‘It was the most beautiful memorial, very touching’: Family and A-List friends including Benedict Cumberbatch and Keeley Hawes join Damian Lewis for service celebrating his wife Helen McCrory, a year after the Peaky Blinders star died from cancer aged 52
- EXCLUSIVE: Stars pack out St Paul’s Church to mark a year since Helen McCrory’s death from breast cancer
- Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Keeley Hawes and Helen’s widower Damian Lewis celebrated her life
- Beethoven’s Ode to Joy was followed by a prayer and the hymn Guide me, O thou Great Redeemer
- Her children daughter Manon, 15, delivered a reading, and son Gulliver, 14, played the guitar for guests
- A reading on her ‘leading men’, Bob Dylan’s To Be Alone with You and a film called In Her Own Words played
She was a tour de force of talent on stage and screen.
And those who worked with Helen McCrory shrugged off the rain to turn up in their droves to celebrate her life at a ‘beautiful’ memorial service yesterday.
Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, and Keeley Hawes were among those who packed out St Paul’s Church in London’s Covent Garden, a year after Miss McCrory’s death from breast cancer, aged 52.
Friends and family came together a year after Helen McCrory died from breast cancer, aged 52
Harry Potter co-star Helen Bonham-Carter (left) shelters from the rain as she arrives at St Paul’s Church, London to remember the life of Helen McCrory. Pictured right: Her husband Damian Lewis, 51, was pictured arriving with their children
Keeley Hawes (right) and Matthew McFadden arrive at the memorial service for Helen McCrory at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden yesterday
Her husband Damian Lewis, 51, was pictured arriving with their children, daughter Manon, 15, who delivered a reading, and son Gulliver, 14, who the guitar.
The hour-long service opened with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and was followed by a prayer and the hymn Guide me, O thou Great Redeemer.
Readings included one about her ‘leading men’, while another was a recital of Maya Angelou’s poem, Touched by an Angel.
Bob Dylan’s To Be Alone with You featured, and a film titled In Her Own Words was played.
A family guest told the Daily Mail: ‘It was absolutely wonderful, and Damian was fantastic in organizing it despite his grief. Gully played the guitar and Manon read and all the other actors who acted with her, and of course the director of her first play in the National, was here.
‘We knew that she had been ill for a very long time. Battled her way through it, Peaky Blinders, other plays. She only had one arm – the operation had cut the nerve.
‘And at the end of it she died at home with Damian and everybody around her just organising everything, including this [the memorial].’
Stars shrugged off the rain to celebrate Ms McCrory’s life at a ‘beautiful’ memorial service yesterday in Covent Garden
Scores of friends, family and co-stars paid tribute to the late actress: Natascha McElhone (left) leaves the service for Helen McCrory who passed away last year aged 52 after a battle with cancer
Miss McCrory was known for her roles as the villainous Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and as matriarch Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders, the final series of which paid tribute to her. Pictured: Other guests included Eddie Redmayne (above)
A close friend said: ‘It was just the most beautiful memorial. It was very touching. Speechless.’
Miss McCrory was known for her roles as the villainous Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and as matriarch Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders, the final series of which paid tribute to her.
As well as her Harry Potter co-stars Miss Bonham Carter and Fiennes, many Peaky Blinders actors were in attendance including brothers Joe and Finn Cole, who play her on-screen nephew and son John and Michael Shelby. Other guests included Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Natascha McElhone.
Lewis, who married Miss McCrory in 2007, announced her death in a heartbreaking statement on social media in April last year.
Appointed an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honors for services to drama, Miss McCrory was also an award-winning stage actress, working with the National Theatre, the Almeida and the Donmar Warehouse and playing Lady Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Rufus Norris, artistic director of the National Theatre, said she was ‘unquestionably one of the great actors of her generation’.
Miss McCrory made her final TV appearance in March last year, joining Lewis on Good Morning Britain to promote their work with The Prince’s Trust charity.