A billion here, a billion there ...
Except that the Times's estimate is actually 3 billion, "give or take 500 million." And your newspaper probably put it on the front page because, well, the worldwide audience for the ceremony was estimated at 2 billion! (No random stabs at a confidence interval there, so let's just call it +/- 522.1 million for good measure.) In other words, the whole world is watching, give or take a third of the world.
That's too bad, because most glimmerings of good judgment over the past week -- as in, Royal Wedding 2011 Edition isn't a very big deal, and nobody seems to be very interested, and the 5 a.m. mimosa parties are really just sort of a white-glove version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show -- probably got overridden by that spurious number.
If you're one of the ones who complained -- or suggested that your city would be well and truly paralyzed if half of it had actually gotten up at 4 (or 3, or 2, or whatever) to glue itself to the television, or pointed out that since your city hadn't, somewhere north of 110% of the industrious Chinese would have to down tools and pick up the wedding slack, or noted that the country had just suffered a Katrina-scale natural disaster that might still merit a little 1A attention -- congratulations. You were right. Better luck next time.