UK minister says 2 billion to watch royal wedding

LONDON Wed Apr 6, 2011 1:43pm EDT

A woman passes graffiti by British street artist Rich Simmons, depicting Queen Elizabeth, in London, April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A woman passes graffiti by British street artist Rich Simmons, depicting Queen Elizabeth, in London, April 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - A British minister said on Wednesday that more than a quarter of the world's population was expected to watch television broadcasts of this month's royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said a figure of 2 billion people was provided by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a briefing at a cabinet meeting where he also said preparations for the April 29th nuptials were going well.

"The Culture Secretary ... said (the wedding) is likely to be a major global event viewed by around 2 billion people around the world," the spokesman said.

Some 750 million people are said to have watched William's father, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles get married to the late Princess Diana in 1981, while some reports suggested that as many as 2.5 billion watched Diana's funeral in 1997.

There are some 6.9 billion people in the world, according to figures on the website of the U.S. Census Bureau.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Paul Casciato)