iPlayer, with ITV and Sky also broadcasting the event.
The BBC and ITV are still collating their total figures from the day, MailOnline understands.
1996: An estimated 3.5 billion people watched boxing icon Muhammad Ali light the Olympic Beacon to open the Atlanta Games.
2005: More than two billion tune in to a string of Live8 benefit concerts
2010/11: Over 1.1 billion people watched Sydney’s epic New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration
Around a million people are thought to have flocked to the one-mile-square area of Westminster on Monday to watch the spectacle.
And on Tuesday, the government revealed that 250,000 people had lined up to pay their respects to the Queen as she lay in state inside Westminster Hall.
The landmark event was Britain’s first state funeral since wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill on January 24, 1965.
Figures are still being compiled this morning but it is expected to eclipse any other live television in history.
Ahead of the milestone event, industry experts predicted that a staggering 4.1 billion viewers were expected to tune in to the broadcast.
That would break the previous record of 3.5 billion who watched boxing great Muhammad Ali open the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
If their predictions are correct, the Queen’s state funeral will eclipse all other broadcast records – including the Live8 concert in 2005, Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration in 2010 and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
WatchTVAbroad.com TV analyst Carolina Beltramo said: ‘There is so much love and admiration for Queen Elizabeth II around the world that her funeral is set to be the biggest live TV event in history.
‘Generations of people around the world will not survive the last time pomp and pageantry is seen on this scale.
‘Although it is a sad occasion, they can be forgiven for being fascinated by a vision that has echoed throughout history. For that reason alone they will be drawn in their billions to witness the dawn of this new era.
‘No less than 4.1 billion people are expected to tune in on Monday to witness this historic moment as half the world pauses to pay their respects.
‘Thanks to advances in technology, which means most of us now carry TVs in our pockets, the number of viewers will surpass the opening ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics, when 3.6 billion people watched Muhammad Ali light the Olympic torch in 1996.
‘By contrast, an estimated 2.5 billion people watched the service for Diana, Princess of Wales 25 years ago, with 31 million Brits tuning in.’
More than 4,000 military personnel attended the Queen’s state funeral, which ended at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, pictured above.
A sea of people holding flags and bunting lined the road to Windsor as Her Majesty began her final journey on Monday afternoon.
Queen Elizabeth II today rests in peace with her husband, father, mother and sister in the royal vault beneath St George’s Chapel.
He is the 12th British monarch to be buried at Windsor and has chosen to remain with his family following the ‘four of us’ policy followed by his father George VI.
He repeatedly told his daughter that after her brother’s abdication, a happy and united royal family was the most important thing in life after a king had served.
It came after a highly-symbolic and moving public moment in which the Queen’s crown, orbs and scepter were removed from her coffin so she could descend ‘as an ordinary Christian soul’ into her tomb beneath St George’s Chapel Windsor.
Her Majesty was carried by eight soldiers of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who lifted and lowered the Queen’s 500lb lead coffin no fewer than 10 times on her journey from Westminster Hall to St George’s Chapel in Windsor, where she lies in peace today.