The Royal Wedding viewing figures have been released – and they're VERY surprising

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We weren't expecting this

All eyes were on the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, with coverage being broadcast in homes, pubs and parks across the country.

Now the official viewing figures have been announced - and it makes for impressive reading.

Royal Wedding

(Image credit: REX/Shutterstock)

Almost 18 million Brits tuned in to see the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex say 'I do' at St George's Chapel in Windsor - making it officially the most-watched TV event of the year.

The record was previously held by Britain's Got Talent, with the ITV show's opening episode peaking at 9.6 million.

In the UK, live coverage of the Royal Wedding was available on BBC One between 9am and 2pm, as well across ITV, Sky and an online feed.

The BBC's coverage - led by Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards and Dermot O’Leary - brought in an average audience of 8.7m viewers over the five hours, hitting a peak audience of 13.1million just after the ceremony had begun at 12:30PM.

Meanwhile, over on ITV - whose coverage of the wedding ran between 9:25am and 3pm - an average of 2.5m fans watched the special day covered by presenters Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham.

They saw a peak of 3.6m watched just after 1pm when the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex left St George’s Chapel after their vows.

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Elsewhere, Sky News, Sky One and BBC News' programmes were each seen by averages of less than 500,000 viewers which takes the total across the channels to just below 18 million.

The FA Cup Final, which was shown later on Saturday, was watched by an average of 6.7m viewers and a peak of 8.7m in the afternoon.

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Despite the impressive figures, Harry’s and Meghan’s big day was still watched by less people than Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials in 2011 which peaked at 24.5 million on terrestrial TV.

Back in 1981, Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding was watched by 28.4 million.

Main pic: REX/Shutterstock