Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are expected to join around 250 family and friends at Professor Stephen Hawking’s funeral today in Cambridge.
The service will be held just metres from the college that was his academic home for 52 years.
Other stars in attendance will be Lily Cole, model and actress, comedian Dara O Brian and playwright Alan Bennett.
Elon Musk, founder of aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, and Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond films, have also been invited.
Eddie Redmayne played Professor Hawking in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything. Felicity Jones played his wife, Jane Hawking.
Although the service is private, and will be restricted to invited friends, family and colleagues, crowds are expected to form outside the church to witness the funeral procession.
Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home on 14 March, at the age of 76.
The service is to be held at the University Church St Mary the Great, close to Gonville and Caius College, where Professor Hawking was a fellow.
Professor Fay Dowker, a former student, will give a second eulogy, after Professor Hawking’s son Robert.
She is expected to say: “Stephen shared his work and his zest for the fundamental questions it addressed with wide audiences.
“He inspired people with the excitement and importance of pure scientific enquiry and was admired and revered for his devotion, as a scholar, to the pursuit of knowledge.
“This high regard was demonstrated wherever in the world he gave a public lecture: the auditorium was always packed, the atmosphere electric and the applause thunderous.”
The procession will begin at the professor’s house in the west of Cambridge, and travel along the historic King’s Parade, in front of King’s College, to the University Church.
The service will begin at 14:00.
Roads in central Cambridge are not expected to be closed, but traffic will be stopped to allow the procession to pass.
Professor Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his twenties, and was initially expected to live just a few years.
The coffin will be carried by six porters from Gonville and Caius, all in traditional uniform, with bowler hats.
Many porters at the college knew Professor Hawking and provided support when he visited for dinners and other events. They were asked by his family to be pallbearers.
Head Porter Russell Holmes will walk ahead of the coffin as it is carried into the church.
He will wear his formal college uniform of top hat and tails, and carry a silver-topped ebony cane of office.
Despite the scientist’s public atheism, Professor Hawking’s family felt that a traditional church funeral would allow friends, family and colleagues to pay tribute to him.
In a statement, Professor Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim said: “On behalf of our whole family we want to express our huge gratitude to all the wonderful tributes to our father and to those who have sent us messages of condolence.
“Our father lived and worked in Cambridge for over 50 years.
“He was an integral and highly recognisable part of the university and the city.
“For this reason, we have decided to hold his funeral in the city that he loved so much and which loved him.
“Our father’s life and work meant many things to many people, both religious and non-religious.
“So, the service will be both inclusive and traditional, reflecting the breadth and diversity of his life.
“We would like to thank Gonville and Caius College, the University of Cambridge and Trinity College, Cambridge for their assistance with our father’s funeral service.”
St Mary the Great is the official church of Cambridge University. By university legislation, undergraduates must live within three miles of its spire.
Professor Hawking’s ashes will be interred in Westminster Abbey, close to the grave of Sir Isaac Newton, in June, following a service of thanksgiving for his life.
A book of condolence is open at Gonville and Caius, and an online book has been set up on the college’s website.
Thousands of messages from around the world have already been posted.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/31/professor-stephen-hawkings-funeral-eddie-redmayne-felicity-jones/