Hundreds gathered on the streets of Cambridge on Saturday, March 31 for the funeral of Professor Stephen Hawking at the University Church of St Mary the Great. Stephen Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge on March 14, at the age of 76. Actor Eddie Redmayne, 33, will be one of the speakers at the service in Cambridge, according to BBC. His eldest son Robert Hawking, former student Professor Fay Dowker and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees will also address the congregation. Five hundred guests were invited to the private service including family, friends, and colleagues. The church bells rang out 76 times as the funeral cortege arrived at the church, according to BBC.
Eddie Redmayne will read Ecclesiastes 3. 1-11, and eulogies will be delivered by Rober Hawking and Professor Dowker according to BBC. Other celebrity attendees include actress Felicity Jones, model Lily Cole and Queen guitarist Brian May, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, according to Mirror. According to Daily Mail, The Theory of Everything actor was one of the first to arrive for the service. Though an atheist, Hawking’s family decided a traditional church service would give his many friends in the city a chance to remember and pay tribute to him, according to the Daily Mail.
Hundreds of people gathered outside and clapped as the hearse pulled up, according to BBC. The top of his coffin was decorated with white lilies and white roses. The white lilies represent the universe, and the white roses represent the polar star. The coffin was carried into the church by six porters from Gonville and Caius College, where Hawking was a fellow for more than 50 years. The porters were asked to be pallbearers by the scientist’s family. The funeral will be followed by a private reception at Trinity College.
A condolence book will be available to members of the public in the porters’ lodge of Gonville and Caius College. Stephen Hawking’s ashes will be buried next to Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin on June 15 after a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey in London. According to BBC, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, said: “It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists.”