Over 4 billion people watched the Queen’s funeral, making the event the most watched broadcast in history; even more than Princess Diana’s funeral and the moon landing by Apollo 11. There was no avoiding it unless you were watching Channel 10.
There have, of course, been other amazing events over the centuries. I’m sure getting all of those animals on Noah’s Ark was logistically challenging and the official opening of the Colosseum would definitely have had some OH&S issues. But how do you compare one era to another?
As we know events can be subjective and everyone has their favourite. Many of the most-watched events are sport related such as the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, Le Tour de France and Wimbledon. Depending on where you live and your cultural heritage there would also be others that rate highly such as Chinese New Year, Ramadan, St Patrick’s Day and Bastille Day just to name a few.
So, what are the criteria that we can use to measure the greatest event of all time for the coveted title of G.0.A.T? It could include:
- Audience size
- Global significance
- Number of VIPs and dignitaries
- Political and cultural impact
With regards to the Queen’s funeral there were many things going in the organiser’s favour – they knew who the key players were; they had been planning the event for up to 20 years so they had time to work out any glitches; the running sheet had been pretty much set in stone for centuries; and there was probably a pretty good budget. However, that doesn’t diminish in any way what an amazing event was delivered in a relatively a short time.
The event manual would have been an event in itself with hundreds of pages of detail ranging from seating plans (OMG!) and bump in schedules to 4am rehearsals, security, public toilets and miles and miles of temporary fencing.
And the list would go on and on with every minute detail dictated by hundreds of years of protocol and history.
I have often talked about what would be the one event that would have a profound impact on the world and the Queen’s funeral was always the one.
It’s not as if this is an annual event and I doubt any of those involved were even born when the last state funeral was held for King George VI. The versatility and adaptability would have been something to behold. Imagine if this had to have been held last year in lockdown!
We should take a moment to acknowledge the ‘event organiser’. In this case the job goes to the hereditary role of the Duke of Norfolk, the one person who signed off on all aspects of this event and will do so again for the next big one which will be the coronation of King Charles III. Then there is the huge group of people who actually did all the work together with the thousands of people from both civilian and military backgrounds who played such important roles.
What we have all witnessed over the 10 days of mourning since the Queen’s passing, culminating in her funeral on 19 September was nothing short of amazing both in the way it was planned and then seamlessly executed. To me what made it truly a great event was that, at its heart, it was a family event that just happened to be shared with the whole word on a scale never before seen and quite possibly will never be seen again.