Stephen Hawking's funeral takes place in Great St Mary's

Image credit: TCS News Team

Stephen Hawking’s funeral took place this afternoon, 31st March, in Cambridge in Great St Mary’s Church, with crowds gathering outside to watch the coffin being moved to the Church from Gonville and Caius College.

The Church bells rang out 76 times – representing the years that Hawking lived – as the hearse arrived at 2pm. The coffin was carried by six porters from Caius, the college at which Hawking had been a fellow for 52 years. Many of the college’s porters had personally known the professor, and were asked to be the pallbearers by his family.

White lilies and white roses were arranged on top of the coffin, representing the universe and the polar star respectively. The flags of Caius and Trinity Hall colleges flew at half-mast to honour Hawking.

Hundreds lined King’s Parade to catch a glimpse of the funeral cortege, and applauded when the coffin was carried into the Church.

Nearly 500 people had been invited to the private service inside the Church, including family, friends, and colleagues of Hawking. Actor and Cambridge alumnus Eddie Redmayne, who played the professor in 2014’s The Theory of Everything, was also present to read lines from Ecclesiastes 3.1011 at the service.

Eulogies were also delivered by Hawking’s eldest child Robert and former student Professor Fay Dowker, at a service officiated by Caius’ dean Reverend Dr Cally Hammond. Other famous guests include Redmayne’s The Theory of Everything co-star Felicity Jones (who played Hawking’s first wife Jane), Cambridge alumna and model Lily Cole, and Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and playwright Alan Bennett were also invited.

Hawking’s ashes will be interred in Westminster Abbey on 15 June, close to the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

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