Almost 17 million people took part in community celebrations during the platinum jubilee weekend, according to one poll, as the Queen highlighted the “sense of togetherness” in her thank you message to the country.
The four-day bank holiday also gave UK high streets a much-needed lift as shopper footfall surged.
As the stage in front of Buckingham Palace was swiftly dismantled, there were hopes that the “kindness, joy and kinship” described by the “humbled” monarch would be a long-lasting legacy of the celebrations.
According to an ICM poll for the Together Coalition, whose Thank You Day campaign helped inspire street parties throughout the UK over the weekend, a record-breaking 16.75 million people took part in jubilee community events – one in four of the population.
The Together Coalition co-founder Brendan Cox said: “The jubilee and Thank You Day this weekend have turned out to be the UK’s biggest ever community event. The Queen talked about a spirit of togetherness resulting from the weekend and the figures now show how widespread that is. The public have made history once again.
“What’s particularly interesting and a bit surprising is that younger people were more likely to take part in community events than any other age group, which bodes well for the future. The weekend also shows how two awful years of Covid have left the country yearning for opportunities to connect with each other in our communities. Our challenge is to keep that going.”
The poll showed 4.7 million people helped organise a jubilee event, while about 8.7 million attended a Thank You Day event and 3.3 million helped to organise one.
Sunday’s platinum jubilee pageant on BBC One drew a peak audience of 8.7 million viewers and had an average audience of 6.3 million, the broadcaster said. Saturday night’s Platinum Party at the Palace was the most watched programme of the year so far, with a peak viewing figure of 13.4 million and an average audience of 11.2 million, the BBC said.
Adam Hug, the leader of Westminster city council, said the borough of Westminster had “seen an unprecedented coming together of people”, adding of the pageant: “It has been the most extraordinary event to stage and a national collaboration which has worked brilliantly.”
BRC-Sensormatic IQ data revealed that total UK high street footfall increased by 6.9% over the long weekend, compared with the average for May 2022. Total footfall for the whole week increased by 17.1% as retail hotspots benefited from the school holidays.
Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The public took to the streets for the jubilee celebrations, with retail footfall enjoying significant improvements over the early parts of the long weekend. More people hit the shops, with many on the hunt for jubilee decorations, garden accessories and new outfits. Thursday saw the best footfall as the public readied for a weekend of celebrations, from street parties to festivals.”
Andy Sumpter, a retail consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, said: “Retailers experienced a ‘jubilee jump’ in footfall, as the celebrations prompted shopper traffic on the high street to rise. Whether it was people stocking up on supplies for the bank holiday weekend, attending street parties or using the extra public holidays to socialise with friends and family, retail benefited from welcome ambient footfall from the celebrations.”