Meghan Markle’s Wedding to Prince Harry Beat Prince William and Kate Middleton’s on American TVs

May 21, 2018, 11:38 AM UTC

Millions of Americans tuned in to the royal nuptials on Saturday, when American actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry.

With the success of TV shows like The Crown and a growing disillusionment with the current political situation at home, many Americans appear to have caught royal fever. And TV networks were prepared to cash in on this newfound obsession, with as many as 80 people sent to the U.K. by American networks, according to at least one estimate.

In fact, the wedding drew bigger numbers than both Harry’s brother Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011, and his parent’s, Prince Charles and Diana’s, wedding in 1981. According to Nielsen, U.S. TV networks saw approximately 29.2 million viewers on Saturday, a significant figure in light of diminishing TV audiences. The wedding was carried live by 14 networks, ranging from ABC and NBC, to E! and Fox News.

To compare, 23 million viewers watched Prince William and Kate’s wedding. An estimated 17 million watched Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding—a not insignificant number for that time period. Just 3.6 million tuned in to Prince Charles’ subsequent wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005.

Nielsen reported a large number of interactions on social media as well, according to Recode, numbering 6.9 million across Facebook and Twitter.

The boom in viewership is likely due in no small part to Markle’s nationality—she is the first American to marry into royalty since then-actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956.