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THIS Is Why Will & Kate's Wedding Was Such A Big Deal

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    Five years ago, the most traditional and celebratory display of matrimony of our modern age had us entranced. The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was watched by many millions around the globe. (While there is lots of data for individual platforms and countries, the worldwide tallies vary widely between 300 million and an astonishing two billion.) No matter how many zeros are tacked on to ratings numbers, the event was a phenomenon.

    And now, we're celebrating Will and Kate's fifth year anniversary — and taking a look at the particular combination of cultural forces that made the 2011 royal wedding the highest-rated fairy-tale wedding of our time. Here's what we found.

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    America Totally Wishes It Had Royalty

    Hold up — even though we bucked the monarchy centuries ago, the U.S. came down with a serious case of royal fever in 2011. Around 23 million Americans tuned in to the wedding, putting us right behind the Brits. And 14 TV channels broadcast the nuptials, which were perfectly timed with the early morning news, when female viewership is the highest. The Today Show even ran a "countdown to the kiss" clock.

    As NPR's Eric Deggans observed, "[Americans] have a 200-plus-year tradition of resisting monarchies and the sense of inborn entitlement they represent. Yet, we secretly dream of royal-level luxury and prestige, happy to watch it on display in a country where we're not footing the bill."

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    YouTube Let The World Watch

    The Monarchy decided to livestream the entire event via The Royal Channel on YouTube, so that anyone in the world with internet access could watch the affair. Wise move, Crown. According to Google (which owns YouTube), there were 72 million livestreams in 188 countries. Additional streaming later in the day brought the total to a staggering 100 million. Apparently, at the of moment the 10-second Royal kiss, traffic surged by 100,000 streams.