Queen’s final flight to London is most watched in tracking website’s history

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The flight that carried the Queen’s coffin from Edinburgh to London has become the most-watched journey in the history of a major flight-tracking website.

According to Flightradar24.com, more than five million people watched the flight’s path across the UK: 4.79 million on its website or mobile app, and a further 296,000 on its YouTube channel.

“Seventy years after her first flight as Queen aboard the BOAC Argonaut ‘Atalanta,’ Queen Elizabeth II’s final flight is the most tracked flight in Flightradar24 history,” said Flightradar24’s director of communications, Ian Petchenik.

So many people watched the journey, from Edinburgh Airport to the Royal Air Force’s Northolt base, near Uxbridge, Greater London, that the website buckled under the numbers and temporarily crashed.

The aircraft, an RAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, departed Edinburgh at 5.20pm on Tuesday (13 September) and landed in Northolt at 6.32pm.

In a blog post on its website, Flightradar24 said: “The Royal Air Force flight carrying Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt near London set an all-time flight tracking record on Flightradar24, with five million people following along.

“Within the first minute of the aircraft’s transponder activating, six million people attempted to click on the flight carrying the Queen.”

The site said this put “unprecedented strain on the Flightradar24 platform”.

The coffin was accompanied by the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

After the aircraft landed, the coffin was transferred by hearse to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, where it spent the night in the Bow Room. Early this afternon, it will be moved to Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster.

The audience figures beat the previous record for a journey of three million viewers, who tuned in to watch the US Speaker of the House of Representatives fly to Taiwan in August.

The FlightRadar24 team said it had had even more engagement with the journey than the official viewer numbers, processing “76.2 million requests related to this flight alone — that’s any action by a user, like clicking on the flight icon, clicking on the aircraft information in the left side box, or adjusting settings.”

They added that the route will “likely remain at the top for a long while”.

The Queen’s coffin is scheduled to leave Buckingham Palace at 2.22pm on Wednesday, carried by a gun carriage.

From there it will make its way along The Mall Horse Guards Road, across Horse Guards Parade and onto Whitehall to Parliament Square and into the Palace of Westminster.

Senior royals, including the Queen’s four children and Princes William and Harry, will follow the carriage on foot.

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