The televised proceedings of the Queen’s state funeral are expected to set smash all prior records and become the most watched live broadcast of all time.
More than half the world’s population are expected to tune in next week to watch the final chapter of the Second Elizabethan Age draw to a poignant close as the Queen is laid to rest at Westminster Abbey.
Live coverage of the historic event will air on BBC One, BBC News and iPlayer throughout the day, while ITV will air the event live on its main channel.
Officials expect Westminster Hall will see almost half a million visitors coming to view the Queen’s coffin in person, ahead of the state funeral on Monday.
Those who are unable to visit the capital will instead switch on their televisions as they turn to 24hour streaming of the momentous event.
Industry experts have suggested a staggering 4.1 billion viewers could watch the funeral – smashing the previous record of 3.5billion who reportedly watched boxing great Muhammad Ali open the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
If their predictions are correct, the Queen’s state funeral would eclipse all other broadcasting records – including the Live8 concerts in 2005, Sydney’s New Year Eve firework celebrations in 2010 and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Carolina Beltramo, TV analyst at WatchTVAbroad.com, said: ‘Such is the love and admiration for Queen Elizabeth II around the world that her funeral is destined to be the biggest live TV event in history.
‘Generations of people across the globe won’t have been alive the last time pomp and pageantry were seen on this scale.
‘While it’s a sad occasion, they can be forgiven for being enthralled by a spectacle that echoes throughout history. For that reason alone they’ll be drawn to witness the dawn of this new age in their billions.
‘No fewer than 4.1billion people are expected to tune in on Monday to witness this historic moment as half the people on planet Earth pause to pay their respects.
‘Thanks to advances in technology, which mean most of us now carry TVs around in our pockets, audience figures will eclipse the opening ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics, when 3.6 billion people watched Muhammad Ali light the Olympic torch in 1996.
‘In contrast, an estimated 2.5billion people watched the service for Diana, Princess of Wales, 25 years ago, with 31million Brits tuning in.’